Create a Life You Love

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Create A Life You Love

Sometimes “Balance” Means Throwing Your Routine Out The Window

Mornings and how to find a routine that works for you in each season
I'm Stephanie May Wilson!

I'm an author and podcaster and my specialty is helping women navigate big decisions, life transitions — creating lives they love.

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Create A Life You Love: Comes out on April 30th!

I rolled out of bed this morning, slowly, like I have been for weeks. Our alarms had been singing harmonies for over an hour — us tapping each other to press our respective snooze buttons one more time, one more time, one more time, before falling back asleep.

Maybe it’s the rapid-fire change that’s been shaking our lives and making us so tired. Maybe it’s a new city, and new jobs, and the fact that someone is now sharing my bed. Yep, it’s probably just that—the cute guy lying next to me all cozy and warm. But whatever it is, getting out of bed lately has been the battle of a lifetime—a battle I’m losing. No contest.

“It’s time,” Carl muttered into his pillow a few minutes later, giving me a small push. So turning off my relentless alarm, I kicked off the comforter and padded down the hallway, heading straight for our Keurig. I filled up two mugs of coffee – one took just cream, and the other cream and sugar. I then padded back down the hallway, setting the mug on the nightstand right next to Carl’s head. Coffee seems to be the only thing that can get us up these days.

For the next fifteen minutes, I zipped around my bathroom. Grabbing the most decent outfit I could scrounge up with one hand, and twisting my hair into a topknot with the other, I got ready as fast as I could—after all, we were already late.

For the record, this is not how I like to start my mornings.

I used to be really good at mornings — waking up early, preparing for the day. I’d make some coffee, and settle in with my Bible and journal. It was the time when I got to pour out all my thoughts from the day before, and fill up on new ones that would sustain me for yet another. It was my favorite part of my day—the quiet moments that seemed to return me back to my best self.

In other seasons of my life, my mornings have been reserved for workouts. A good sweat-sesh was my favorite way to wake up, giving me a feeling of accomplishment that wouldn’t quit all day.

I also like spending more than 15 minutes getting ready each morning. I feel more confident, awake, and ready when I put in a bit of effort. Topknots are great, but I prefer to do a bit better.

But none of those things have been happening lately.

I’ve been late, groggy, haven’t worked out in ages, and my journal has been gathering dust. My hair has been in a permanent topknot, and nothing about my mornings has been restful or intentional like I prefer it to be.

And in some ways it’s driving me crazy.

I need intentional mornings like I need my Keurig. I need to greet the day with a few peaceful moments to myself. I need to be working out, and journaling, and reading the Bible. I’m a better version of myself when I do those things, and I know that soon I need to get back to them.

But I’m learning something from my messy mornings, something that’s unraveling an expectation I’ve always had for myself.

When I don’t have it all together, I’m disappointed in myself, because I truly believe that with enough discipline, it’s possible.

I’ve always thought that if I worked hard enough, woke up early enough, or scheduled my day down to the minute, that I could make everything happen all at once.

My home would be perfect, my hair would be perfect, my butt would be perfect, and my writing would be perfect. I would be the perfect wife, the perfect friend, the perfect daughter, and sister, and coworker, if only I could schedule my time perfectly enough. And when I fall short in any one of those categories, I’m disappointed in myself instantly.

But this season of mornings is showing me what I’d be sacrificing with that kind of perfection.

I may be sloppy, and out of shape, and my mornings may be rushed, but I’m spending an extra hour of my day next to my favorite person in the world—a person that hasn’t been there each morning for most of my life. I'm busy savoring this new time we have together, and perfection would force me to sacrifice that.

I may be temporarily giving up on something precious to me, my mornings, my peace and quiet, but I’m gaining something new, something different, something entirely better — time with my new husband. 

Yes, I will get back to the gym, and I’ll make the time to journal in the morning like I used to.

But I’m learning that sometimes a healthy balance in life doesn’t look like doing everything all at once. Sometimes it looks like giving up something for one season in favor of something else, and continuing to let that seesaw happen in different seasons of life.

Do you let this seesaw happen in your life? Or are you like me, trying to do it all at once?

