PUTTING THE GOOD IN GOOD MORNING
How often does your morning reflect an assembly line of tasks and routine? You hit the snooze, check the phone, shower, dress, grab a quick bite, and run out the door. The morning rituals occur with little thought or presence, like you are barely there. In fact, calling it a ritual might suggest a bit more mindfulness than there is. Where is the calm and intention? Believe me, I get it. I can go for days without being in the moment and I am sure you can too.
Life offers so much more than we enjoy. Having a good morning and a good start to your day could be something you are missing out on. If you desire this, there are some great solutions that involve a little bit of planning but can be incorporated into many of the things you do already. Let’s start at the very beginning, (clearly) a very good place to start,… what comes first, second and third? As nice as it would be to wake and look reflectively out the window at the sunrise while recounting blessings, it is no doubt more like, hammering at the snooze button before you drag your phone with you under the covers, scroll for a bit mindlessly and then rush through the rest. It’s like I was watching you isn’t it?! I am suggesting this, because my morning often looks like that. But sometimes, cue the birds singing, I can make a brighter, fresher and more mindful start happen. Here are my tricks…
The Alarm Clock:
I bought one. It might not be the perfect solution as the literally alarming BRRRRIIIINNNGGG in the morning can’t truly compete with the light piano rift gently nudging me awake from my husbands’ cell phone; he remains unconvinced. However, I will find that happy medium. I have lived in the Caribbean so I know the rooster is a bust as he goes off at all hours. Perhaps the clock radio?, I know, I know, power outages, but I will hunt for something more soothing and less time sucking. You see, the reason I/you should consider switching to another form of wake up is that the problem lies in the current solution… the smart phone. It doesn’t simply serve as an alarm clock, no matter what we tell ourselves. With its prime position bedside, it is too easy to check emails from the warmth of our beds and get pulled into a never-ending news cycle or infinite social media posts. This is not how I want to end or start my day. I want to start and end calmly without the blue light messing with my circadian rhythm. I want to start with something more mindful.
The Docking Station:
Okay, if you become armed and alarmed with another method of waking up, one still needs to stop the phone from now becoming step two from step one in the waking up process. Enter the docking station. A place to charge and stand while getting the updates we need. There is no problem with checking your phone and having a place to do that makes sense. Getting up and stepping away from the bed and heading to this designated place will encourage a quick check for those actually important and time sensitive work related or school bus specific texts and emails.
A new step to try after the alarm is morning pages. I have written about them before and even mentioned them in my Tedx Talk, they are worth repeating as they are awesome for all kinds of reasons. I am often recommending it to my clients for processing purposes but also for “the drop”. From the day and night before we have stuff, sub conscious and conscious, so this is a great way to get some of it out and clear our heads for the day. It comes from a book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and was used for the creative types to get out ideas, but therapists have found it to be excellent as a healthy daily practice. You simply write three pages when you wake, no more or no less. There is no wrong way to write, just write what comes up until you hit page three and then stop. I usually end up with a helpful to do list going on the side. A tip to make this work is to have the journal and pen handy and don’t pick the supersize journal, rather something more manageable for three pages.
The Seated Breakfast:
I can’t remember the last time that I sat for a leisurely breakfast that didn’t involve a holiday or a restaurant. It is hard to squeeze in the time to eat mindfully but it is important as studies show eating mindfully helps you eat less, calm down, can help you refrain from eating emotionally, and helps you eat when you are actually hungry. A lot of societies operate with this as a priority, so why are we so quick to throw a breakfast bar in our bag and run off?
Get Up Earlier:
And to do this last suggestion, another modification is needed as you now need to get up earlier. Ugh. I know. For me I can get ready quite quickly and I bank on this for a speedy departure when I pick my wake-up call time to start the mad dash. So closely related to the success of getting to bed earlier, incidentally, is adding a bit of good to good night, which might mean cutting out certain unhealthy patterns involved in those bedtime rituals, like binge watching Netflix, working into the wee hours, scrolling our phones, etc. But the benefits of an early morning are awesome. If you are a parent, this could mean some peaceful time before the morning rush to get some time on your own, if you live alone, it could be time to be intentional and focus on what you want for the day, it is also great for relationships, a time to really connect before the day takes over.
A Bit of Inspiration:
A motivational book, a great speaker, a podcast, a daily affirmation can all be great ways to kick start your day. This could be added to your commute or have a time dedicated for it all on its own since you are up earlier. Again, make sure it is handy for your best chance at adding it to your day. Also start with manageable goals, if you can give yourself five minutes to listen, or three pages to read, that might be more doable than planning a chapter, not making it happen and then throwing the whole plan out. Baby steps can help with success which will motivate a repeat.
All of these techniques can be richly added to with choosing a healthy breakfast, stretching, exercise, meditations, prayer, skin brushing, you name it. When you create the time by removing the unhealthy habits and getting up a little earlier, you can rise and truly shine.