Mornings are undeniably the most challenging time of the day for many. There is inevitably the inner battle that begins when the alarm goes off - why ever leave that warm, comfortable, safe place called bed? Yet, studies have proven that the most productive, centered, and successful people are early to rise and make the most of this time by implementing some self-care, both mentally and physically.
Having a morning routine can help establish your mindset for the day by grounding and centering you so you are ready for whatever the day brings. It can also help tremendously in beating the morning blues - those days you wake up feeling melancholy, which can be especially common when recovering a pregnancy loss or when you’re battling fertility issues.
The secrets to maintaining a morning routine are:
- Make the decision to implement and stick to a morning routine that works for you. Commit.
- Keep it simple.
- Above all else - Eliminate Thinking.
Finding a series of activities that meet your needs and doing them on autopilot daily is the best way to ensure that you will stick to the routine and get the most out of it.
First, decide how you want to feel during and after your morning routine. Do you need to ease into your day in a comforting and nourishing way? Or do you jump out of bed with energy, ready to go? The idea is to start you off in the best way possible so you are armed and ready for whatever the day brings.
When I created my morning routine, my primary goal was to fit in a daily meditation practice. My secondary goal was to incorporate a warm lemon water ritual to support my digestion, balance my pH, and give me a daily vitamin C boost.
Years ago, after much trial and error, I established that I need to get my exercise done in the morning. Power yoga is my ideal form of regular physical activity. I had a loose routine - wake up, drink water, put on clothes, go to class. Shower, dress, commute. Not bad, but rushed and lacking a couple of things I knew deep down I needed.
When I made the decision to implement a morning routine that involved as little thinking as possible,, I broke it down to six activities I felt would meet my personal needs.
After the alarm, just about every morning goes like this:
Hydrate: I drink the glass of water I put at my bedside each night. Our bodies dehydrate overnight and it’s important to get hydration in right way.
Make my bed: Because I feel calmer when things are visually in their place and it gets my body moving around.
Warm water with lemon: I go downstairs, heat up water + a few shakes of turmeric on the stove, and squeeze half of a lemon into a mug. (I add the turmeric because it is an incredible anti-inflammatory tool as well as an immune booster.)
Smoothie: While I wait for the water to heat, I make my husband and I a smoothie. This involves me sleepily throwing a combination of handfuls of leafy greens, frozen fruit, and almond milk in a blender, pushing the “liquify” button, and pouring the result into travel cups that go in the refrigerator for us to grab & go on our way. Sometimes they are great. Sometimes they taste weird. Either way, they are mood boosting coffee alternatives and are a great way to get in servings of vegetables and fruit on the go for fiber and nutrients. Fruit is also easiest to digest on an empty stomach.
Meditate: My lemon water and I go back upstairs and I do a 5 - 10 minute meditation, usually using one of the many guided meditation apps available, such as Insight Timer, Calm, Simple Habit, Headspace, or the website Fragrantheart.com.
Move: Go to a yoga or barre class or practice yoga at home.
This may seem like a lot but the first five activities require only 25 or so minutes more added to my morning. I do not think much as I do any of it, in fact, I couldn’t if I wanted to because my brain doesn’t start working until about an hour and a half after I wake up.
Sleep is critical but 25 minutes of snoozing the alarm has never resulted in the calmness I feel when I stick to the routine.
The few things I do the night before are:
- Occasionally think about the smoothie I want to make or look up recipes to get ideas.
- Always, always, bring that glass of water to bed with me so I can hydrate upon waking up.
- Sign up for the yoga or barre class to commit myself to going.