Here’s the true secret of life: We mostly do everything over and over. In the morning, we let the dogs out, make coffee, read the paper, help whoever is around get ready for the day. We do our work.
In the afternoon, if we have left, we come home, put down our keys and satchels, let the dogs out, take off constrictive clothing, make a drink or put water on for tea, toast the leftover bit of scone. I love ritual and repetition. Without them, I would be a balloon with a slow leak.
~ Anne Lamott, Stitches: A Handbook of Meaning, Hope, and Repair, 82
My own routine is one variation of Lamott’s, but a routine nonetheless. If I deviate too far from this ritual, things feel a bit “off,” out of kilter.
- Get up, wash face; dress
- Make breakfast
- Time of meditation with Bible and gratitude book
- Begin my work . . . exercise, mini-walks follow
Origin of ablution: Late Middle English: from Latin ablutio(n-), from abluere, from ab- ‘away’ + luere ‘wash’. The original use was as a term in chemistry and alchemy meaning ‘purification by using liquids’, hence ‘purification of the body by washing’ (mid 16th century).
Benefits of Your Routine, according to the hello peaceful mind website
You will . . .
- Feel less stress.
- Gain time.
- Be less likely to forget something.
- Take better care of yourself.
- Eat better in the morning
A Huffington Post article adds other benefits including exercise by stretching, taking a shower, meditation, and writing morning pages, however you define that.
Click here for a more intellectual approach to your morning routine, including the wisdom of Ben Franklin and Victor Hugo’s strange practice.
The Power of Habit
We underestimate the power of habit while we’re young, and we underestimate the grace of it.
~ Jens Christian GrØndahl Often I Am Happy
What is your morning routine?
What tips can you add to the ones listed here?
Contemplating the last quote, how would you explain the “grace” of habit?
I have to ask, Marian…why are your hard-boiled eggs pink? 🙂 I’m definitely a creature of routine. When it’s disrupted, I become out of sorts. I’m up at 3:45 each morning. I have my coffee and two hard-boiled eggs (white), Greek yogurt with Flax Seed, prayer time, computer time and then I leave my house at 5:30.
You are the earliest bird I know (up at 3:45 daily) and often the first to comment here. Thank you, Jill!
You asked about the pink eggs: They are pickled eggs, made reddish pink with beet juice. According to a recipe in the Mennonite Community Cookbook (1957), the brine recipe requires cooked beets, a small amount of mustard and salt, with brown sugar and vinegar. Shirley Showalter’s BLUSH includes the full recipe on page 264.
I take a shortcut and buy pickled beets in a glass container or can, drain out the liquid and add one tablespoon of vinegar. Then the hard-boiled eggs are pickled in the beet brine for about a day. Thanks for your curiosity here; maybe others will join the Red Beet-Egg eating Breakfast Club!
Thanks for the explanation, Marian!
Good morning, Marian. Your breakfast looks so colorful–and it looks like you eat outside or by a window. How lovely!
Yes, I like to eat outside around 7:00 before the Florida heat sets in. Lately mosquitoes have been bothering me though, so I’m usually stationed by the window. Thanks for the comment, Merril!
I used to have a morning routine, Marian. I used to have an evening one too (even more important to wash one’s face at night, you know). But I realize I’ve gotten a bit lax of late. My morning routine, when I adhered to it, included stretching, drinking 8 ozs of water (with my one pill), peeing (not necessarily in this order), journaling and reading (I’ve been working my way slowly through May Sartons At Seventy this year). Then breakfast (the same for the past 30 some years: oatmeal with turmeric (used to be cinnamon) and either freshly ground flax seed or (thanks to Kathy Pooler) chia seeds and flax milk. I see as I write this that I’ve begun wavering on my standard fare. And, like this morning, I often get some social media time in before I get out of bed. This week, I’ve added running to the barn to check my new chicks before breakfast. Poor May; I’ve been neglecting her.
I see from other commenters, I need to get some flaxseed into my diet. Cheerios is standard fare for me except in winter when I love steel-cut oats. You have had a lot on your plate (both literally and figuratively too based on your blog post this week.)
Your new chickies excite me too. I wonder if that means you’ll be collecting eggs. Maybe you are already.
Yes, I enjoy May Sarton’s poetry and her exploration of the decades. You can always come back to her, you know. Thanks for all of this, Janet!
Oh yes. I sell eggs all year. Then, in the spring we get chicks and I raise them over the summer. The meat birds (30 this year) get sold in August by the pound (after 10 go in our freezer) and the 15 layers will be sold in October except for the 3 or 4 that we will keep to add to our egg laying batch. they live in a section of our basement that has an outside door. It’s quite convenient come winter, which as you know lasts a very long time up here. Cheerios, huh? The breakfast of champions.
