Maximise your Morning Routine to Make it a Ritual
Mornings. The dawn of a new day. Each one a new beginning, the worries and regrets of yesterday softened and faded by sleep. All is fresh and new, a clean slate. It is on the edge of darkness and light when images from our dreams are remembered, when we are most attuned to the quieter voices within.
Spiritually, dawn is known as the most powerful period of the day, a time of huge energy and potential. Creatively, many find the mornings to be the most potent. “Think in the morning, act in the noon, read in the evening and sleep at night.”
Physically, many experts believe that the wee hours of the morning until around 10am is the body’s peak detoxification time and they recommend practices to aid in the elimination of toxins.
In practical terms, while we generally can’t control what goes on in the middle of the day once on the treadmill of work, we can usually control how we begin the day.
So, how should we spend our precious morning moments?
For me, I am a late riser. It has always been this way, for as long as I can remember. Getting chronic fatigue a few years ago didn’t exactly help the cause – I can be known to sleep 12 hours straight if I am left to my own devices – just ask my poor husband!
During the healing process, however, I have realised the importance of having a morning routine to start my day.
One of my friends regularly runs 10km before breakfast, while another cooks the evening meal while singing her favourite tunes. I started my current morning routine more out of necessity, than to make a real difference to my day.
Yet what I found was a morning ritual that I am now addicted too and I couldn’t imagine my life without.
In fact it is crucial to the outcome of my day.
My practise is in bed, as I’m usually too tired to get out of it! I pull up the blinds to let the morning sun in.
I start with a guided meditation practice or yoga nidra, sometimes I just follow my breath, which is a beautiful grounding practice. I then follow this by listing everything in my life that I’m grateful for in my journal. Sometimes worries about the day will pop up and I’ll journal about this too. It’s very therapeutic! I then end it by getting out of bed and doing a 5 minute energy routine with the gorgeous Donna Eden - this gives me an immediate and signifiant energy boost!
Sometimes I unroll my yoga mat, waking up my body with a half hour of stretches and ‘salute to the sun’s’. As the months get warmer and I get more energetic I incorporate a swim – the ocean always cleanses and revitalises me.
What works for people?
In doing some research into how successful people start their day I was interested to know that Barack Obama does a weights and cardio workout at 6.45 every morning and doesn’t get into the office until 9am.
Anna Wintour, the infamous editor-in-chief of Vogue, plays an hour of tennis and has her hair styled into her signature bob before turning up to work.
Self-help writer and motivational speaker Tony Robbins advises people to follow his “hour of power” routine of motivational sayings and visualisation, while the Dalai Lama, one of the busiest and happiest people on the planet, models well the benefits of a contemplative morning routine with his 3.30am wake-up, followed by three hours of meditation and religious rituals broken up by a light breakfast in between sittings.
Mahatma Gandhi, with a schedule not dissimilar, was famously quoted for saying, “I have so much to do today, I will need to take twice as long to meditate.”
Finding your routine
Google “morning routines” and you’ll be advised to do everything from tongue cleaning (I do that too sometimes!) to cleaning the house.
As one friend said, “If I did everything I wanted to do in the morning, it would take me all day.”
You need to find a morning routine that suits you, meeting your needs while also being flexible enough to adapt to your likely varied schedule – kids, unexpected meetings, etc.
Look at what ways might best nourish your mind, body and spirit, knowing you need to take care of all those aspects of yourself in order to set yourself up well for the day.
Have some quiet time. Just spend five or 10 minutes getting in touch with the awareness beyond your mind and body, getting in touch with the love and peace within you.
Including some movement is a good idea: yoga, stretching, walk, playing with the kids, swim at the beach.
The final, and most important, set an intention for the day ahead. I usually make two intentions: one which gives me clarity about what is my number-one priority to achieve in the day and also one about how I want to go about my day.
The process is just as important as the end goal. I find this incredibly powerful. It reminds me that I have a huge amount of choice over how I feel moment to moment.
If I notice my mind is not serving me, I just keep coming back to that intention.
My morning routine fills me with peace and relaxation that is crucial to sustain me through the day, and helps me make healthier choices and deal with problems at work or home more effectively.
What new morning ritual will you start today to get your Mojo in full flight, living out LOUD?