The operating room is definitely a morning place. Cases start at 7:30 am, which means that preparations can take place up to an hour beforehand. Luckily I tend to be a morning person, so I still get up fairly early whether it is a workday or not. And those non-work, slow mornings are truly a treat for me. This is my slow morning routine:
I wake up without an alarm some time between 6 and 7 am (if I'm going to work, I use an alarm to get up around 5:40 am). I saunter upstairs and take my morning medications/supplements with a large glass of iced tea with lots of lemon. Then I push the "large coffee" button on my fully automatic espresso machine (best money spent EVER, huge return on investment 7 years ago). The loud grinding of coffee beans is a welcomed sound, as it is followed by the perfect aroma of Guatemalan coffee beans being pressed and steamed with water to form my espresso. I never tire of that smell! Instead of rushing back downstairs with my coffee to get ready for work, I turn on lots of lights, including my 10,000 Lux lamp (a must-have in the winter). I may turn on NPR or a podcast and then settle into a perch in front of the lamp (usually on the top of the counter) to enjoy my coffee. Slowly, sip by sip.
Sometimes my husband and I do cooking projects, such as preparing something in the slow cooker for the night or peeling and baking potatoes to have after our afternoon workout. I might do a brief, self-guided yoga practice. If the weather is nice, we go out for a walk or a hike from our home. Then I make brunch. Instead of wolfing down something while driving to work, I have the opportunity to actually prepare food... What shall I make? I contemplate the options with glee. If I still want something quick, it's a smoothie with lots of yummy ingredients. If I want to spend more time, I choose a special recipe of pancakes, waffles, or eggs with sauteed greens.
I consider these mornings as personal treats. The term "treat" is usually associated with something edible, sweet, and decadent, but it can really mean anything that contributes to your own self-care. Taking time to appreciate my slow morning routine helps me more happily and efficiently get through my more harried days. Happiness expert Gretchen Rubin wrote this article on why we need treats in our life to foster the formation of good habits. And in Happy Money, Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton discuss treats as one of their five key principles for spending money while maximizing happiness.
What about you? How do you spend your mornings on a weekend or a day off? Do you have other cherished "treats"? Share your thoughts here!