I’d call you a farmer-ette, Janet. Nothing like fresh eggs + money in the pocket too!
Ah yes, routine. Must have it. I wake when my body tells me to—preferably around 4 – 4:30 and I write my daily blog post.. When hubby wakes, he gets up and brings coffee back to bed. When the blog is done, I visit my favourite spaces on the web. When it’s time for a second cup of coffee, hubby takes his downstairs where he does his devotions and I stay cozy in bed where I do mine. Finally I shower, and we meet for breaky and a discussion about what truth we’ve gleaned in our devotional time.
Those eggs sound intriguing. I may try them. Mennonite food is a part of my heritage I’m just coming to know. We enjoyed new-to-me Mennonite treats when we were visiting my cousins last week. Roll kuchen and watermelon was a favourite! I wonder if it is part of your tradition too.
Some readers may envy you having Gerry bringing you coffee in bed. What a way to honor your writing time! Roll kuchen is not part of our family’s tradition but I remember watermelon rind pickled with vinegar, cloves, cinnamon, and of course sugar.
I read your post daily and enjoy your macro-lens shots!
Pickled eggs! I haven’t enjoyed one in years but now I’m going to have to make a batch. Growing up in the Deep South, I remember begging for a pickled egg or sausage from immense glass canisters (unrefrigerated) found at the local markets. And oddly enough, pickled sausages were the one food I later craved again during my 1st pregnancy.
PS: Floridian hint ~ To keep mosquitos at bay outdoors, buy a 10″ O2 Cool battery operated table fan at Home Depot (pick up several for hurricane season – they’re priceless for sleeping at night when the power is out). Mosquitoes are weak fliers and have trouble navigating a moderate breeze; it also dissipates the CO2 we give off that attracts mosquitoes.
Wow, I’m impressed, Lynn. You are an expert on trivetology and also know a thing or two about fending off mosquito bites. I can walk to Home Depot from our neighborhood; I may invest in the battery operated fan you describe here. Thanks for all of this!
My alarm goes off at 6, then 6:30, which is when I will finally get up. I try to have a devotional time before starting to work. I might take a quick walk before 7 if the weather allows.
Marian, I still need your address for the giveaway. Please email me at lwashin301(at)comcast(dot)net.
To my mind, 6:30 is not late rising, usually my time. Your routine sounds do-able, Marie. Thank you!
(I think earlier today we took care of the address challenge.) 🙂
Marian, once again you have opened a subject that has special resonance for me. I am at the tail end of a transition from Pittsburgh to Harrisonburg, a transition that took just one day (for the physical move) but more than one month for the deeper physical and spiritual move. The body gets to a new place first. The spirit has to dance and dawdle before it completely sinks down into the new home.
Rituals really help that happen. You sent me back to search through old blog posts. I’ve tried and shared various kinds of morning rituals, all of them good if practiced faithfully. (Thanks for the link to that very comprehensive post at the end of yours above.) Here’s my 2013 quest for fitness of all kinds in case it’s useful to anyone: https://www.shirleyshowalter.com/searching-for-the-fit-self-a-physical-and-spiritual-check-in/
I just returned from my first morning of water aerobics. That’s a new one for me. I’ll be writing about transitions and rituals for vocation matters this week. You have inspired me.
Yes, indeed. In this season of life, the body, soul and spirit crave routine. When a change happens, even if it’s planned, we resist planting the “needle” into a different groove. Soon you’ll catch your rhythm in the Shenandoah Valley once again.
I’m glad you enjoyed the topic and the links. Today has been a busy, busy day, but you can be sure I’ll check into your 2013 post and the new one this week. 🙂
My nature being what it is, I get into trouble with too many things on the list to feel I’ve done and I am ENOUGH. Recently I had a dream of a Franciscan monk in long brown robes who protected me. The dream was lengthy and began with me being scared, but it led to the safety of the simple life.
I get up in the morning and, this time of year, I open the shades to see where Papa Bluebird is hanging out–on his perch near the nesting box, on the barn roof, in the crabapple tree? I usually find him somewhere. Then the washing and dressing of the body and a short meditation. Then descend the stairs to take care of Willow and give her breakfast followed by my breakfast and a little computer time. In the evening, to bed early (I have to wrestle with the part of me that wants to stay up late), read a while, and lights out by 10. Every day, in between, I take care of life’s demands (mother-in-law blues), garden if there’s time, take what Vic used to call (tongue in cheek) a boring flower walk when I inspect the land and the critters living here), and take time to write. I also read news–not a lot, but as much as I can stomach and to feel I know what this nutso world is doing now. I tend to pile my plate too high. I’m searching for that Franciscan monk in me.
