What They Wish We Knew About Mornings – Mini-Series, Part 1

Last month I talked about starting a mini-series where I would share some of the things I’ve learned from the animals that I work with (especially the things we tend to miss that they really wish we knew). There’s a lot to talk about so let’s dive in and start with one of the easier topics that many of us can relate to.

I call it the whirlwind morning routine. You wake up, feel like you could use another 4 hours of sleep, and begin the day at warp speed. There’s a flurry of coffee, breakfast, showering and checking email. As you scramble to find (clean) clothes, do your hair, and pack your lunch, it feels like time is mocking you until you’re finally out the door. And that’s on a good day. Add kids, a partner, a dog and a cat to the mix and that whirlwind can quickly become a tornado.

So what does this have to do with your dog or cat? Possibly a lot.

Early in my career, when a dog first asked me to tell her person to please slow down, I thought it was an isolated request. Until I was asked again…and again…and again. What both dogs and cats have shared is that many of them feel anxious when we feel panicked and stressed, especially in the morning as it sets the tone for the entire day. It’s hard to feel relaxed around someone who’s not, right? And kind of like smoke, that frenetic morning energy lingers with your companion long after you’ve left the house.

Although finding ways to decelerate is important, it can feel impossible when we live busy lives with lots of responsibilities. It’s not like we’re trying to be rushed. So how do we go about slowing down our morning routines without adding more stress to our already full plates? I’ve got your back.

Three words: small, attainable goals. We have things to do, places to go. I get that. I live that. Mornings can be intense, especially for parents of young children. So rather than wondering how we can go from a level 10 intensity to an unrealistic level 1, I often encourage clients to consider moving from level 10 to level 8. More doable, right?

Sure, you’re still running from the shower to breakfast, but you’ve got a few extra minutes now because you laid out your clothes the night before. And those morning e-mails? No problem. Your new gift to yourself (and your four-legged family member) is that you’re not checking email for the first hour of the day.

Not so bad, right? The idea is that we shift down a gear or two, give ourselves a bit of wiggle room and suddenly we’re a little less rushed. If those changes feel like too much, try making even smaller ones. Choose just one. Pack your lunch the day before. Shower at night. Set your alarm to go off 5 minutes earlier. Choose one thing that works for you and doesn’t feel like too big a deal. And when you’ve got that down pat, consider making just one more small change. I have seen this work with clients again and again. They love the shifts they see in their animals and – added bonus – they have more time to enjoy their morning coffee.

Now I’d love to hear from you. What is your one thing that you’re willing to shift in the morning? Or maybe you’ve already done it and have seen the changes in your dog or cat? Leave me a comment!

8 Comments

  1. What They Wish We Knew About Mornings – Mini-Series, Part 1

    We have a little routine in the morning, me and my three pooches. Mandatory smootch and cuddle time right when we open our eyes. Sometimes its just for a minute each dog, sometimes we have the luxury of ten or fifteen minutes. But its a mandatory start to the day. A tiny bit of personal time for each and they start their day on a high – doesn’t matter how nutty my own morning routine is (they just go back to bed if its really torrential!) they know that THAT day is going to be a solid as the next. Great article Kimberley, thanks for sharing!

    • Kimberley Book

      What They Wish We Knew About Mornings – Mini-Series, Part 1

      What a great morning routine. Love this, Judith!

  2. What They Wish We Knew About Mornings – Mini-Series, Part 1

    Wow great article! Very well done. Loved it. I never thought of how my cat reacts to being in the mist of my morning ” get ready and go to work” routine. Great insight from this article and can’t wait to hear more! Thanks Kimberley !

    • Kimberley Book

      What They Wish We Knew About Mornings – Mini-Series, Part 1

      Thank you so much, Catherine!

  3. What They Wish We Knew About Mornings – Mini-Series, Part 1

    Thank you Kimberley

    Yes a blog that can help make a difference…I like that you not only advocated for our furry loved ones but you gave us wise and practical steps. Our energy effects the world around and our companions that we live with are often most vulnerable.

    • Kimberley Book

      What They Wish We Knew About Mornings – Mini-Series, Part 1

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, Judy!

  4. What They Wish We Knew About Mornings – Mini-Series, Part 1

    Hey Kimberley,

    Great advice. My tip is that every morning (even if time is tight) and especially on the weekends we hang out with our animals family members (e.g. while we have our tea or coffee for a few minutes or on the kitchen floor). Give a pet and cuddle and I always say goodbye to each of them. And I try to have a cuddle with my dog before bed on the couch – that is our thing. P.S. Morty says hi.

    • Kimberley Book

      What They Wish We Knew About Mornings – Mini-Series, Part 1

      That’s so great, Lu. Your animals are so lucky to have you (and vice versa). I miss Morty. Please say hi back for me!

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