A Case For The Morning Ritual

GOOD MORNING, ANGEL(S)

Let’s talk morning rituals. More so, why their presence can add such a value to your day.

I’m going to assume that many here don’t have a morning routine that sets you up for the best possible day ever (potentially exaggerated, but also true). It’s more likely that there’s a lot of hitting the snooze button happening, probably some mindless Instagram and/or Facebook scrolling in bed and little to no movement or creativity.

Amiright, or what? The morning routine is so easy to breeze through or even just forget about. Many often go for the instant gratification route as much sleep as possible, as much scrolling as possible and then needing to move as fast as possible to head out the door on time.  Oooorrrr maybe you’ve got your morning ritual down and don’t even need to be reading this post.

But for the rest of you, creating a morning routine will set you up (in a good way) for the rest of your day. When we allow ourselves a calm space and relaxed start to our day, our upcoming hours will reflect that and we’ll be able to continue our day with a focused mindfulness. If, however, we wake up and immediately begin rushing and stressing, our day will likely include heightened anxious feelings, difficulty focusing and a subconscious irritation or feeling of hastiness.

By waking up early enough, and with intention, our mornings can become *our* time & *our* space to mindfully connect with the day and to our self. A structured morning practice can include the following benefits: improvement in mood, increased energy throughout the day, enhanced digestion, increased productivity, a more focused and centered mind, heightened awareness and ability to focus, less mental fog or heaviness, lowered stress levels.

Sooo… what goes into this supposed morning ritual?

First, take a second or two and notice what’s it like for you in those first few minutes when you open your eyes? What about in those first hours (or maybe minutes?) before you step out the door? Are you rushing or are you easing into your day? Do you feel like you’re racing against the clock or do you have enough time to do all that you need to do?

There’s several suggested components that I work with my clients on intertwining into their morning and that I work on practicing myself. Much of what’s listed below, in some sort of intentional order,  are overarching recommendations as well as detailed suggestions that fall under the general guidelines .

Essentially, you can view the different ideas below as menu items to building your own type of morning ritual.

The Morning Menu, if you will:

Wake up with natural sunshine  when we allow natural light into our bedrooms as we wake up, our internal clock does the work for us and getting up becomes a bit easier and…more natural.

Set an intention for the day and/or recognize something you’re grateful for — While you’re still lying in bed, but not snoozing(!), set an intention for your morning or your day. You can also practice feeling and expressing gratitude.

Turn on some music — find a playlist that makes you feel good to start your day to and allow it to play in the background of your morning.

Drink warm water — drinking warm water fires up our digestion and gets our bodies ready for a day of moving and eating. Bonus points if you add a squeeze of lemon to help with cleansing.

Practice Meditating and/or deep breathing — Find a simple meditation practice or deep breathing exercise to do for 3 – 10 minutes.

Move your body — whether you choose to do some stretching, yoga, dancing around, or taking a quick walk around your neighborhood…let your body unwind and warm up a little. Especially if you find yourself sitting throughout most of your day.

Put onto paper whatever is on your mind —  We can’t always control how we wake up so having a space to unload whatever we wake up with can be extra cleansing. Through writing, journaling, or drawing we can tap into parts of us that aren’t given much space during the rest of the day. Also, it is often in the morning that we are at our creative peaks. Even if you don’t have anything in particular on your mind, it can be uber useful to just start writing and seeing what comes out.

If you’re hungry, eat a fresh, whole breakfast — this is where listening to your body comes into play. While eating breakfast calmly and prior to the business of the day is recommended, some people naturally aren’t hungry in the morning. So, listen to your body. If you want to eat, do that. If you’re not quite ready to eat, don’t but try to have a tentative idea of where and what your first meal will be.

Take some (more) time for yourself — Create the space to relax and do those miscellaneous things you enjoy to do:  drink coffee or tea (from your favorite mug!), check your Insta feed, read a book, listen to podcasts, check your personal (i.e. non-work) emails.  Doing these actions within an intentional time frame can allow you to enjoy them that much more rather than mindlessly going through the actions.

Get ready, peacefully — with music, or a podcast, still playing in the background, get yourself ready for your day. Brush your teeth, wash your face, choose what you want to wear and practice doing it mindfully.

As I mentioned above, these are general guidelines that can help connect you to your day and to yourself. Take what works and leave the rest. Although, I do recommend trying to incorporate some of the suggestions that sound atypical to you, even for just a couple of days, because…why not?

And, if you’re not quite ready to make any of these changes just yet, just practice noticing. Take the time to pay attention to how you start your days. What do you wake up to? How is the space around you? In what way does the energy, vibe, or overall feeling of your bedroom contribute to the rest of your day? Notice if you tend to rush through your mornings or allow them to unfold peacefully. When you pay attention to these rituals, or lack thereof, maybe a shift will come about naturally.

If you do have a morning ritual in place already, I’d love to hear about it. What do you look forward to when you wake up? What can you not start your day without doing?

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