Let’s admit it – mornings aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Not everyone is what they would call a “morning person.”
Sometimes, even before the day actually begins, we may be thrown into reluctant wakefulness by our alarm clocks. This is tied with the idea that morning marks the start of a long, hectic day. Just thinking of all the workload ahead makes us feel exhausted. This initial stress affects us later during the day and we often feel all over the place as a result.
This mindset does not serve us in the longer term. Starting the day with a negative perspective, and thinking of the precious day ahead as drudgery takes a toll.
So, let’s turn things around by starting to think of mornings as our chance to prop us up for the rest of the day. See it as your diving board that swimmers balance on before plunging. Think of it as an artist’s moment of visualization before putting on the first shade of color on the empty canvas. Let your mornings be your canvas and the rest of your day as your journey towards creating a beautiful picture. How? By starting your day with a morning routine.
Our Morning Routines
The idea of morning routines can come off as intimidating for most people because waking up is already a difficult task. I need to run to beat the morning rush hour, so forget about adding time for a routine. Here’s the catch, though: morning routines do not need to be so complex. In fact, with as little as 15 minutes, we can already set ourselves up for the day ahead of us.
Our morning routines, no matter how short, can serve all four Aspects of Being – physical, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual. In our minds, we can start the day by reflecting on our goals, and intentions, or simply planning our day out. Our emotions can be set at the right frequency if we listen to something that inspires us, or practice affirmations, For our body, we can start with deep breaths, do some light stretching, or do basic yoga practices. Finally, we can begin our days with a prayer, a short meditation, or a couple of words written in our gratitude journal.
Morning routines DO NOT have to be extravagant or complex! As long as you’re consistent, it will give you a sense of confidence that you are accomplishing something, and experiencing it early in the day will set the tone of your day ahead.
Morning routines for Mind and Emotions
Try waking up mindfully.
In other words, refrain from setting up an alarm. Start your day with kindness to yourself by refusing to wake yourself up with heart palpitations with a rush of adrenaline. Sometimes ear-splitting alarm clocks can become quite disruptive if you have had an unrestful night. Sunrise is a natural alarm clock and it is a better alternative if you live in a latitude where morning light is predictable.
Write your To Do’s – Including Self-Care.
Do yourself a favor and free your mind from the weight of having to memorize all your tasks for the day by writing a to-do list. That way, you’ll have more energy to focus on one priority at a time. Once the list is ready, you can just look up your list for the next thing you’ll do as soon as you finish a task. Meanwhile, don’t forget to include self-care practices in your To-Do list because it replenishes your energy to tackle more challenges throughout the day!
Drink water first, before coffee.
Our bodies went through a whole night of fasting, so we would want them to be filled with hydrating fluids first thing in the morning. Also, being hydrated helps our cognitive function. Studies have shown that our minds have to work harder than usual when we’re dehydrated, so save yourself from early mental exhaustion by drinking a glass of water first.
Eat a healthy breakfast.
Choose foods that aid your intestinal microbiome (or gut, in lay terms), such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, etc. It is because the microorganisms in our guts release neurotransmitters that significantly affect our emotional and cognitive aspects of Being.
Set time for simple workouts.
This may include 15 to 20-minute walks or jogs around the park which would help you connect with nature – something that is proven to be mood-enhancing. Cardiovascular exercises are vitamin D-inducing activities that help boost moods. They improve blood circulation and boost the release of proteins and hormones necessary for neuron development.
Read your Mission Statement in the Mirror to Yourself.
A personal mission statement highlights your purpose and defines who you are as a person, whether at work or in life. It describes how you intend to move towards that goal and why it is essential to you. It reminds you of your long-term objectives and not get mired in just being busy.
It acts as a road map for where you want to go in life and prevents you from getting lost. Mission statements can start with a simple “I am” sentences. Put these on your bathroom mirror and read them to yourself every day to remind yourself.
Morning routines for the Body
Hit the cold showers.