I was just wishing the other day I could be whisked off to a convent or monastery to avoid all the maddening distractions of my current life. Benedictine, Jesuit, whatever. If it’s Franciscan we’d be sure to pay attention to nature as your “Beatrice,” surely a symbol of divine grace has been calling you to do.
You have not written about Virginia lately, but I know you still attend to her, but differently now. I know she’s more than a 100 years old now. 101? 102? Oh, my!
Maybe it’s time for both of us to take a not-so-boring flower walk. Thanks, Elaine!
Marian — I’m with Jill Weatherholt. I’m a creature of habit and get cranky when it’s disrupted. Here’s what it looks like:
1. Drink a HOT cup of water with fresh-squeezed lime
2. Meditation in motion (yoga)
3. Wash face/ brush teeth/comb hair (so I don’t scare the neighbors for #4)
4. Walk Willa
5. By now Len is up so I enjoy a cup of coffee or tea with him
6. Post a meme on social media
7. Respond to anyone who has connected with me via social media
8. Drink a plant-based protein shake
9. Depending on the day of the week, see clients via FaceTime or write (could be my next blog post, an article, or the manuscript I’m working on)
Thanks for a window into your world, 1 – zen. I think many readers who know your blog and books don’t realize you keep appointments as a life coach. I notice you also post many memes on social media, which I think may be a key to your marketing success.
And special good wishes for your new book debut just around the corner. Because I have read and reviewed your new book, it seems as though it’s already launched. Brava for all of this, Laurie!
Once again, a timely post!
Like Shirley, I am in the midst of a physical move. In three weeks I will be moved 100 miles away; it has been happening in small pieces, as we adjust to make space for me in my husband’s house. Her comments of the physical is simple, it is the emotional and mental sides that bring introspection, ring so true.
All my life I have been an early riser, and it continues [out the door by 5:30AM]. Since full retirement, six mornings a week start with exercise, either walking or a trip to the gym. Some mornings include a session of Tai Chi Chuan Yang long style, outside in a park under the trees. Home to drink a cup of coffee, check emails. After reading your post, will resurrect my morning pages habit.
With this upcoming move, my primary care doctor gently reminded me that now is the perfect time to change up/revamp/revitalize my morning routine. And today’s blog post has reinforced that.
Thank you for taking the time from packing and organizing to comment here. Less than two years ago we made a major move after living in a home for 37 years. So much to sort through, recycle, and even trash.
Exercise is part of my routine too: PowerPump and Pilates at the gym; walking and housework otherwise.
My husband, who reads my blog posts before they are published asked, “Will anyone know what morning pages are?” And I said, “Most of my commenters are writers; they’ll know!” You proved me right, Ginger.
Best wishes as you move into a different rhythm and lifestyle!
Marian, your breakfast looks lovely, so colorful and healthy. I agree that maintaining a regular routine does have many benefits as you listed. After two years adjusting to home peritoneal dialysis, I think I finally have a routine that seems to be working for me. A healthy protein-rich breakfast, a walk and time for prayerful mediations usually gets me off to a good start.
I think often about your being so productive as a writer/author while coping with the challenges of dialysis. Good diet and godly practices are part of your secret too. I keep hoping the artificial organ publicized now will be perfected before long and you can be a recipient.
Thanks for these good words, Kathy!
I think we all like some routine and when I worked, I had it down pat. But I also like to mix it up a bit from time to time as I don’t want to get set in my ways. I think if you do everything the same all the time, when something happens to disrupt the routine, you can get quite stressed. Your breakfast looks so colourful and appealing (as well as healthy).
Darlene, your move to Spain is proof enough that you have not gotten set in your ways. I sense that you are flexible in other ways too. Thank you!
You are so well organized Marian. I live in organized chaos, lol. I wake, make coffee, eat my same gluten-free waffle with almond butter then off to the computer for most of the day and night, writing posts, guest posts, and responding to comments, posting on social media, etc. In between all that I’ll stop computer and go to writing ideas in my journal, have some lunch, go to the gym 3-4 days a week, cook dinner, watch MSNBC all night while reading blogs – all, not necessarily in the same order. 🙂
If what you call “organized chaos” works for you, I’d say keep doing it! You are certainly a prolific autbor and faithful commenter and supporter of other writers. I’m sure you make time for Gordon as well.
