Mindful Morning Routine
A year from now, everything you are stressing about won't even matter !
it's 7:00 am and you are jolted awake by a blaring alarm! You roll over to look at the clock and think "I'll just hit snooze and catch a few more minutes sleep". Your heart is pounding, your respirations are slightly quickened...you settle back into your comfy bed and try to calm your panicked reaction to the alarm, and drift off to sleep. Ten minutes later - you repeat the process.
Suddenly it is 7:40 and you are REALLY running behind now. You dive out of bed, slip on the bedroom mat while attempting to grab your smart phone off the charger. You scurry to the bathroom while you shout at the kids "it's time to get up!" and try to check any messages you received over night. After quickly scanning your phone - A hasty shower ensues... complete with soap in your eyes and realizing you have no clean towels to dry off. The hand towel will have to do! ( You mentally make a list of the chores you need to get done this evening ).
You check on the kids... and dump cereal and milk in some bowls while shouting "come and get it!". You grab a coffee and race back to the bathroom to dry your hair and throw some makeup on. A quick perusal of your closet reminds you yet again - you need to do some laundry. You grab a pair of pants from the back of the closet and hastily squeeze into them only to find they won't do up! When did I gain weight? You toss the pants on the floor and grab a pair from the top of the laundry pile -and - after performing the sniff test, decide these will do for another day of wear!
You can hear the kids arguing and a glance at the clock reminds you that you are once again running behind and you still have to feed the dog and make school lunches ! As you race from your bedroom, attempting to button your blouse and tuck it in...you trip over your son's leggo tub he left in the hallway and step on what feels like a million sharp stabbing pieces that catapulted out of the tub when you tripped. OMG I'm going to kill that kid! NO what am I thinking? just BREATHE!
You ask the kids to feed the dog then brush their teeth - all while you make three lunches in record time! You're only running five minutes late at this point...no big deal! You can do this!
You scurry everyone out to the car to drop off at school and race through traffic to get to work, all the while hoping your Boss doesn't notice you are late once again!
STRESS! Its a killer...it builds up in layers, day after day...or even minute by minute. This morning routine does nothing to set a good intention for the day. In fact it just is pure chaos and the long-term affects can be chronic inflammation leading to illness ! You cannot be an effective parent, partner, employee or healthy individual if you're constantly under stress.
Changing up your morning routine can set an entirely different tone for the day and provide you with a good foundation so that when things get hectic, or things go wrong...you are better able to handle them effectively without causing undue stress and aggravation to yourself .
How could we re write that chaotic morning ?
Its 6:45 am and you are gently awakened by soft relaxing music. You roll over and stretch and feel well rested. You made sure you got to bed at a decent hour that allowed for you to achieve 8 hours of sleep! You gently sit up on the side of the bed.
The house is quiet...you tip toe to your favorite space in the house and sit down in a comfortable position. You spend the next few minutes in silence - deep breathing , and possibly even meditating / praying. You open your eyes and look over to a list of affirmations you created. You say your affirmations out loud for one minute. After this - you spend a minute or two visualizing a positive productive day, or you achieving your goals.
Next you roll out your yoga mat and commence some relaxing stretches to get the blood flowing. Or perhaps you run on the spot or do some jumping jacks. You spend whatever time allows - even if its only a minute or two - or maybe you're able to get in a full 20-30 minute workout!
Once you are finished your movement practice - you grab the awesome motivational book you are reading and absorb a few pages...or perhaps today you have time to read a whole chapter. After, you open your journal and write whatever comes across your mind in whatever free time you have left.
You are calm and centered - you've filled your cup first with activities and exercises that promote healing, stress management and nourish and connect with your soul.
You wake the kids after putting out their breakfast and go hop in the shower. You think about all you are thankful for while you prepare for the day. The lunches were prepped last night - you set your clothes out for the day just before bed, and you got up with time to spare to manage your morning routine right on schedule!
You are grounded, relaxed, and enlightened. You are ready to tackle whatever the day throws at you!
Doesn't that sound better than the first version?
Now I am sure you are thinking ..."I don't have time for that!" ...do you have 6 minutes ? Do you think you could wake up just 6 minutes earlier - forgo the snooze button and commit to yourself and your wellbeing to dedicate a mere 6 minutes to starting the day in a mindful way? Each of the 6 activities can be divided into 1 minute intervals until you have developed a new habit and find it easier to lengthen the rituals.
Author Hal Elrod wrote the book The Miracle Morning. In it he lays out the framework for starting your day in such a way that improves your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.
He came up with the acronym SAVERS which stands for the following :
Start your day in silence, quieting your mind and becoming centered and focused by just sitting in silence, focusing on a word, meditation or prayer. Avoid picking up your phone and instead focus on just being still.
affirmations are positive things you tell yourself to help you overcome your limiting beliefs, encouraging yourself to be happy and healthy and to go after your goals. Some affirmations could be "I am a blessed with talents that I love", 'I am overflowing with achievement", "I face every challenge with a smile", "I believe in my abilities" etc.
Use this time to visualize you doing exactly what you need to do to achieve your goals and then visualize just how you will feel once you have achieved them. Walk yourself through every step and see yourself succeeding.
Whether it is simple stretching to a minute of jumping jacks or a full on weight lifting routine...just getting your body moving to loosen things up and promote blood flow to the brain is key! Regardless of your physical abilities - there is always SOMETHING you can do - even if it s just some simple stretches from your chair.
Spend some time reading a few pages from books that portray positive thinking and accomplishments, or motivational material. Perhaps even reading about people doing the very thing you aspire to do. Fill your brain with knowledge - because knowledge is power!
Get in touch with yourself through the power of writing / journaling. Writing is an excellent way to process your thoughts and reflect on your life and things that consume your thoughts.
Think about your daily habits. How does your day start? Are you frazzled and stressed? Or are you calm and centered? Where can you find time to devote to improving yourself and starting your day gently, with positivity and nourishment for the soul?
I challenge you to commit to practicing these 6 daily rituals and see how your life will improve !