Originally published: 17/09/2015
Getting ready in the morning is really important for me, and helps me to feel good. It helps me feel like I am able to tackle the day, rather than merely hoping that it all goes well. I feel like, along with du’a, this is my first step in asking Allah for a good day with my actions; in doing my part. What works best for me is to take 15 minutes for getting ready. Sometimes less, rarely more. And in this time, I usually brush my teeth, wash my face and put on some facial moisturiser and get dressed (although to linger on in my pyjamas well into the morning can be tempting, and does sometimes happen, it doesn’thelp my day and feels… bleurgh). I also brush and tie up my hair neatly. Sometimes, I put on some make up, but that’s a bonus. However, washing my face, brushing my teeth, getting dressed and brushing my hair are imperatives for me; they impact how I feel, and how I begin my day, which sets the tone for my day. They affect my mindset: am I feeling good and feeling on top of things, as a result of taking this short investment into my day, or am I feeling messy and not wanting to engage with the day, and tentatively hoping the kids don’t rock the boat from not taking this time?
I totally understand and empathise that it can be hard: I myself struggle to do this consistently or properly at the same time every morning – sometimes due to circumstances that just can’t be helped. I know I sometimes find myself not ready well after my children have had breakfast, and then as I put my baby down for his morning nap. Then, I don’t feel as fully engaged or present (and I feel a bit yucky), when my toddler and I play. In that, I may be enjoying the playtime to some degree or even a whole lot, but not to the full extent that I do when I feel fresh, clean and neat.
What I find to be helpful in doing this routine is to do as much as I can. Sometimes, that means, just my imperatives. More times now (with more practice), it means all of the above (my bonuses, as well). Getting ready can also help change an initial morning tired state. A lot of us stay at home Mums with babies/young children likely get very little sleep, especially if we’re waking up in the night with our babies. So I find getting ready helps me to feel less tired, or at least shifts the focus off my fatigue, to the fact that I now feel good and fresh, *even if I am tired*. So I’m working with my situation now, and taking steps to move forward positively, alhamdulillah.
So what can we do to make getting ready in the morning a priority?
Actionable Steps in Implementing The Tip
1. Figure out what makes you feel refreshed and do that in your getting ready routine every morning.
2. Have some imperatives. This means that even if you can’t do everything that makes you feel refreshed due to possible circumstantial constraints, you have some things that make you feel good, or feel fresh and revitalised in some way, that you can quickly do at any point in the day, insha’Allah (with some gentle self-motivation). Having imperatives is good, I find, for the days when you haven’t managed to get ready in the morning and as a result, you perhaps don’t feel as good, and half the morning has gone, or it is lunchtime (it has happened to me!). So the imperatives are few, easy and make a positive impact. I listed my imperatives previously in this piece. For you, it might be getting dressed, and simply spritzing on a nice scent, that makes you feel good.
3. If you find it hard to do for whatever reason, you could try setting a timer for however long you have given your particular situation and then get ready. With a timer, I find, you just get on with the task at hand, and forget about how it feels, or all the steps it entails. When I first began trying to implement this tip, I found I sometimes took toomuch time. And that was detrimental because: a) I don’t have a lot of time. There are other important things and b) I was less likely to stick to it, and do it again, ‘cos it felt….lonnggg. So a timer helped.
In implementing anything new, it is important to try to stay consistent. But what I find as important is practising a little self-kindness. So with this tip (and any tip or change), remember to be kind to yourself in the midst of your striving to implement it. This means that there will be days when you don’t get ready perhaps, or you have very little fight, or you just don’t feel like it. Remind yourself that everybody struggles with changes, and spur yourself on for trying.
And try to remember that Allah is on your side with regards to any khair (goodness) that you are trying to do. Change the voice in your head from one that reminds you about how you failed, to the one that acknowledges your effort, and gives you a little internal pat for trying in the first place.
I know for me, I find myself wanting to get back on whatever change I’m working on when I acknowledge that we all have struggles, changing the voice in my head from a negative one to an encouraging positive one; one that reminds me that I can turn to Allah for help, I can whisper a du’a, knowing I have a Lord that is Mujeeb (Responsive) and get back up and keep going.
I hope some of these tips help, insha’Allah. And I wish you great days in your role 🙂