April Newsletter: El Mes Más Cruel
Photo by Stainless Images on Unsplash
Hey punkins. How is it April already? I hope you’re doing fabulous. Days are longer. Things are warmer. There may be showers. Hopefully they won’t be nuclear. And here we are.
Today I’m giving you the things I do every morning. Why? Because there’s been so much talk over the pandemic about morning routines and, if you’re like me, you can easily obsess over whether you’re doing it “right” or not. I try not to do that, at the same time that I know having a good routine can be really fulfilling, whereas if I start the day with an episode of Flip or Flop I’m catapulted directly into “why can’t I have a farmhouse sink” territory, which does nothing but capitalism any good.
So here’s my routine. Every morning, while I drink my coffee, I Duolingo! I practice Spanish right now, but in the past I’ve done French and faffed about with Irish and Welsh because why not? Like all apps, Duolingo will try to convince you to be on it all the time, so don’t let that get to you. I usually do like 5 exercises every morning, and it’s like a warm up routine for my brain. I can literally feel it go from groggy-morning-brain to let’s-go-brain. But there are days when I gotta get to steppin’, or I’m not feeling it, and I do only one exercise to keep my streak. And there are days when I’m feeling mi español and I do like an hour. In other words…I do what I want! There’s no “right” way, the goal is to warm up my brain y practicar mi español.
After I duo, I meditate. I’ve done numerous meditation apps in the past, and I’ve enjoyed them all. Right now I’m using Ten Percent Happier, which I really like. It’s not cheap ($99 a year), but I like the challenges they do and I like how it’s set up. I’ve also really enjoyed Headspace, which I think is a bit less expensive.
I do the meditation in the morning but after my Duo because if I don’t meditate in the morning, I don’t get to it. It’s just fact. I tell myself I’ll do it in the afternoon (it’s only fifteen minutes!) and it never happens. I also do it after my Duo because I realized pretty quickly with this app, that has a lot of information about how your brain and nervous system work, that I retain zero percent of that info if I listen to it first thing. But after Duo warms my brain up, I can actually remember what is the TEB cycle.
On that note, I think that a huge part of my current peace of mind and contentment is that I work with myself rather than trying to drastically change myself all the time. In the past, I would have found it irritating that I won’t take the time to meditate in the afternoon, when I might be more stressed and might benefit most from meditation. And yet, every afternoon all the emails have come in asking for things and I’ve got my to-do list staring at me. I would have tried to force myself to be the person who can drop it all and meditate in the afternoon. But now? I just accept that I can easily take the time to meditate first thing in the morning, as the point is to meditate, not to meditate “perfectly”.
Finally, every morning I go into my bank account and I do my budgeting. I use the YNAB budgeting app, and I am literally obsessed. If they had a cult, I would be at the front of the line, asking for the uniform. This app has literally changed my life. I’ve written about how it got me out of debt, here, and now I’m not only debt free but sitting on substantial rainy day savings. So every morning I sit down and I make sure I’ve inputted everything I spent the day before, and remind myself where I am for that month, and plan accordingly. Like, “yay! I can do that boozy brunch Saturday,” or “no, mama, you are eating what you already have in your fridge on Saturday.”
All of this stuff (and making my bed; I did read that article during the pandemic, too!) means I start my day calm, focused, and grounded.
So there are the things I like for my mornings: Duolingo, Ynab, and (for this year) 10 Percent Happier. Viva la manageable morning routines! Viva el mes de abril!