Related posts and podcast episodes:

Girls Night #50: How to Set and Keep Goals that Will Change Your Life

Girls Night #113: How to Breathe New Life into your Quiet Time Routine

When An Area Of Your Life Doesn’t Look Like You Want It To — Here’s How To Change It!

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In this post, I share why our morning (or daily) rountine might look different in every season of life (and why that's okay)!

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  1. Jerry Powell says:

    Yes, Steph, life is a seesaw! But a great one. Enjoy the moments. They definitely are precious.

  2. Caitlin says:

    I get it!

    Only my mornings look like waking up to the first alarm clock going off at 4:40, snuggling under the covers with the puppy and the husband, a few paragraphs of sleepy, whispered conversation, and then “finally” getting up at 5 so I can head downstairs for a cup of coffee with my husband before he goes off to work by 5:15.

    Some days, he kisses my forehead and tells me to just go back to bed.

    But there’s something wonderful about that being together, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

  3. Jessika says:

    Hi Stephanie! I’ve always been one to have the perfect routine. When one thing goes out of place – or not my way – i’m a complete mess crying and giving myself panic attacks. I don’t know where I learned this from, or why perfection is so important to me. I guess it’s my first-born upbringing; I never want to be a failure in my parents eyes because I have to be the good example.

    But I have been through seasons where things change. Two graduations, jobless, moved from one island to another, etc. And while sleeping in isn’t always my first choice, it feels great to do it once in a while. Sometimes being so busy doesn’t let us see others in their true light. It’s as if we’re a race car, trying to win life’s race, and we only have a short amount of time to talk to/cherish those that are at the pit stop before we go about racing again.

    I got you girl! xo – Jessika,

  4. Lauren says:

    Bahahaha YES. Exactly.

  5. Kelsey Massey says:

    I recently moved out and started college so I totally understand what you mean. My schedule is completely different and very hectic. Change and transition is exhausting. I’m quickly learning that I have to give up things or say no on occasion in order to rest or treasure the more important. 🙂

  6. I love reading about this season of your life – new changes, places, marriage and more. It’s fun to stay in the loop with what you’re up to and what you’re learning during this time! Keep it up, girl 🙂

  7. Yes! I can definitely relate to this. I always think if I just perfect my systems and my schedule, I can do everything. Um… that’s not exactly working for me. This is a great reminder to enjoy the moments and the relationships around us. Love it! 🙂

  8. […] May Wilson’s Sometimes “Balance” Means Throwing Your Routine Out The Window at The Lipstick […]

  9. Ali Smith says:

    That is totally allowed your first year of marriage, maybe longer. We get in that habit so easily of enjoying the slow morning together. There is something sweet about protecting the only quiet moments you’ll get.

  10. Haley Bohon says:

    Yes, yes, and yes. I would love for my mornings to look dreamy and pulled together, but I’m in the same phase of sleeping & snuggling as late as possible before we run out the door. I think it makes it feel more ‘allowed’ to me since it’s been summer…even though we’re not on vacation, sleeping in twenty extra minutes makes life feel a little more vacation-y 🙂

  11. Quinn Bennett says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    This may seem totally random, even a little strange. I’m not sure that you would even remember me… My name is Quinn Bennett (formerly Quinn Riley) and i met you at CU when your were dating a boy in my group of friends. When you started blogging and posting about the World Race i took to following your travels and posts regularly. I think you’re an inspiration and a wonderful writer. This post in-particular hit home for me. I couldn’t have written it better myself and it is an exact reflection of my current feelings. Anyway, just wanted to stop by and let you know that i love your work, story-telling, humor and happiness! And to let you know that you touch the lives of people that you may have never remembered meeting! Thanks for breaking up my long workday with your blog!

  12. […] more on routine: and balance […]

  13. Denise Ross says:

    Oh my goodness!! Loved this post. I’m so got to be In control of every minute and cram in as much as I can otherwise I feel like I’m letting myself down and not using my time wisely and efficiently enough. And when It doesn’t happen, I crash and feel like a failure. I’m trying to re programme my head that I don’t have to do it all at warp speed and I need to just sit and chill sometimes. After all it’s. It called balance for nothing.
    A constant life lesson for me this one.
    Enjoy your special time together

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