SWEET MINDFUL MORNINGS
I know I know, it's all about morning routines, you hear it everywhere. I almost want to rebel, do the opposite, and have really messy mornings. I have my moments :)
But how you start your day isn't just the latest lifestyle trend, it's been around for centuries. Even in Buddhism they say that discipline creates freedom. And in our world of nonstop distraction this is ever more important.
Creating mindful morning rituals can have a HUGE impact on your day and ultimately on your life.
As your day starts, it is so easy to get lost in the habit of checking messages, replying to email, checking the news... Not to mention the rabbit hole that social media provides.
Get your priorities right and reclaim your morning.
This is super important, especially if you’re a sensitive, creative or entrepreneurial soul. The day can easily slip through your fingers by doing a thousand small, insignificant actions, but what really matters hasn’t even been touched.
Been there, done that.
The antidote to this randomness is putting a little emphasis on your first hour of the day. Make it your most sacred hour, make it entirely yours, and make it a morning routine that eventually becomes a habit.
Treat your time as precious and not to be wasted on trivial things. Instead fill that hour with only the finest and most life-changing actions, like:
Even just a few minutes of anything truly valuable is enough.
On the days when I’m able to stick to my morning routine everything feels different. My head is clear and calm. I feel present, centred and grounded. I have so much more energy and I am focused and productive.
My First Hour
My first hour of the morning actually starts with my last hour before bed. It's pretty hard to stick to your morning resolutions when you wake up tired, grumpy and already restless.
So I try to turn my phone off by 8pm. Doesn’t always happen but that is my intention. I don’t eat late at night and I don’t watch TV in bed. I love reading, preferably fiction to shut down my annoyingly active brain.
My morning routine varies a little, especially since moving to Ibiza and living a rather unstructured life (which makes a structured morning even more important).
But certain rituals remain constant, whether I’m in London for Fashion Week or teaching yoga in Ibiza. And when things drift off into mindlessness, I refocus myself and choose a routine that works with my current situation.
I may add that I’ve always been a morning bird and tend to be awake before 6am, without alarm. I LOVE quiet morning energy and I’m excited to start my day, sometimes too excited...
I have a cup of tea in bed while writing my morning pages. It’s messy, unstructured writing - basically getting the shit out of my head. A gratitude journal sounds cliche but it does work.
Tea and journal finished I get myself out of bed and do a short vipassana meditation, calming my nervous system before the monkey mind kicks in and takes over. All this takes less than 30 minutes. Followed by yoga, if time allows.
These are my rituals, always. And then:
Healthy, uncomplicated and quick. Either a green smoothie, overnight oats or some eggs with veggies.
If I need to check messages this is the time I turn on my phone. But on days when I don’t have clients, I like to keep it off for as long as possible. This could be midday or even afternoon. And let me tell you it's blissful. If you can afford having your phone off in the morning I highly recommend doing so. You get so much more work done.
Creating your morning without madness
Of course you don’t have to choose the same morning rituals as me. The idea is to figure out what would be most beneficial for your life. Instead of rushing out of the house, maybe it’s worth setting your alarm 30 minutes earlier than usual…
Only choose one or two small things.
Don’t be too ambitious. If you try to do it all, your morning of mindfulness can easily turn into a morning of madness. Be flexible and playful in your approach, this is meant to make your life easier, not harder.
If you find that you can’t concentrate first thing in the morning, maybe use it for physical activity like yoga or running. If you don’t like physical activity, and you have never tried to meditate, maybe put on your headphones and listen to an audiobook or a meditation podcast (I love Tara Brach) while you prepare your breakfast. Or how about reading a few pages of a book with your morning coffee instead of TV and checking your phone. I know, what a luxury!
But this is your life, it’s your choice, make it beautiful.
The main questions to ask yourself: If you were given the gift of an extra hour in the morning, what would you spend it on? What would make the biggest difference in your day?
Who or what would you let enter your mind?
I'm sure most of us have a little extra time that we spend on unintentional and pointless activities. See what happens when you use that time in a much more conscious way, because your time is valuable. Every day matters.