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Why making your bed makes your day better?

When I was young, I was taught to make my bed every single day.

This was a while ago (yes, we had electricity then!) when instead of a doona (or duvet if you’re from the UK) we had sheets & blankets, so there was an element of complexity for an 8-year-old child to wrestle with. Smoothing down the bottom sheet, then pulling the top sheet and blanket up, then folding the sheet over and straightening the edges. I had one pillow and I pummelled it so it was plumped up and ready for the next night’s use. To top it all off I had a bed cover that was pulled over the whole lot to finish the look – not sure why that was there, except it was the height of fashion. It was a bugger to put on, but I used to enjoy the neatness of it, and it also hid my not so neat folds. I can’t say I enjoyed this job, but it was done every morning before I got on with the rest of my day.

Over the years, the job of making my bed has ceased to be of importance and honestly, the only time it ever got done was when there were visitors coming over. On a regular morning, I’d pull back the covers, and leave them there all day, until at night when I’d jump into bed, grab the covers, pull them over my head and fall asleep. No smooth sheets or neat edges. No plumping of pillows.  I just got used to a messy bed.

You see it wasn’t important to me to make my bed.

Every night I’d jump into bed and the bottom sheet was creased and rumpled up under my feet. My pillow would be squashed flat, and often the top covers would be sliding slightly off the bed. I have become used to that, and not linked it to the simple fact that by NOT doing that small task in the morning, I’m going to have a messy bed.

That was until recently, and we are back in lockdown here in Sydney, with less and less control over so much of my life. And like so many people, my home has become more and more important to me.

I’ve realised that these days there are so many things in my life that I can’t control, but what I CAN control is making my bed and going through that simple routine every single morning.

Navy Seal Admiral McRaven gives a great speech (you can look it up on YouTube) where he talks about this very thing; if you make your bed in the morning, it gives you a small sense of pride that you’ve completed a task, and you will be more willing to do another task, and then another, until by the end of the day you’ve completed many many tasks. And it stands to reason that if you can do the small things right, then you’ll go on to do the big things; right?

For that unmade bed that I’ve literally turned a blind eye to for years is now a source of pleasure as I smooth down the bottom sheet, pull up the top sheet, shake out the doona and plump up the pillows.

Only THEN do I leave the room satisfied that ONE THING is done right for the day, and I’m ready to move on to the next thing. 😊

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