“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive; to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” ~ Marcus Aurelius
You don’t have to be a morning person to benefit from morning rituals. Most people hit snooze, roll out of bed and into some clothes while plunging into their day without a plan.
You, however, can choose to approach your day mindfully. Being mindful will increase the odds that you will feel good, be more productive and end up happier when it’s all over.
The way you start your day will determine how the rest of it will go. If you wake up late and are running around stressed out, trying to put together your lunch (and leaving a mess behind in the process), there’s a good chance the rest of your day will feel very hectic as well. Luckily, there are some simple practices you can start to implement into your morning routine right away to get you off to a good start and ensure you have a calm, yet productive day ahead. You may need to start waking up earlier each day to start out, depending on how much time you currently give yourself to get ready in the morning. Try giving yourself a bit of extra time so you don’t feel rushed and you can accomplish the following rituals with a sense of peace and calm. When your alarm goes off, get up right away and start your day – none of this ‘snooze’ business!
1. Don’t Check Your Phone
According to an IDC Research report, 63% of nearly 7,500 people surveyed said that they immediately reach for their phone upon waking each morning. That number jumps to 74% among 18-24 year olds. This tip isn’t something you should do, but rather something you shouldn’t do. Don’t reach for your phone first thing when you wake up. If you use it as an alarm, simply turn it off and leave it be. Your phone shouldn’t run your day; when you see emails that need to be answered and other tasks awaiting completion, you can’t help but think about those things instead of what you would like your day to look like overall. Keeping up with your social media feeds is also a colossal waste of time that is taking away from time that could be better spent doing positive things for yourself to ensure you have the best day possible.
One of the most important things you should do right when you wake up in the morning is drink some water. Over the course of the night your body becomes increasingly dehydrated, so it is a good idea to drink some water before doing or ingesting anything else. I like to keep about a litre of lemon water (the lemon adds some extra nutrients, alkalizes the body, and fires up your digestive juices) right on my nightstand so the first thing I do when I wake up is drink up and get rehydrated. Jennifer Aniston swears by her morning standard cup of hot water with a slice of lemon.
This may sound like a bit of a daunting task, but it’s actually incredibly beneficial for you to do and definitely worth your time. Try writing between 1-3 pages in a journal every single morning, right when you wake up. You may be thinking, I just woke up, what could I possibly have in my head to write down? You would be surprised! Take it from Gwyneth Paltrow, the key is to just write down anything and everything that comes to mind. Maybe it’s something that was bothering you the night before, such as worrying about approaching a situation with a coworker or an upcoming presentation — whatever it is, even if it is only, this is dumb I don’t want to do this, write it down. I have noticed that when you get everything down and out of your head first thing, it eliminates the repetitive thoughts that can cloud your head throughout the day and leaves more room for creative space.
Oprah Winfrey swears by the power of visualization. Take a few moments to visualize the day ahead. See yourself confidently going about your day and getting tasks done and communicating with people effectively. You can multi-task by doing this in the shower if you want.
5. Stretch/Light Exercise
Stretching is so good for your body, and, let’s face it, it feels good too! After a long slumber our bodies can certainly benefit from a good stretch; this is particularly great for people who don’t have time to work out in the morning before starting their day. Consider doing a simple to moderate stretching routine every morning to loosen up your joints and get your blood flowing. If you prefer, you can do some yoga instead for a bit more intensity and mindfulness.
6. Schedule Your Day
Some of the most successful people in the world, celebrities included, take 5 minutes to jot down everything they wish to accomplish during the day. You can have a separate section for work tasks and personal errands that need to be done. This way you can effectively see in front of you what needs to be done and then you can cross off each task as you accomplish it. And I believe we all know how great crossing things off a list feels!
7. Pump Up The Jams
Faith Hill gets ready for her daily workouts by Play some uplifting music. It boosts your mood and add a little dance to your step as you do your morning tasks. If you prefer a more calm start to the day, try playing some peaceful mantras to get you into that relaxed headspace.
8. Keep Things Clean
Take the extra time to make your bed, clean up your dishes, and wipe the counters. Put care into these acts, because when you give yourself enough time to do things mindfully and to the best of your ability, they won’t feel like as much of a chore, and you’ll start your day feeling as though you’ve already accomplished a great deal.
Most of us spend a decent amount of time every morning in front of the mirror when we are getting ready. Why not try smiling to yourself? It may feel phony and forced at first, but as the saying goes, smiles are contagious (even if you’re smiling to yourself). You may also want to repeat some positive affirmations to yourself. I like to say something along the lines of: I am in charge of how I feel and today I am choosing happiness. But you can customize this any way you like.
10. Nourish Yourself
Give your body some fuel. Eat something healthy to get your body going and ensure you have energy throughout the day. Consider having a smoothie to start, followed by some oatmeal or granola. Want to follow Jennifer Aniston’s breakfast routine? Jen usually has a shake, with some sort of pure protein, then bananas, blueberries, frozen cherries, stevia, a vegetable mix of dynamic greens that goes in there, macapowder, and a little cacao. There’s a collagen peptide that she’s been loving and has been quoted as saying “I’ve been seeing a difference! My nails are stronger and there’s a healthier… how do you explain it? A glow. It’s sort of that working from the inside-out thing.” Ifs she don’t have a shake, Jen has some toast and poached eggs with some avocado. Or millet cereal with almond milk and bananas—it’s really yummy, and you can get it hot for winter months.
There you have it! This may seem like a long list of things to accomplish first thing in the morning, but you can start by adding one each day until you have either added them all, or at least incorporated the ones that feel most beneficial. By ensuring you get this much needed time for yourself, you will be able to start your day feeling clear in your intentions and confident that you can tackle whatever comes your way.