Morning has always been my favourite time of the day. Every morning is an opportunity to reset, restart and slay the day ahead. About 2 years ago I made the promise to myself that I would do 30 minutes of yoga as soon as I wake up every single day. This simple yoga routine opened my eyes to the incredible power of having a good, healthy morning ritual. Waking up even only 20 minutes earlier can change everything, from your mindset, your productivity, your physical health, positivity and mental wellbeing. The world of morning rituals can be slightly hard to navigate with some swearing by wheatgrass shots and oil pulling, others by ice baths and colonics, all of which sound incredibly unattractive and definitely not what I want to be doing first thing in the morning. Here are 5 easy steps to creating your own morning ritual that works for you. Don’t worry, you don’t have to wake up at 4am to get it all done, it can be short and sweet, as long as your mind’s in it, the benefits will be major.
1. Drink Up
Naturally after an 8 or so hour sleep, your body will be dehydrated. Step 1 the second you open your eyes should always be to drink water (yes even before you check out your Instagram notifications). I always keep a big bottle of filtered water next to my bed, drink half of it before I fall asleep and the other half as soon as I wake up. If you wanna add a little spice to your life, have a tea, an infusion or freshly pressed lemon juice with hot water. Watch out with having coffee first thing when you get up, the caffeine might get you antsy. You wouldn’t want to start your day off being antsy with a stick up your bum when more often than not, your stress levels will only increase as the day goes on. I’m not condemning coffee or telling you not to have it in the morning (I know morning coffee is border line religious for some), but challenge yourself to waiting until after your morning ritual to down a cup of joe.
2. Move Your Body
Now that you’re rehydrated, it’s time to get moving. 100 BURPEES LET’S GO. No I’m just kidding, but think about this. Not only have you just spent the last 8 hours fasting, you’ve also spent them lying in the exact same position without moving. The most strenuous movement you did in the past half-day was switching from your side to your tummy, the realizing “ugh this isn’t as comfortable as I imagined” and switching back to your side. Obviously I’m aware of the concept of sleep, I know stillness is pretty key to the whole thing, but this just goes to say that you’re probs gonna be pretty stiff when you first wake up. Whether you decide to go through a little morning yoga flow, just a simple full body stretch, foam rolling or any other activity you like to practice, make sure you keep it slow and controlled to ease your body into it. Trust me when I say that even just a 5 minute stretch first thing in the morning will not only make you feel more energized and promote good circulation but can prevent injury and increase your flexibility.
3. Clear Your Mind
I know meditation isn’t easy for everyone, which is why I haven’t included it explicitly here. Step 3 to your morning routine should be to clear your mind. Meditation has been proven to relax your nervous system; slowing down your breath, heart-rate, blood pressure etc. and helping you be more focused. If meditation seems a little too “cooky” and you can’t really take yourself seriously enough to sit cross-legged index-to-thumb like some spiritual energy-giving goddess (don’t worry I get you…I have trouble with it myself sometimes), then don’t think of it as meditation. Simply take a deep breath, and try clear your mind entirely, even just for a few seconds. If you are open to the idea of meditation however, then definitely have a try. There are many guided mediations you can find on YouTube which make it easier when you’re beginning. Alternatively, practice some breath work as a way of clearing your mind and narrowing your focus.
4. Practice Gratitude
Step 4 to your new morning routine includes practicing gratitude. If you’re someone who tends to see things half-empty, then try this: get yourself to do a mental list every morning of 3 things your grateful for. I used to roll my eyes at this type of stuff, but a year or so ago I started a journal where I would force myself to write them down every single morning. It’s when you try find new things to be grateful for (once you’ve exhausted family, friends, donuts, peanut butter, the squat rack etc.) that the truth comes out. It’s when you start looking beyond the things you acknowledge daily, that you start to notice the little things in life you really appreciate. Another alternative is to practice saying positive affirmations. Pick 1 or 2 that resonate with you, or that you know you need to work on such as: “I am good enough”, “I am capable of anything” or “I am strong, determined and beautiful”. The idea is to repeat these over and over every morning in a loud confident voice. The power of repetition will kick-in, making you not only start believing these affirmations, but you’ll soon start acting on them as well.
5. Get Organized
Last but not lease; time to get ish done. A great technique my amazing best friend Stef told me, was to decide on 3 main to-do focuses daily. We used to message them to each other in order to keep each other accountable. If you have a bestie that might be down, agree to text each other your “3 daily priorities” every morning. Otherwise, write them in a notebook, your phone or just make a mental list (although nothing is as satisfying as crossing it out on a list when it’s done and dusted). Not only can this help with stress levels by avoiding the holy-crap-I-have-so-much-to-do feeling, but you can actually narrow down your focus and ensure max productivity. Especially after all that stretching, mind work and gratitude practice, you ain’t got no excuses now!
Do you guys have a morning ritual you swear by? Let me know in the comments below!