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Week 9: Leave Extra Time

Anyone who knows me will confirm that I'm always the person who's running a little late; nothing crazy, but always a few minutes here and there. My husband on the other hand is the exact opposite; he's the type of person who operates by the mantra "if you're on time you're late." As an example, just last week I needed to take our eldest son Spencer to his away soccer game because Matt had a soccer game of his own (in case you hadn't noticed, soccer's a big deal in our family). Several times leading up to game-day, Spencer had reminded me, based on the start time of the game, when we needed to leave. I can specifically remember him saying, “if you're on time you're late." Clearly Spencer takes after his father. Guess what? We were late for the game.

What does that have to do with self care you ask? For those that don't know, I live in Connecticut and my home office is in New York City. Meaning from door to door I have a 1 hour 45 minute commute assuming no major incidents along the way. The good news is that between travel and working from home, I'm not in the local office as much as I was when I first started commuting. The bad news is that when I'm in the office, the mornings are always filled with some level of stress and unnecessary angst.

Over the holiday period I made a commitment to myself that things would be different and what better way to start the New Year than with a little less stress and a little more planning. I've been listening to Wayne Dyer a lot over the break and one of his five core principles really struck me. He says, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Guess what? He's totally right. For me, the majority of the morning stress is controllable because it's source is the rush I'm always in to get from Point A to Point B; whether it be to grab a prime parking spot, catch the train, or make the first meeting; I'm always rushing and find myself with no wiggle room for anything unexpected. It's no good having things calculated down to the nanosecond when there's always something unexpected to leave you rushing around.

So, to remove the stress and change the way I approach my mornings, I decided to leave myself some extra time. I started by setting my alarm for 15 minutes earlier. I woke up and had a few extra minutes to stretch and think about the day, before jumping in the shower, walking the dog, and finally getting myself out the door. On the drive to the station, I can even recall letting a car merge ahead of me; I can assure you this has never happened before. I was the first one at the train station so I had my choice of seat and most importantly, I was experiencing no stress. The morning was calm and I felt set up to conquer the day ahead.

The moral of the story is while hitting the snooze button for a few minutes of extra sleep may seem like the best option, the benefit those extra fifteen minutes gave me from a pure mindset perspective significantly outweighed the extra Zs. Moving forward, regardless of where I'm going or what I'm doing, I'm going to be switching to the dark side and aiming to be early.

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