Morning Coffee With Dogs: Tips for Sneaking in Some “Me Time”

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I have never been a morning person. I have always dreaded the sound of an alarm or being awakened by light coming through the window. Historically, I’m rather crabby before about 9 am. Lately, however, I feel a change underway, and I have my rescue dog, Oliver, to thank for it.

Oliver, our 4 year-old rescue dog, is a bit of a hot mess. He suffers from anxiety, so he barks a lot and doesn’t like strangers in his home. Oliver also wakes up early. Like 5:30 am early. Every. Single. Day. He starts his morning with a few short barks in my direction and makes his way downstairs. If I don’t get up and let him outside, the barking will continue, and I risk the rest of my family starting their days way too early, too. So, most days, I get out of bed and attend to Oliver’s needs.

Our morning routine is like clockwork- I let Oliver (and Kyra, our elderly lab mix who plays along for the food) outside and make my coffee. I brush my teeth, fill their dog bowls, and wander around the kitchen like a zombie until I hear a scratch on the door.   Other than the crunching of dog food, the house is quiet. The first sip of coffee warms my soul as I sit in my favorite chair and take a moment to just be still. For the next 30 minutes or so, I look at my planner, check social media, and spend some time in prayer. My mornings, previously hurried and disorganized, have turned into a peaceful start to my day. I am beginning to accept my morning wake up call with less grumbling and starting to realize the important of some “me time.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying everyone needs to turn into a morning person or adopt a dog whose bark could pierce the sound barrier. Rather, I’m hoping that after reading this, you will be inspired to take a little time each day to enjoy some quiet.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas:

Put yourself in time out- As my boys have gotten older, time out translates to time separated from each other, some moments alone to regroup. So when you’re feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, why not remove yourself from the situation? A little respite goes a long way. Let your kiddos set the timer, shut your bedroom door, and spend a few moments alone.

Take an Epsom salt soak- One of my personal self-care favorites, Epsom salt baths are a great way to ease tense muscles and rid the body of toxins. Fill up your tub, add some salt, and feel your worries float away. Need to get ready for bed? Add a few drops of lavender essential oil.

Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier than usual- This one is trickier than it sounds. As moms, we are conditioned to feel like we should be doing something every minute of the day. Overcome the urge to tackle your to-do list, and use this extra time to be still. You may start to look forward to the sound of your morning alarm.

Remember, you will be better to care for others when you first take care of you!

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Nicole is a working mom of two boys, and has been married to her husband, Jim, since 2006. She and her family, along with their two rescue dogs, live in a Metro East suburb about 15 minutes from downtown St. Louis. When not encouraging her boys from the sidelines, Nicole can be found trying new fitness trends or helping others to reach their health and wellness goals. Nicole believes in the healing power of humor and can generally find a reason to laugh. Her hobbies include reading, Netflix binging, and dancing like no one is watching. You can follow Nicole on Instagram @befittinglyfit and in the Facebook group Befittingly Fit for reviews of area fitness classes and musings about life with boys.

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