I remember well the morning rituals of my days working in an office. Jump out of bed, no time for breakfast, shower & dress, and rush to work, often arriving flustered & grumpy, feelings which could linger for hours. At the time, it felt as though there was nothing I could do about it, as if my morning routine was running me.
Now I know better. Through the years, I’ve learned lots of little methods that help me prepare myself for a day in which I feel enthusiastically in control. Getting up a little earlier is required, but the gains outweigh the pain.
Working with Nature, both inside & outside us, is key. Remembering to connect with the foundational aspects of our being each morning supercharges us. I want to share with you some quick, easy ways to accomplish this.
- Meditate. Or if you’re not a meditator, take 2 or more minutes to sit or lie quietly and breathe deeply. Try this technique I learned & honed through yoga classes and books through the years: Begin your inhale by filling your belly, then expanding your ribs, and finally lifting your collar bones. Exhale, using your abdominal muscles to squeeze every last bit of air from your lower lungs. Breathing deeply in this manner works to keep lung function healthy, calm the nervous system, alkalize the blood, massage organs, and eliminate gunk from the lymphatic system.
- Close your eyes & visualize your day, as detailed as possible, going swimmingly. Visualization, a process I initially came to understand thanks to Shakti Gawain’s book Creative Visualization, is widely used by athletes and others looking to accomplish specific goals. As I wrote about in this beach post, imagining that we are performing a task “tricks” the brain into providing us benefits as though we were actually executing the task.
- Express gratitude: for this miracle within which you live, for your family, friends, and other blessings. An article from Greater Good Magazine shares, by making gratitude a habit, we can begin to change the emotional tone of our lives, creating more space for joy and connection with others. The article also offers great ideas for various gratitude practices.
- Observe natural beauty. Let the first thing you really focus your eyes on each morning be part of Nature’s beauty, like the sunrise, a flower, a tree outside your window, a bird, a stream, or a mountain. And wonder about its aspects: was the sunrise this lovely hours ago on the other side of the country? I wonder how far this bird flies each day?
- Take 5 minutes to stretch, and don’t forget the side body, lower back, hips, and forearms. Because stretching elongates fascia, it helps keep our physical bodies from becoming chronically stiff and painful. And due to fascia acting as our inner irrigation system, stretching helps with the deep hydration of cells, making us more energetic.
- Foam roll your back, shoulders, and any areas that feel tight or sore. For me, this takes the place of regular chiropractic visits. It’s like an addendum to stretching, and brings new blood (and therefore increased oxygen & other nutrients) to the areas that need it most. For specific foam rolling exercises that improve alignment, check out this article from SELF.
- Hydrate to eliminate. Before consuming anything else, drink enough room-temperature water (mineralized with fresh lemon, cucumber, or Himalayan salt) to empty your bowels. Unless you’re constipated, in which case you’ll need more, you’ll find it takes about a quart, according to Cate Stillman, author of Body Thrive: Uplevel Your Body & Your Life with 10 Habits from Ayurveda and Yoga. This practice allows you to enter your day fluid, light, and clear. You’ll experience more energy, clarity, and flexibility, she explains.
- Consume raw plant foods. When I’m not drinking a breakfast smoothie with fruits, veggies, nuts, & seeds, I enjoy fresh fruits and raw nuts or peanut butter (made only of crushed organic peanuts.) If you opt for oatmeal, toss plenty of fruit & nuts on top, and if you eat eggs, maybe add half an avocado & other fruit on the side. Raw foods, with their high nutrient load including enzymes, are the perfect way to rev your body’s engine for a busy day.
Of course, I’m not suggesting you try to incorporate all of these methods into your mornings. (Not at first, anyway!) Just try one or two to see if they help you feel clearer, livelier, and more in control.
Healthy early morning rituals can have far-reaching effects, starting with a positive sense that we’re at the helm of our actions, which sets the tone for the whole day. Taking time to connect with Nature on a daily basis can truly be a game changer.
The content of this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a qualified health care professional before acting on any information presented herein. Any statements about the possible health benefits of any subject discussed have not been evaluated by medical professionals or the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.