How to Set Up a Thriving Morning Routine
Routines are important because they bring a foundation and structure into one’s life. A routine is a sequence of actions that are regularly followed in a fixed format. Each morning is the beginning of your daily building. Without a solid foundation, there is no strength, and whatever is built on top, will be uneasy. Being spontaneous and living playfully can still happen with routine, and when there is some sort of established foundation, playful behaviours can happen with more ease. We are here to thrive, to live boldly, to kick ass, and to be bad ass, and it all begins with a steady morning routine and how you prepare your canvas for your creative daily masterpiece. If the canvas is put up with frustration and hurry, the canvas’ daily creations will reflect a painted outcome of much the same.
A morning routine is unique to each person’s needs and likes, and can change over time. When establishing a routine, there are some important things to note: listen to your body and meet your needs, notice your thoughts, accomplish something, and know what is important to you.
The most important thing in a morning routine, or in life in general, is to listen to your body and meet your needs. People told me for years that I should get up early and have a solid breakfast and time to take in the morning. I usually laughed in those people’s faces at the thought of getting up earlier than I absolutely had to. I used to think my body was saying: "sleep in more," and it definitely was, but what it was really saying, was: "I love freedom." I realized that I can find this feeling of independence in other ways other than feeling frantically rushed every morning. Even as a child, mornings were always a challenge for me. I remember my neighbours watching each morning, as I ran out of the house, to my mom's car, where she was already waiting for me. My papers and books flew out of my bag as my shoes rested half on my feet, as I attempted to put some kind of food into my mouth. Most of my days would be spent desperately trying to catch up with my morning, until it was time for bed. Twenty years later, my morning routine was very similar to my days of youth, until I had a car accident. Now, most mornings, I wake up stiff and my body needs to be stretched out. Sometimes I can overlook this stiffness, but usually if I ignore this call for movement, my body will seize up later on in the day at the compacted pressure. Mornings are ideally a good starting point to care for my body and calm my nervous system, and to say, I AM IMPORTANT enough to meet my needs. Your body will let you know what it needs, but often times we are too rushed to listen. Although, if we don’t listen, our bodies get louder and louder. A morning body scan and some kind of movement is helpful in beginning the wake-up process. Even a rocking back and forth generates a gentle reminder it’s morning. So, what does your body say to you? Feed me? I am thirsty? Stretch those calves?!
Another thing about mornings is noticing your thoughts. I love the feeling of waking up, then sleeping in and spending the most possible time I can in bed. What I realized was being calm is more bad ass than anything and that waking up earlier helped me to have more freedom. The usual routine of sleeping in until the very last-minute only met my ego's needs of control and not my actual needs. It's was a false sense of control and sleeping in does not set me up for a solid morning because it usually induces negative thinking. I usually would wake up thinking "I am so tired" and I usually fight with the reality of getting up. I knew I have to get up, but I didn’t want to, which quickly turns into an energetic draining tug of war with a battle between acceptance and desire. It’s a push/pull and it doesn’t set me up to thrive, in fact, it sets me up for a mode of survival. My body thinks something is “wrong” and it goes into fight or flight mode pumping out stress and cortisol, which are not helpful to a healing body or really anybody. My thoughts are usual destructive, and I say things like: “I don’t want to go to work, I am so tired, why? No?!!!” I now wake up earlier, even if I am just lying in my bed, to calmly begin the wake-up process. I try to notice my thoughts and if I notice I am getting into a “I’m tired” spiral, I will bring it back to noticing something in the room or just acknowledging the negative thought and redirecting my thoughts by stating: “I am going to do my best today.” It’s essential to remember thoughts are not always real. "I am tired," is sometimes just a phrase, not necessarily a truth, but instead a repetitive saying that has been constructed to be a reality. Notice your thoughts, for your thoughts become things.
Every morning, complete something simple. My mom always told me to make my bed. She would usually do it for me if I didn’t, but either way, arriving home to a nicely made bed, is always such a pleasant thing. Even if clothing is all over the floor, or my house is messy, each day, no matter what, I make my bed. It sets me up to begin my day with a small success, which leads to more success throughout the day. Making your bed in the morning, is more than sheets going on top of a mattress. There is a deeper meaning and psychology behind this simple act of morning accomplishment, as this sets up the platform for more achievement in the day.
Having a morning routine, no matter the duration of how long you do the items, is significant. Knowing what is important for you to be successful is key. Some people find the following important: music, meditation, sports, stretching, exercise, nature, fresh air, walking a dog, playing with a pet, reading, writing, or setting up a schedule for the day. How to find out what is important to you in a morning routine is to imagine you had no obligations, and then visualize your perfect morning. What would your top 5+ things look like? Once you know your 5-10 things, decide how much time you need for them. Decide on the ideal time for each and then each morning, in the moment, negotiate the time depending on how you feel or what is happening in that day. The key here is that it doesn’t matter how long you do the things, as long as you do them. Five seconds of meditation is better than none, but if you can do more, do more. Sometimes you will have to “make” yourself do more. Knowing the balance between when you are being lazy and you can push yourself and when you are actually needing to listen to your body and slow down is essential.
If daily you only give five seconds to something or no time to something, maybe it is not as important as you say it is. Stay true to your word, stay true to what is important to you! Each morning will be different, but each morning doing the things you say are important to you, programs your mind to value your own importance and holds you accountable and demonstrates integrity.
To me, in the morning these things are important to me: moments of just lying in bed without doing anything, a morning meditation, positive thoughts and affirmations, reading a positive quote, taking vitamins, preparing and eating a meal, drinking a glass of water, stretching, showering, getting dressed and putting on make-up, setting a goal or intention. Sometimes when I have more time, I enjoy writing, doing a mini work out, playing music, and looking at a daily positive card, and choosing a crystal for the day.
Your morning routine is unique to you. To find your morning routine, listen to your body and meet your needs, notice your thoughts, do a simple act, and know what you need to set yourself up to thrive (usually mindfulness, movement, and food.) At first changes and building a routine, may not be easy, but once you begin to practice regularly, your morning routine will become a habit and something you no longer need to motivate or will yourself to do. A habit forms after 21 days. There are benefits to solid morning and night routines, especially ones where you still your mind and connect with your body. Connection to your mind, body and breath is essential to knowing oneself. We all are here to thrive and to find even just 10 minutes of morning and 10 minutes of night connection to ourselves.These moments provide new neurons firing in our brains and new possibilities. Remember, every day is a new day to start fresh and every moment provides an opportunity for growth and joy. So how will you set up your canvas this morning and how will you reflect on the daily masterpiece at night?
Get Your Joy On: Challenge 3 April 8 -14, 2018
Your Challenge this week of April 8 to April 15 is to choose five or more things that are important to you in a morning routine. Your second part of the challenge is to write your five or more things below or somewhere and how long you will need in the morning to do them. Your third part of the routine is to set your alarm to accommodate your time frame and for this week incorporate the things in your life that you state are important to you.
So how will you set up your canvas to thrive, to live boldly, to kick butt, to get your joy on in the morning?
Happy Joying XO ~ Love Cynth