3.19.2018

How To Love Your Morning Routine With MS

There’s a lot of buzz right now about morning routines. They're the latest trend promising your best possible life, though they're nothing new. Everyone from Sigmund Freud to Steve Jobs had one, and I'm not above taking health advice from dead geniuses. Wellness experts all over the inter webs assure us that the path to perfect happiness and peace of mind starts with a routine that includes things like lemon water, meditation and making your bed, because studies have shown that people who make their beds are more likely to be actual millionaires.  

But morning routines are highly individual. If you're already a millionaire or tidiness isn't your thing, that's cool. Studies have also shown that making your bed provides a cozy home for skin eating dust-mites. Whichever side of the bed you wake up on,  there's a morning routine for everyone, and for those of us with chronic illnesses like multiple sclerosis, morning routines can be especially beneficial. They can help you:

Feel like a boss (even if you don’t have a job)
Medical retirement means never having to put on pants. This sounds great at first but can quickly lead to feeling like a garbage person. My morning routine makes me accountable to myself. It lets me tick off some easy to accomplish goals that make me feel like I have my shit together. 

Gain some control
I’m a type-A personality trapped in the body of a whatever personality type is the lazy and passive-aggressive one. Chronic illness robs me of what little certainty I think I have in this life, but a routine is something stable, a way to feel like I have a say in how my day’s gonna go. What’s more, doing the same thing regularly is a way to check in and see if today was different than yesterday, making it easier to spot changes in health and address them quickly.

Minimize decisions
Our days are filled with decisions. I only have a limited amount of them in me, and I don’t wanna waste them on what to have for breakfast, because even small decisions are exhausting. Having a routine means you can coast on auto-pilot while the pillow lines work themselves out of your face, conserving precious mental energy for more important choices, like what to binge on Netflix.

Nama-slay, bitches.

My MS Morning Routine

Wake up when I feel like it
Thanks to multiple sclerosis wreaking havoc with my life, making plans for the morning is the last thing I ever want to do. Let’s be clear: a routine is not the same as a schedule. Schedules are for normals, who sleep through the night and can balance on two feet in the shower, whose bodies cooperate enough for them to be accountable to that asshole Father Time. If your well-being doesn’t start until noon? Well, that’s when your morning routine starts. Fuck the sunrise.

Put on a bra
This sounds obvious but for a long time (like years) I didn’t start my day with this step. I was spending the better part of most days alone with the dog. She didn’t care, and she has, like, 6 tits. Alas, I have evolved past the canine. For the last few years, I start every day by putting soap on everything that needs it, and then getting dressed into clothes I didn’t already sleep in (but will probably nap in later).

Go for a walk
I’ve started roaming the long hallways of my condo like a ghost. In an effort to be active all day, I get up and walk the halls every couple of hours for about eleven minutes at a time, more if it’s a good day. Using my rollator, I think about each step; heel, toe, shoulders back, don’t swing the leg, don’t drag the foot, heel, toe. This slow, concentrated walk is almost meditative, which is just another way to say boring, but it reminds me that I’m still walking and that's something positive to concentrate on.

Make coffee, skip the dishes
Next I make coffee, take my meds, and update my Fitbit. Since I take approximately 7 thousand pills and supplements each morning, this takes awhile, but forces me to drink at least one huge glass of water, which is great because getting enough water is a challenge. If the coffee isn't quite ready by the time I’m done my meds, I’ll take a quick, guilty peek at Insta, but I try to stay off my phone until after I’ve finished this next step.

Journal and puppy time
This is the reward part of my morning for having shaved my armpits and walked a thousand steps. I curl up with my journal and coffee, and my 60 pound dog climbs into my lap. I’m not writing a gratitude journal about how I’m thankful for babies laughing or the smell of cinnamon. Who am I, Oprah? No. I put aside this time for processing my own narcissistic life. This isn’t advice, guys. I’m just a blogger making shit up.

Breakfast
I always have a smoothie unless I have to be somewhere and don’t wanna have to pee. By the time I get around to making this it’s usually been awhile since I last ate, which is ideal because delayed breakfast helps me get into ketosis which is a whole other thing. At this point I’ll drink my smoothie while checking email. 

That’s it. That’s my weekday morning ritual. Depending on how much time I spend with my coffee and burn-book, this whole routine takes about an hour and I’m ready to take on the world (or, you know, go back to bed).

What’s your morning routine? 

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6 comments :

  1. It's so funny you touched on this, as I am always thinking about my morning routine and trying to improve it. I glanced at the clock this morning and it hit me just how much I get done in one hour. Up at 6, bed made, lights turned on through the house, coffee in hand and first pee of the day by 6:15. At that time, my daughter gets up. I check in with her for 2 minutes, then go off to make her bed while her dad makes her breakfast. She has until 6:45 to eat, take her vitamins and watch tv. In that time, I try to a) wake up, and/or b) put away some laundry, c) put some dishes away, d) put something in the slow cooker for dinner. Also go through her backpack if I didn't the night before, make sure her lunch is made if she's bringing, and that she has her book or recorder or gym sneakers, whatever her activities for the day are. (Also, there are several shameless minutes hiding away in my bathroom reading because that's just something I do multiple times a day anyway). At 6:45, I motivate her to go get dressed while I clean up the living room. Then I check to make sure she's presentable (she's 9 so not always!) and then make sure she brushes her hair and teeth. Then boots and coat and hat and gloves, and she's out the door at 7:10 for the bus. In a way, I feel like time stretches early on, yet I always feel like I'm moving in three different directions at once, and I still feel behind when the door closes at 7:10. At that point I have until 7:55 to do pretty much all things I outlined for her, plus my lunch which is pretty involved because I eat Paleo and I don't like to buy lunch.

    That's my weekday routine. Saturday morning, all bets are off. We stay in our pj's for as long as we want...although I'll be honest, I can't stand to be unshowered and in pj's for long once I'm up. But as a rule, I try never to schedule anything before 1pm, and I have limitless time in the bathroom with or without my book. ☺

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    1. Wow. This is an impressive morning routine. You def sound like you have your shit together. Although, not to brag, but my first pee is usually around 2am.

      I'm with you on the weekend. The only thing on my to do list is brunch.

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  2. As I sit here at nearly 11am, still un p.j.s., i know you are so right! My day is always better when I'm up and dressed by 9am, coffee in hand, and ready to start the day. Love your posts; this one is so inspirational! Thanks!

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  3. I do have a routine. Actually lots of them. They just don't seem to happen precisely when I want them to! I do however have to start my day with hot lemon water; it's a must for my tummy. And like you - I swallow my herbs or whatever, at least the ones I take in the morning prior to food. If I'm up for it and I didn't have to change the sheets, I'll get on my yoga mat for 30 -40 minutes. Shower (also depends on the day), dress and have breakfast. Then my day goes.... If I'm up for it I'll do some sort of yoga, a tiny bit of weights in the after noon before starting dinner. Often I squeeze some meditation in these sessions - also depending on what else I need to do. I'm happy to at least have something in my toolkit!

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    1. You're killin' it Babs. Thanks for sharing!

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