You often hear stories about people who rise at the break of dawn, run five miles, drink power smoothies, head to a full day of work, and successfully tackle their entire to-do list. That seems like the best way to start the day -- for some. But for the rest of us, well, we're not all morning people. The start of our day is usually greeted by a screeching alarm, a child jumping on the bed, or in my case, a fluffy paw (or butt) to the face. The big question is:
Is it possible to bring more intention into our mornings, and in turn, our days?
The answer is, YES! Dedicating a bit more thought towards your waking routine can transform your entire day. Here are some things to try in order to start your day on a more positive, self-loving note.
While Still In Bed:
Okay! You're awake and before you know it, all your thoughts and to-do's of the day begin to flood your head. Before the begrudging urge to get going sets in, take a few moments to meditate. Clear your head, focus on your breathing and the rising and falling of your chest. Once I feel like I'm in tune with my breathing, I start to flex my muscles. I start at my feet and work up my body, tensing and releasing every muscle group. By the time I've flexed, tensed, and squeezed every bit of myself, I am warm, calm and ready to get out of bed.
Once you're on your feet stretch it out! This easily becomes a mindful activity by focusing all of your attention on what your body is doing in this moment. Feel your muscles stretch, feel how your body becomes more aware of the space it has. A good stretch every morning helps improve your circulation and can further increase your energy levels. In this moment just be sure to focus on you, your to-do list can wait! Since starting back to the gym, this has become a great ritual for me.
While Eating Breakfast:
Eating breakfast is super important! We read this all the time and I can feel the eye rolls now as I type this. I was never a big breakfast person but I've made it a point to take the time to nourish myself because it does have great benefits. This can also be another mindful activity! It's a great time to practice gratitude. Think of something, or several things if you can, that you are thankful for right now. It doesn't have to be anything profound. You could be thankful that you had a good night's sleep; that the avocado you want to put on your toast is perfectly ripe; that the sun is shining; or that you are in a position that you have food to eat. Let yourself soak in that gratitude! It will remind you of what is already great about your day and you will find yourself smiling!
As I'm getting dressed, packing my bag, and gathering up my notes and laptop is the time I think about what I want to accomplish during the day. Some days are more productive than others and some start out a lot smoother than others. Like anyone this can highly effect my productivity. So while I take the final steps to prepare for the day ahead, I try to ask myself what would feel like an achievement? What would feel like I accomplished enough? I'm not talking about ticking everything off your to-do list; sometimes thats just not possible. It may be something like taking the dogs on a quality walk; getting out on my own with my camera and shooting something (anything); or giving myself enough time to eat a proper lunch. Focus on how tackling that one achievement will make you feel because it really does effect your outlook on your day.
You may feel like these things will just add more time to your routine, taking more time away from things you could be tackling. There are many ways to begin each day with a little more mindful intention. Everyone has time constraints at the start of the day so try just of these practices to start and see what works out best for you.
Do you have any mantras or self-care practices that really help you begin your day with great intention? Please feel free to share them!