I'm not the first person to tell you that making your bed will lead to positive outcomes in your life. Your mother was probably the first to do that. I'm also not the first coach to recommend it to a client.
We all know the benefits. You start the day with one accomplishment achieved. You have control over one small area of your life. You devote at least one part of your day to your own needs. Those are the reasons that I started making my bed on a daily basis. However, the reason I continue to do it is based on what I've learned about myself through the simple completion of this daily task.
I was never opposed to making my bed. I just had a "take it or leave it" attitude about it. No one comes upstairs to my bedroom. Guests don't know if my bed is made or isn't. My husband never cared either way. My kids certainly didn't. It just never passed my priority test of keeping children alive, shuttling everyone where they need to go, having life balance, building a career, sustaining a marriage, or the other billion things we all do everyday to just keep afloat. A messy bed was so not on my grid.
I started it as an experiment. I read in every life-coaching, self-help column, that it would change something, so I tried it out. With a coach's approach, I made sure to observe (without judgement) what I was noticing about myself in my new post-bed making life. I took note every morning when I left the room to go downstairs and every night when I opened the covers and crawled inside. Here's what I discovered:
I need a breath to bookend my day. My days are routine in some ways, and totally unpredictable in others. Emotionally, I go up and down a roller coaster everyday. Trying to build my own business, I often feel isolated and lonely. Spending long periods with my young children, I can absorb their volatile energy or feel overwhelmed by their needs. I noticed that right after making my bed, I always take a quick moment to notice how lovely it is and I take a breath. Every time. A deep breath of accomplishment. That breath sets the tone for my day. Open. Optimistic. The feeling may dissolve the minute I leave the room, but at least it happened. At the end of the day, worn out and not wanting any more piled into my to-do box, having a warm, organized bed waiting for me is an incredible feeling of relief. I breathe. I exhale into the sheets and feel complete with my day. There is nothing left for me to do today. What a gift.
I need the connection it offers with my husband. As a mom, I've reached that place where I actively try to balance the needs of my children with my own needs. I feel good that in the last couple years I've started to prioritize myself- focusing on my health, exercise, friendships. My husband sometimes gets lost in the shuffle, and with such differing work days, it's sometimes hard to find common ground beyond the children. One thing we do share is that we always go to bed at the same time. It's a habit that started before we were married. Neither of us likes to go to bed without the other. We've now developed a shared moment, every night, of re-discovering our perfectly made bed. It's like we always forget about it and when we come upstairs we share a moment of, "awesome! The beds made! It looks so cozy." It's become a sweet moment that we share every night. A way to connect over something so simple, so positive, and so personal to us.
I need beauty to feel calm. This is a strange realization for me. I'm not an artist. I'm not someone who spent a lot of time thinking about concepts like beauty and harmony. However, I notice more and more that I have trouble focusing if there is clutter nearby. When I prepare myself for a coaching call or an online seminar, I have to set up a clean corner, with fresh flowers and sunlight. It calms me. My go-to place these days for a calm sanctuary is in my room, near my made bed.
Whether it's making your bed, or trying out another change to your routine, I encourage you to see it as an opportunity to learn more about yourself. What do your reactions and emotions about the change reveal to you about your own needs, goals or beliefs? Take out the judgement and just notice. Best of luck! Now, back to bed for me. :)