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When you’re a parent, it might feel like second nature to put your children first. However, if you don’t prioritize your own self-care, you’ll burn yourself out. By that point, you won’t be able to serve anyone well. In order to avoid issues like burnout and exhaustion, it starts with daily steps toward self-care. As soon as you wake up in the morning, take the following steps in order to steady your heart, mind and soul as a parent.

1. Wake Up Earlier Than Your Children

Even if you’re not a morning person, one of the most effective things you can do is learn to become one. Transition yourself from a night owl to an early bird by going to sleep at least 15 minutes earlier each night. This will position you to wake up 15 minutes earlier in the morning. Work your way up to waking up at least an hour or two before your children. When you’re able to wake up before your children, you’ll have the clarity and peace to work without any interruptions. You’ll be able to fully focus on yourself. Plus, spending time with yourself is important because you need to connect with your own needs, thoughts and feelings.

2. Develop a Morning Routine

Once you’re awake, it’s a great idea to have a monk-like routine where you go through the motions of everything you need to do in a cyclical way. When it’s really early in the morning, some people don’t think straight. When you line up a regular schedule of mindless tasks you need to perform, it’ll become easier to do them without really thinking too hard. If you know that you love to drink a hot cup of Kona coffee, make sure you schedule that in your routine. If you love to put your feet up and listen to music as you drink your coffee, this is something positive you can look forward to in the morning. Consider activities such as exercise and meditation that can help you send to your mind, release any stress and wake yourself up for the day.

3. Plan the Night Before

As quiet as it’s kept, your nighttime routine creates the foundation for an excellent morning routine. Before you go to bed each night, keep a notebook by your bed. Do what’s often referred to as a brain dump. Write down everything that you’re thinking about that needs to get done the following day. Write down creative ideas or anything that’s floating around in your mind. When you’re able to get it on paper, you don’t have to worry about forgetting it in the morning. It’s also wise to plan what you’d like to wear the next day. If possible, prepare your clothes the night before. When you wake up in the morning, all you’ll need to do is put them on. Decision fatigue is something that a lot of people suffer from. This is when you are forced to make so many decisions that you end up making the wrong ones. When you’re a parent, you have to make decisions for yourself and your household. In order to ensure that you’re mentally prepared to do that, do as much as you can the night before to avoid having to make decisions from a mental space of fatigue.

4. Start with Positivity

For many people, mornings are filled with responsibilities, chores and hard tasks. When you’re able to associate mornings with positivity and pleasure, it’s a lot easier to get up and enjoy the day. Start the day right by infusing different elements of positivity and pleasure in your day. Don’t just stop at drinking your favorite flavor of coffee. Read a chapter of a really good book. Go for a jog in the brisk cool air of the morning. You might even want to try something unconventional like watching a great episode of your favorite show as you do laundry. As you find fun ways to enjoy the start of your day, it’s easier to put yourself in a mental headspace of happiness and positivity. When you’re happy, you’re able to create an environment of happiness for your children.

Conclusion

When you’re able to start the day on the right foot, it’s easier to skyrocket your productivity, health and happiness. When you start the day groggy, tired and aimless, it’s much easier to crash and burn. This doesn’t mean the day can’t improve. It’s just much easier when you have a morning plan. Having a morning plan is like maintaining a running start in a race. When you start strong, it’s a lot easier to place yourself in the position to finish strong.

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