It may seem counterintuitive at first, but nothing jolts you up awake like a cold shower hitting your body first thing in the morning. It increases circulation and will energize you like nothing else. When you finally warm the water up, the cozy feeling will envelop your body.
Get into a yogic “Child’s Pose”.
To do this, first, kneel and sit on your knees. Next, lean forward with your whole torso until your forehead touches the floor, but keep your buttocks on your heels. Now, slowly move your arms next to your legs, with your palms facing up. You can also fold your arms in front to rest your forehead on it. Then, slowly inhale and exhale for at least eight breaths. The child’s pose helps you stretch your spine, releasing any tension from your shoulders, hips, and hamstrings.
Do 5-rep exercises.
This could include five repetitions of push-ups, five lunges, five squats, etc. It does not have to be done in a rush. You can move slowly and thoughtfully because the primary purpose of this activity is just to get you moving. It helps you connect with your physical body and get ready to start the day,
Try having a glass of lemon water.
A glass of warm antioxidant-rich lemon water on an empty stomach prevents acid reflux, stimulates digestion, and removes waste from your body. The drink flushes impurities from your digestive tract, lowers bloating, and alleviates symptoms of indigestion. In addition, this drink contains many ascorbic acids, which help the body’s natural immune system, and vitamin C, which will help us stay off flu, cold, and infections. It’s a fantastic detox drink for glowing, healthy skin.
Every day, inhaling and exhaling a few deep breaths could drastically improve your mornings. Practicing deep breathing techniques for a few minutes each day can help you reduce stress, relax your mind and body, and sleep better. It enables you to lower your heart rate, thus allowing your body to absorb more oxygen and signals your brain to relax. It also helps to balance your hormones by reducing cortisol levels and releasing endorphins.
Morning routines for the Spirit
Start with a Prayer.
Even if you do not practice in any specific faith congregation, prayers can be immensely helpful. Such prayers do not have to be overtly religious, but starting your day with a prayer acknowledges the possible presence of specific forces that may greatly affect the world within you.
Prayer helps you become in tune with the Universe. For example, you can start your day with a prayer wherein you express gratitude for the smallest of the good things in your life. This will set you in a more appreciative mood throughout the day. If you’re feeling somewhat lost in life, a prayer from ACIM could be very helpful: “Where would you have me go? What would you have me do? What would you have me say, and to whom?”
Meditate for at least 5 minutes.
Each morning, five minutes of silence and stillness will allow your subconscious mind to slow down, ensuring that you enter each day with a clear understanding of your priorities before you actually plunge into the rhythm of the tasks. Morning meditation will help you gain clarity and maximize productivity. (Download a FREE Guided Meditation here.)
Read or Listen to something Inspirational.
Reading something that will inspire you as the first thing you do in the morning will help you set yourself in the right state of mind. You may also work on creating positive self-affirmations that will make you feel empowered as you venture on throughout your day. It doesn’t necessarily have to be structured in the form of paragraphs. Use phrases that resonate with you and reach the depths of your being.
Now that we have finally established the different ways in which you can build on your morning routine and its accompanying benefits, remember that we may not feel its effects in our lives right away. Routines are to be observed and you will have to stick to them to see results.
Over time, these results will undoubtedly be life-changing. And it’s not even the best thing about morning routines! It’s the fact that you can start creating one right away and put it into action the moment you wake up the following day.
Take a moment and contemplate this, what do need? Do you want to feel more energized or calm?
Do you wish to stay focused throughout the day, or perhaps you aim to maximize your work-day productivity? Do you want to experience your day with presence and awareness?
Whatever it is, design your own morning routine to rise above the daily grind. Increase your resilience to welcome whatever may come your way!
If you need help to develop and stick to a solid morning routine, consider hiring a life coach!
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Our balanced approach helps cultivate resilience to embrace all that life has to offer, and we explore the frontier between their comfort zone and their true potential.
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