Thanks for giving us a peek into your world, Debby. 🙂
Lol, thanks Marian. 🙂
Marian, you have caught me at the end of a very busy time, as we have had company for two weeks. I have had to let some of my morning rituals go, and I’m OK with that. One thing I seemingly have to do without exception (my spouse does not understand this) is to make my bed. I just do not like to return from somewhere and walk into a room that looks dishevelled! Its probably. Or the most important thing to do, but for me it seems I have to do it!
I understand completely, Elfrieda. When I have house-guests, some rituals are eclipsed by their needs. And I agree about bed-making. The whole bedroom looks better when the bed is made. I am fortunate in that my husband went to a university with a strict dorm regimen that included bed-making. Since he no longer travels as much, he makes the bed every day after I fix breakfast.
Having company is rewarding, but energy-sapping too. Thank you for taking the time to comment here today. 🙂
My life is erratic at the moment so routine is a challenge. But I make sure I get up before anyone else in the household and have quiet time by myself – even if it means getting up ridiculously early. I need that solitude time or I’m off kilter all day.
The presence of other people, even loved ones (especially loved ones?) sucks energy. That’s may be one reason why you feel off kilter if you don’t have “alone” time when you begin the day. Best wishes for life slowing down a bit for you, Arlene. Thanks for touching base here!
That is true of introverts like me. I need the time alone to charge up for the day. I really enjoy your blog. It’s one of my favourites.
Many writers are introverts and need solitude. I’m glad we have this connection in blog world, and I’m glad we can enjoy regular conversation here ~ and at science and story!
Morning routines is very important to me Marian. I wake up, put my dirty clothes on from yesterday and take my dog for a walk. It’s my wake up/meditation time as I listen to the birdsong, notice new plant growth around me, and anything else going on in the neighborhood. I’m usually out there alone as I usually do that around 6:45. When I come back, I feed Max, make breakfast for myself (Bill makes his own). After I eat breakfast I take a shower, put on clean clothes, do some stretching or go to the YMCA to get a bit of exercise. I mediate and write in my journal later in the day. The best part is that morning walk, even in the rain or snow. If I don’t do that part the rest of the day is off.
You surround yourself with your pet, some plant life, and outdoor air before you tackle “human” kind. A wise woman you are, Joan!
I get up and drink coffee before everyone else is awake. Love it.
That coffee helps fuel energy for taking many a lovely shot from your perch on the dock. Thank you!
I agree that having a morning routine is a good thing, but will admit that in the last year or so I’ve lost my way on this. Once upon a time I would have been able to list my routine… but not any more. I’m scattered now, instead of purposeful. Of course writing that admission here I realize that there’s only one person who can change how I behave in the morning… Make it so, Ally Bean!
Glad this post served as a mirror, Ally! Perhaps you do need to be more purposeful with a routine.
Or maybe you need a vacation. That’s what I’m telling myself after a year (or two) of disruption. Cheers to us both getting back on track!
I think routine gives us purpose, and it is also possible to stick to it without thinking and planning too much. It’s routine; it’s a habit; it’s easy. In general, I’m not a fan of routine, to prevent my life from getting “boring”, unchallenging, or “running on automatic”. I’m a fan of expanding my horizons and trying new things. The advantage of that behavior is that I’m very flexible with a lot of things, and that is handy when you travel and move a lot.
As an example, I’m currently staying with my parents in Belgium for three weeks, so my breakfasts are very different than usually, since I eat what they have available (and I’m too lazy to go hunting for certain foods and go shopping myself :-)). I’m easy! Shaking things up this way makes me happy. Yet, when I am house sitting in the States, I do have a routine, of which parts are present here in Belgium and others when we live in our camper – the feasible parts. 🙂
In a house, my routine consists of:
– waking up
– checking emails and attending to important messages or issues
– taking a shower
– having breakfast: glass of 100% orange juice, a banana and fish oil pill, a bowl of Kellogg’s K or plain cereal with fresh berries if affordable and around, cup of green tea
– start work on the computer
In our camper, only the waking up and breakfast part is somewhat feasible. 🙂
Part of the secret of your charm is your itinerant life, which seems to incorporate both variety and habit.
What a perfect time to visit your parents in Belgium, where the weather is probably pleasant. Shaking things up is good for the soul and body. As you can see fruit is in my breakfast too . . . lots in season now: blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. A fish oil pill is part of my regimen too.
Cheers to flexibility, Liesbet! 🙂
Cheers to flexibility, and a healthy diet, Marian! 🙂