Anyways, I am pasting a lot of that text about self-care into this blog entry, so that I can simplify that page and hopefully, not scare anyone away. A pretty important point about self-care is that it is really the first step in being a mindful teacher. If you are "spinning your wheels" all day long--at work and at home--rushing around, feeling tired, impatient, cranky and overwhelmed--you are not going to be modeling mindfulness for anyone and you will probably be suffering considerably. Self-care is a game-changer. And you often have to enlist help to make it happen. You have to make your kids (including students) start pulling more of their weight (still working on that one myself!) and you have to ask your spouse to give you breaks and take on more of the housework. And be prepared to have things done differently than you would like. You are going to have to let some things go. (Still working on that one myself, too!)
So here are some longer and completely truthful descriptions of how I start my day:
"Bookend" Your Day
*Get up Early
I wake myself up without an alarm, a habit my husband introduced me to when we first started living together, almost twenty years ago. The only time we ever set an alarm clock to wake up is when we have to catch a really early flight.
I normally wake up a few hours before my husband and children rise, around 4:30am, so that I can have some precious quiet time. This only works because I also go to bed early each night, usually by 9pm. It helps that I don't have any compulsion to watch tv and because I get up so early, I'm pretty tired by the time I get my kids to bed.
*Wake up in a positive way
When I first start to awaken in the morning, I say a positive affirmation to myself, like "I will greet this day with love in my heart." I also try to think of something I am grateful for or looking forward to in the day. If my first thought is one of dreading something or remembering something negative from the day before, I do some deep breathing and think something like, "Breathing in--everything is OK. Breathing out--just smile." You can also set a positive intention for the day. I then get up and start my morning ritual of having a cup of tea, reading (often something spiritual), playing Words and Bonza, journaling, meditation, stretching, exercise, mindful showering and eating. I have to avoid Facebook during my morning ritual because it sucks me in and before I know it, I am way behind schedule. Having this time for myself is such a luxury. I revel in it. It makes it worth it to get up so early and when I don't have this quiet time, I notice that day my doesn't go as well.