Since the stay at home order started in my state, the first thing I do after my alarm goes off is come downstairs before everyone else is awake, pour myself a cup of coffee, and sit down to meditate.
It’s not starting out with the most urgent or overdue task on my list, setting me up to think about the pile of deadlines hanging over my shoulder. It’s not just faffing about, using the time to “just wake up.”
It’s a choice to remind myself that I can greet the day with intention.
I’ve noticed that since I’ve adjusted my mornings to start this way, I’m less likely to do those “just checks” on my phone first thing. Or second thing.
It’s not necessarily a concrete form of habit stacking, but it does set the tone for the rest of the day. I’m more likely to move from meditation to something else that feels important, instead of getting sucked in to an endless scroll on the internet.
It’s a choice to remind myself to greet what comes during the day on its terms instead of mine.
I don’t have complete control over how (or when) my kids wake up, or what mood they wake up in, but I can choose to accept it without feeling like they’re supposed to behave in some predetermined way that lets me keep powering through my to-do list.
That’s a feeling that I’ve had to fight with since being required to do all my work from home. They’re not my co-workers. They’re not in my office. I’m trying to do work in their home, and I need to respect that difference.
And it’s a choice that helps me feel confident in my priorities.
I’m choosing to start the day focused on what’s going on directly around me and inside me. Instead of steeping my brain in fresh memes or outrage fuel from the moment I wake up, I’m taking stock of what I have direct influence over at this moment.
And I can see results from this.
I can do more good in a day if I start focused on what I have influence over instead of reminding myself about all the things that feel overwhelming, or create a sense of powerlessness.
Because while those bigger picture things can’t be ignored, that doesn’t mean they need my full attention before I’ve put on real pants or finished a cup of coffee.
I don’t always know how much I can do in a day, but I know that if I wake up on time and get started on one thing, that one thing is 99.9% likely to get done.
Starting my day with meditation isn’t just empty navel gazing. It’s a way to try and get in touch with things as they are, separate from my thoughts or feelings about them. It’s a way to make sure that the first thing that gets done in the morning is something that helps me focus on what I value most and what I have influence over.