A cosy rhythm for cold, dark mornings
I’ve never been a morning person. But these days, my three-year-old alarm clock wakes me up at 6am by whispering ‘Mummy, I want breakfast’. At this point in a Scottish winter, it will still be dark for at least another hour and I’m not in a rush to get out from under the blankets.
In a dark winter, so many of us are out of the house before the sun’s even awake. But, as Scotland is still under lockdown and I’m working from our spare room, I have a little more time in the mornings to wake up slow. My husband and my daughter will usually get up to have breakfast together, and I can enjoy a few extra minutes each morning to take things slowly, to stay cosy and to fill my own tank before I take care of others.
Like everyone, my rhythms and routines change over time. But what’s working for me right now is an extra 15 minutes filled with the four things that I know set me up for success each day during this crazy time:
- Hot tea
I’m not talking teacup and saucer here; I’m talking a mug – or two – of strong Yorkshire tea that gives me a caffeine boost to start the day.
I’ll usually manage about three pages of my book before I need to set it aside, but it’s enough to give me a sense of calm and help me feel grounded before I get out of bed. It’s something that’s just for me, a couple of minutes to indulge in a hobby I love before I get to work.
I’ve returned to gratitude journaling in 2021 after a bit of a break. Each morning, I’ll jot down three things I’m grateful for from the day before. It reminds me of good things in bad times, and it also builds a record of what in my life really matters to me in life. I’m learning as much from what I leave out as what I write in.
After these three steps, I’m alert enough to get up and dressed before I eat. For years, I didn’t have breakfast – and wondered why I was always hungry. But a few years ago, I started making my 5-minute spiced muesli; a quick and simple recipe that keeps me going until lunchtime. I never skip it.
And that’s it. It’s quick to do but feels nice and slow. It keeps me cosy and wakes me up at just the right speed. It’s not always easy to take that time – we all have our own pressures and challenges – but for me, the results speak for themselves in terms of productivity, energy and calm. When it’s dark out, keeping the lights low and taking the time to wake up slow with the things that are important to me, means I’m a better wife, mum, employee and human adult for the rest of the day.
5-minute spiced muesli
Mix together approx. three cups of porridge oats, three cups of dried fruit (I use sultanas and cranberries) and one cup of almonds with some dried ginger and cinnamon. (Vary the quantities to your preferred taste.) Store in an airtight container. Serve yourself a bowlful each morning, topped with your favourite yogurt and fruit. It’s amazing with warmed apple sauce.