The most successful people in the world believe in morning rituals.
Even famous philosopher Aristotle was quoted as saying;
It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom. – Aristotle
As a non-morning person, developing a morning ritual is something I’ve grappled with for years but never quite grasped.
I’m a renowned sleeper, needing more than the normal person (I function best on 10 hours), and I’m not the best morning person, battling with fatigue and brain fog most days. Unlike Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Magazine, who has played an hour of tennis by 6.45 a.m. before heading off to have her hair styled into her signature bob and on to the office by 9 a.m, I’m like an old car – it takes me time to warm up in the morning. But once I do I’m off and motoring.
Life coach and self-help author Tony Robbins advocates literally jumping out of bed whilst yelling ‘yes yes yes’, and committing to an ‘hour of power’ every morning. Ariana Huffington, author, columnist, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, believes the key to a good morning begins with a good night’s sleep, morning meditation and NOT checking her smart phone first thing.
You may not have the luxury of getting your hair styled each day, have time to fit in a workout at the gym every morning, or even be an early morning person, but here are some ideas to help you develop and hone your morning ritual:
Embrace your bodies natural rhythm
Since leaving the corporate world I’ve started to accept that it’s okay to not be an early morning person and have chosen to embrace the natural rhythm of my body and not fighting against it. This tends to work well with what I do and my client base who are international encompassing many time zones.
Get a good nights sleep
How much sleep do you need to feel rested and ready to take on the day? 5, 7 or 10 hours? Everyone has different sleep requirements, so work out how many hours of sleep works best for you and design your sleep pattern accordingly. That includes sticking to a standard ‘bedtime’.
Make your bed
Treat your bedroom as a sacred space dedicated to rest and relaxation, not technology and work.
By keeping your room tidy and bed made you will thank yourself later when you are ready to go to bed for the evening and are met with a nicely made, welcoming bed. This also removes the temptation of falling back in an unmade bed throughout the day. This is a great tip for those who work at home.
Stretch Your Body
Treat your body with kindness by incorporating some stretching into your morning routine. Even if it’s just 10 minutes every morning, every bit helps. After all, your body has lain down in the same position for hours!
I highly recommend Hatha Yoga, a gentle form of yoga stretching ideal for the morning to ease out any kinks in your body and to wake up gently, and have recently discovered a love for You Tube yoga classes – there are an abundance of them!
Set Yourself an Intention for the Day
By setting your intention for the day, you are making a conscious decision about what you want to achieve that day and what your day will look like. It’s your choice. Will your day be average and stressful, or joyful and productive? Choose your mood – be it an attitude of gratitude or something else!
Incorporate intention-setting into your daily meditation session by meditating on your intent for the day or wrapping up your meditation session by setting your intention for the day ahead.
Breakfast is generally one of the first things to fall by the wayside in a busy schedule but it’s true what our parents used to say – breakfast IS the most important meal of the day.
Build some time into your day to sit down to slowly eat a healthy breakfast ( incorporating some protein if you can). And I stress the slow part. Spend time mindfully eating your breakfast, savouring what you are eating – the taste, smell and texture. This will help you to start the day relaxed and give your body time to digest.
If you don’t have the time for breakfast, get into the habit of preparing some portable breakfasts over the weekend for the week ahead. Hit up Pinterest and create a breakfast pin board to keep inspired! Frittata, quiche, bacon and egg cupcakes, bagged ingredients for protein shakes…go to town!
What’s your favourite healthy breakfast recipe for people on the go?
Drink Plenty of Water
Kick-start your digestion by drinking a lukewarm glass of water with the juice from half a lemon on rising. It works wonders – just be prepared to pee… a lot!
Start by setting aside 10 minutes each morning to sit in stillness, slowly extending to 20-40 minutes each day for optimum effect. Your body, mind and soul will thank you for it.
Choose what works best for you. There are so many ways to meditate, be it visualisation, mindfulness, transcendental, or prayer, and there are plenty tools including Podcasts, Apps, You Tube videos and music (and don’t forget silence!).
Your best bet is to find what you like as you don’t want to be irritated by annoying noises and voices whilst you are meditating. Believe me – it happens!
My favourite Apps: I rely solely on Podcasts these days but in my early days I found Meditation Oasis a great way to start meditating.
My favourite Courses: If you are in Perth, Western Australia, check out Mind and Movement for excellent Community Classes, Retreats and Mindfulness programs. They even run a program for teenagers.
This is one of my favourites 🙂
As Thich Nhat Hahn writes in The Miracle of Mindfulness:
Half-smile when you first wake up in the morning. Hang a branch, any other sign, or even the word “smile” on the ceiling or wall so that you see it right away when you open your eyes. This sign will serve as your reminder. Use these seconds before you get out of bed to take hold of your breath. Inhale and exhale three breaths gently while maintaining the half-smile. Follow your breaths. Thich Nhat Hahn
Set a Technology curfew
Laying in bed scrolling through your email accounts or Facebook feed to see what’s happened before going to sleep or before getting out of bed in the morning. We’ve all done it… more times than we’d like to admit.
Constantly being connected has become a real problem for many of us, including myself. To curb this problem I implemented a technology curfew on myself last year after finally admitting I was a social media addict and in need of an intervention. These days I try to go ‘unplugged’ between the hours of 8.00 p.m. and 7.30 a.m. (most days). I’ve also set my phone to turn itself to ‘do not disturb’ mode between those hours. That is, aside from emergency contacts.
In true Anna Wintour style, you could hit the courts for an early game of tennis, head out for a run, cycle, or workout at the gym, or partake in something so much more gentle such as hatha yoga, pilates or swimming. Needless to say, incorporating any form of movement into your morning ritual will help banish that brain fog and kick-start your body into action. If you have any meetings scheduled throughout the morning why not change it up and head outside for a walking meeting. You will be amazed at how focussed and productive they can be!
Do any of these morning rituals jump out at you?
Have you tried any yourself?
What has and hasn’t worked for you?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, tips and resources!
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