Are you an early bird or a night owl? I will say, when I was in junior high and high school – I was a COMPLETE night owl. What was better than pulling “all-nighters” with your best friends? For guys, that probably meant video games and for girls, it was gossip and movies with all of the junk food snacks. I don’t think those memories will ever fade. But now, my life is A LOT different than it once was.
As soon as I stepped foot onto my college campus, it was like I had an epiphany. It wasn’t staying up late and sleeping in for me anymore. I did still have late nights with my friends, but I was up and at ’em by 8:00 AM the next day. If you would have told me in high school that would be the “new” me, I would have laughed.
There were plenty of mornings that I woke up and just dreaded the upcoming day. It was early, I had class, assignments due, I didn’t want to workout that day, the list goes on-and-on. However, I found that once I moved out of the dorm and into my own home and apartment over the next couple years, I grew to love my morning routine. In my later years of college, I did intentionally schedule my classes to start around 9 or 10 AM, but I never really did sleep in. Instead, I would wake up, make my cup of coffee and breakfast and sit down and watch the Today show. Some say I was an 80 year-old grandma, I say I was just enjoying my alone time.
Quickly, my love for the morning just grew deeper and deeper. I then started doing a quick bible study with myself at least 3 days out of the week AND even got my roommate on-board most days. Being in God’s word was a way that made me feel so positive going into the rest of my day – no matter what the day entailed. I could have had a biochemistry exam, but knowing that my worth didn’t stand on my GPA and that God was in control of my life was the most at peace I had felt in a long time. I say that, but also know I had PLENTY of breakdowns over feeling overwhelmed and like I was going to “fail” throughout those years.
After I graduated, I fell off track. I began working either at 6:30 AM or 8 AM each day and could not bring myself to wake up even earlier than I already had to. I was not finding joy in my mornings anymore and was going about my days a bit sluggish. Fast-forward about 9 months and I got back into the habit of utilizing all of my morning time. Self-reflection, quiet time, reading time or time to just listen to worship music. I loved it.
That brings me to where I am at today. In the last couple months, I can tell you that I have felt down and just not like my happy-go-lucky self. I am the girl that is known to always have a smile on her face and be so full of joy. Trust me, getting married and knowing I get to spend the rest of my life with the one I love most has brought me tremendous joy. But I also have struggled with job uncertainty and switches, body-image issues, trying to combine a life with someone new (it is HARD work), making a house that wasn’t mine a home where I feel secure, figuring out finances when combining with someone new, family health issues, etc. As I sit here and type this out, yes – the list is lengthy… but my struggles don’t even compare to that of other people.
So, recently I started something new. Instead of going to the gym at 4 PM everyday, I started waking up to go to the gym at 5:30 AM a couple days a week. It starts my day on a positive note and just makes me feel so physically well and awake! On my days off, when my husbands alarm goes off in the morning, the first thing I normally did was grab my phone and scroll through social media while he got ready for work (I work from home). That routine has changed. Now, the first thing I do is read my short devotional and grab my journal to write 5-10 things that I am grateful for in that moment. It doesn’t have to be anything deep or intellectual. Today, I can tell you that one thing I was grateful for was COFFEE! I haven’t slept well, I woke up early to workout and had many tasks to complete for the day and I knew I was going to need all of the positive vibes and caffeine.
I have now realized that making such small changes in my daily routine has given me so much more joy in my day. It is like I am back to enjoying my mornings like I did a couple years ago. Changes in your life don’t need to be drastic to make you feel “good”. They can be small. It might mean taking the longer way home from work just so you can jam out to your favorite song. You might need to drink one more glass of water than normal, eat one more piece of chocolate after dinner or put a hold on doing another load of laundry just so you can relax for 5 more minutes on the couch.
Go back to doing the things that once gave you so much joy. I am sure those routines or “things” didn’t do anything bad to you, you just lost the part that you once found to be so magical and positive. Make yourself remember why you loved it. For me, I missed my joyful and peace-filled mornings and days.
It doesn’t take much to give your heart a little bit of happiness – just take those baby steps to get back to filling that whole heart, body and mind with overflowing joy.
From my heart,