I can’t stress enough how important it is to start your morning off with a little mindfulness and time dedicated to yourself. Even if this means just five minutes, I promise you won’t regret it! Keep reading if you want quick & easy ways to start your morning.
THE BEST WAY TO START YOUR DAY
The way we wake up and start our morning really sets the tone for how we feel through out the rest of the day. I think a lot of people can feel overwhelmed by the term ‘morning routine’ thinking this means they need to wake up an extra hour earlier than they already do.
Thinking they must fit it all in; the yoga, running, meditating, everything else social media has forced us to believe is a normal ‘morning routine’. To be quite honest, most of the people preaching these ‘routines’ work from home and have the flexible schedule to spend two hours every morning on self care.
For those that have a non-negotiable schedule and must leave the house by 8 am - or earlier - I’m here to tell you that time means NOTHING. To me, a morning routine is all about mindset.
Here are a few quick and easy practices even the busiest mom can manage to do. Make it a priority and begin your day mindfully.
Enjoy your morning tea or coffee in silence
How many of us rely on our morning coffee or tea to get us going in the morning? I know I can’t start my day without at least one cup of green tea. Now, how many of us are doing this while we’re running out the door or driving in the car? Why not enjoy something that is already a routine for us? Something we’re already used to doing every morning, can be transformed into doing it mindfully.
Instead of running out the door, coffee cup in hand, get up a few MINUTES earlier and brew your cup. Find a quiet corner in the house or maybe outside in the sunshine. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and simply enjoy your morning drink without any distractions. This is something so simple that doesn’t really require any extra time. If it’s something you’re already used to doing, you might as well make it a ritual so you can start your day with a calm mind. Give it a try and see the difference from when you're frantically running into work with your coffee cup!
Do a short yoga stretch
It doesn’t have to be an extensive hour long practice and you don’t have to go to your local studio to sweat it out at the hot yoga class. You can reap the benefits by doing just a few poses on your own. Pick 3-5 of your favorite poses and spend a minute on each. This will not take up too much time and again will bring you a new found sense of stillness in the morning. Your body will feel much more awake and ready to take on the day, and your mind will be relaxed and at ease. Watch as you float throughout the day without such irritability as you used to once you begin just 5 minutes of yoga a day.
Here are a few of my favorite simple morning stretches:
cat / cow pose
standing forward fold
downward facing dog
Read a poem
When I don’t have time (read - don’t have the motivation) to do a yoga practice, walk, meditate or any of my other favorite things to do in the morning, I undoubtedly will read a poem. I love this morning ritual that really takes little effort and no time out of your day. Maybe 30 seconds. Some of the bests are Rumi or Hafiz - Sufi poets that discuss a lot about love, the true self, and our essence. I have a great book called ‘365 days of Rumi’ that makes it just perfect to read every morning. They are such powerful and beautiful words that will give you something to contemplate for the day. Something other than the news or gossip you’re reading on Facebook :)
Here's the link for the Rumi book I have.
Write down 3 things you are grateful for
Another easy one that doesn’t take too much time. Can you get where I’m going? :) Write out a few things that you are grateful for every morning. I have a sticky note right on the main screen of my laptop numbered 1-3 that I will fill in every morning. Write the very first thing that pops into your head. A lot of days I repeat myself with common things I am grateful for every single day. Like my healthy body, food on the table, a cozy bed to wake up in, a roof over my head, my family, etc.
Some days it can be more specific like; the amazing day I had with my boyfriend yesterday, this beautiful lake where I live, the great yoga practice I had yesterday. And some days I even write it out in the form of manifestations - things I have not yet exactly accomplished but imagine they are real. Like being thankful for running my own successful business doing what I love, for finally having a home to call mine, for being confident enough to always speak my truth, and for loving myself unconditionally, just to name a few.
With each one, after I write it out I close my eyes and really feel into it. Feeling the gratitude and happiness spread throughout my whole body until a smile spreads across my lips. Making every part of my manifestations real life and showing how thankful I am for all that I have. It will give you a new perspective on the small things that piss you off through the day.
Practice a breathing technique
How about some breathing techniques? This one may be a little bit harder for those that are inexperienced, but I promise it’s easy to learn. And again; 3-5 minutes of it will do magic! The practice of pranayama has an incredible amount of benefits including relieving anxiety, depression, asthma, headaches and high blood pressure. It provides a deep sense of relaxation for the body and mind. Depending on what type of pranayama you do, you can also try some breathing that will create heat and energize your whole body. Some of my favorites to do in the morning are:
“Breath of fire” or literally “Skull shining”
This is a cleansing breath that relieves congestion or bloating. It is great for mornings when you’re feeling sluggish and need an extra boost. Avoid this technique if you are pregnant or have high blood pressure. Also make sure you never do it on a full stomach.
Find step by step instructions here.
This is a calming and soothing breath that can be done at any time of the day. Especially good for helping with symptoms of anxiety.
Find step by step instructions here.
This is the most simple breathing pattern that you can do at any time and any place. It’s often done during a yoga practice and can really help to expand the lungs and calm the mind. Because it requires a lot of focus, you’ll find your thoughts just slipping away when your practicing Ujjayi breath.
Find instructions here.
Almost all of these practices can also be done at work, too! When you’re first getting in, sit down at your desk and take the first five minutes to clear your mind and start your day with a positive note. They’re short, they’re easy and everyone can do it. Pick your favorite one, whatever resonates mostly with you and give it a try. Don’t set yourself too many rules or restrictions, just go with the flow. And like I said - focus on your MINDSET not on the physical practice. Whatever you do, you want to do it slowly, with intention and mindfulness. This in itself will be a beautiful ritual for you and will transform the way you’re able to go about your day.