A Simple Approach to Living With Less

The Art of Starting Your Morning Slowly

I am not a morning person. Never have been. Never will be. I’m convinced the person who invented the snooze button wasn’t a morning person either. Unfortunately, when you have a family that depends on you, there’s just no way to avoid dealing with mornings.

The one way I’ve managed to deal with mornings is to make sure I have time to start my morning slowly. If something unexpected happens that thrusts me head first into my day and I can’t warm up to it slowly, I have a hard time dealing with it.

I can’t always control how my day will go. There are sure to be countless interruptions, work to do, and plenty of noise. But I can decide how my day begins.

More Tradition Than Routine

For as long as I can remember, our days start the same. After the alarm goes off, I get up and make coffee, and my husband and I take 30 to 45 minutes to enjoy our coffee time. We enjoy the quiet and the early morning light coming in through the windows. The coffee is served piping hot so you’re forced to sip it slowly. The silence doesn’t usually last the entire time.

One by one our kids join us in bed for coffee time. One of the joys of homeschooling is having a relaxed pace to our mornings. No one is running around looking for their homework or a clean pair of pants. We start our day as a family. Two parents, three munchkins, and the recent addition of a new puppy. It’s not roomy and it’s not always peaceful, but it’s what we do.

Family coffee time goes beyond our daily routine. It’s a daily family tradition. My husband and I look forward to it and our kids love it. When we let them sleep in and they miss coffee time, they’re disappointed. If our day has to start earlier than normal for an appointment or something else out of the ordinary, we simply get up earlier instead of cutting coffee time short.

How to Start Your Morning Slowly

1) Give yourself plenty of time.

Maybe one day I’ll enjoy a life that doesn’t require an alarm or I wake up when my body tells me it’s time to get up. Until then I create a time buffer in my morning. Even if you are a morning person, creating a time buffer to ease into your day will benefit you. It gives you time to think about what’s in store for the day and gives your body a chance to warm up.

2) Create a morning tradition.

Even when I don’t drink coffee or periodically go off caffeine, I still sip something hot in the morning. It’s a good excuse to sit still and wake up a little bit at a time. Don’t like coffee? Try hot tea or even hot chocolate. I’ve had friends who start their day with a soda but that just doesn’t have the same appeal to me.

3) Protect your morning tradition.

Once you’ve figured out what works for you and your day, protect it. It may take awhile to tweak your schedule until you have the time frame figured out. Once you figure out the optimal amount of time to start your day, you can move it earlier or later while still keeping the tradition intact.

4) Prepare the night before.

Being proactive the night before will help you ease into your mornings. This is not new advice, but it’s often something I forget. Programming the coffee pot to be ready when you wake up, laying out clothes, and packing lunches the night before can all bring an element of calm to your day. No one likes feeling rushed or unprepared.

What tips do you have for starting your day? Do you like the sound of a slow start to your day?

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Article originally published on 01/16/2012

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  1. I usually get up and get my husband out the door quickly, then feed the dogs. By then the coffee is ready and I sit down to enjoy a cup and actually wake up, lol! I don’t like being thrust into the morning either! Sometimes I do wake up earlier than hubby and start with coffee before he gets up (he is not a coffee drinker) and I like those mornings better, I just need to make myself get up earlier!

    • Faith Janes says

      I keep telling myself I need to wake up earlier to have quiet time or exercise time, but so far I’ve been unsuccessful. For now I’m just happy as long as I can take it slow.

  2. I do like to have a slow start to the morning, but I can’t seem to convince my body that getting up early is better than a few extra minutes of sleep. I’m trying to get to bed a little earlier so I can get up in enough time to write in my prayer journal and have a cup of tea before I have to wake the kiddos up.

    Your morning sounds lovely. My hubby has to leave for work about the time that I currently get up, but I’m hoping that I’ll at least be able to make him a cup of coffee before he hurries off.

    • Faith Janes says

      It can definitely be hard to choose getting up a little early over sleeping in as much as possible. Even those few extra moments during the snooze alarm feel glorious.

      I just can’t stress enough how starting my day with my husband (even on days when we’re both too tired to talk) make my days so much better. It’s a closeness and expectation of time spent together that we treasure.

  3. I have a very loud, awful alarm that wakes the dead! I yearn for a time when the alarm will not need to be set and I can get up to the light of the sun filling my room.

    • Faith Janes says

      Me too, Marc. Kind of silly, but my favorite part of weekends away with my husband is sleeping in with no alarm clock.

  4. Oh Faith I had to come in on this one – in fact if you give it 5 mins I am uploading a photo onto Facebook in your honour! We have something very much in common. I too am not a morning person (the photo on FB is a gift I received 15 years ago from a friend who knows me well!). When I managed a department many years ago I eventually found out there was an unwritten agreement that no-one approached me for a decision before 10am – How bad is that? Funny thing was I never noticed how quiet everyone was before 10. I so wish I was a morning person because everyone keeps telling me how great it is! 🙂 Thanks for this reminder, like you said in the last point ‘This is not new advice’ – but the question is if I know it why aren’t I doing it? It’s as though there’s a mental block to putting the Kids uniforms, bags and shoes out the night before – then it’s panic stations when I can’t find their gloves on a frosty morning!

    • Faith Janes says

      That a great mug, Jo! Expresses my feelings exactly.

      I kinda like that unwritten agreement to not be approached before 10am. Maybe I could get that to catch on here at home. 😉

  5. Nice idea, but need the luxury of a full night sleep!

    • Faith Janes says

      That is very true. It does help to go to bed earlier if you need it, but sometimes little ones make a full night sleep impossible. Little changes over time can add up to something big though.

  6. I used to hate getting up early until I retired last year. Now I love it – having that first cup of coffee and pottering around while my husband (also retired) sleeps on. He’s a night owl.

  7. Hey Faith thought I’d pop back and let you know how my first morning went. After reading this post yesterday I decided to try again at a better morning routine (despite me not being a morning person and having the mug to prove it!). So school clothes were laid out, bags packed,shoes and coat by the door (all done last night). Then this morning I took a coffee to bed whilst the kids jumped in and played (The Hubby goes out before light to work so we don’t see him). Breakfast at the table and dressed. Out the door just 2 mins late at 8.32am, but definitely slower and less stressful morning. Progress! But as we know it’s not what you do once in a while that counts it’s what you do everyday…so fingers crossed.

    • Faith Janes says

      That is so great, Jo! It really made me smile reading about how your morning went.

      It’s always hard to make lasting change to our schedules. It keeps me motivated for the next time when I remember how much I enjoyed the last time.


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