How we begin our day sets the tone for the rest of our day. How do you want to feel today?
I am sure that you are all too familiar with how chaotic our day can feel when our mornings start in a frenzy. The typical scenario being something like repeatedly pressing snooze on the alarm, getting up at the very last minute, rushing to get ready, skipping breakfast and then flying out the door. You’ve done this, I know. Me too!
A major theme in the past few months for many of my clients has been around how they utilise their time. Many of them feel like they never get anything done or like they never have “enough” time. I believe that much of the overwhelm we feel is exacerbated by the barrage of thoughts and mental activity we have going on during the day. If we can begin to calm the noise in our head, we can begin to experience life for how it really is and get through our busy days with a lot more ease and flow.
One of the main focuses for my clients this month has then been around creating healthy habits for their morning so that they can set themselves up for to have a successful day. Each persons definition of successful varies from being better able to emotionally and mentally handle the ups and downs of a busy day to taking tanglible steps forward on the changes they are making.
I believe the perfect way to start creating foundational, positive change in any area of our life is by cultivating morning practices that are going to influence how the rest of our day plays out.
“Staring our day in the right frame of mind allows us to handle life’s challenges, twist and turns with more patience and ease so that we can actually get things done”.
So if you feel anything like my clients when it comes to your time, here are 5 simple and effective habits that you can add into your morning routine that will help set the tone for your day and ensure you are feeling, thinking and acting as your very best all day, every day.
1. Create A Morning Routine
The most successful people I know have a consistent morning routine and they very rarely stray from it. Whether they are at home, on holiday, or traveling for work, they commit to their practices because they know exactly what it is that helps them to feel their best and that it all begins first thing in the morning.
My morning practice starts with a coffee before heading out for a walk, a run or hitting my yoga mat. I follow this up with journaling and a 20 minute meditation. Starting my day by moving my body and quietening my mind, helps me start my day feeling calm, connected and healthy.
My client Heidi, likes to start her busy, chaotic days by feeling calm and grateful. She spends 10 minutes in the morning drinking her tea on her patio taking in the beauty of her farm and counting her blessings. This allows her to ground into the energy she wants to cultivate in her super busy days.
Another client, Max, likes to take time to set intentions for his day. He thinks through the meetings he has booked, jobs he needs to complete and other obligations and considers how he wants to feel throughout all of them. He does a short meditation and then reads a few pages of a self-help or inspirational book. He praises this way of starting his day and feels a distinct difference when he skips his personal practice.
2. Get Up Early
The key to a powerful morning routine is getting up early and most importantly, before other people need our time and attention. This might mean getting up a lot earlier than we’ve have ever been out of bed before but trust me, it is so worth it!
This habit alone has created a major shift in my life. I used to sleep in until 8:30-9am (I work for myself so I had this luxury) but then I would end up feeling like I was always running behind and that there was never enough time to do all of the things. My mind would then be on me all day with constant thoughts about how much work I had to get done, trying to figure out when I was I going to find time to meditate, how I would fit in time for exercise and so on.
My current routine has me up at 6am, sometimes 5:30am. I have come to really love the early hours of the morning, how quiet they are, how beautiful the first light of the day is, and best of all, how I have all of my morning practices done before I used to even get out of bed! I find that this time of day provides me so much more inspiration as well. Perhaps this is because I slowly ease into my day instead of rushing around trying to get the day going.
Getting up early each day makes the day feel so much more spacious and long. Our minds rest easier as it now feels like there is enough time for everything and like we don’t need to hustle all day long.
3. Start With Gratitude
Just like my client Heidi, who starts her day with a cuppa and gratitude, consider staring your day in a similar fashion. There is so much research out there about how creating a practice of being grateful helps us to feel happier and more fulfilled and on the most basic level, focusing on gratitude puts us in a positive frame of mind. It connects us to the world around us and to ourselves. It gets us present, out of our thoughts and emotions, and into our body.
A gratitude practice sustained over time not only elevates our feelings in the moments we are grateful but helps us to appreciate more of the sweet moments of life as they happen throughout the day. Practicing gratitude in the morning allows for more feelings of abundance and ease to seep into the rest of our day. This kind of practice done regularly is like building physical muscles for strength and builds our mental capacity for handling what life throws at us with grace and patience.
4. Create Lists And Prioritise
I am a Virgo and I Iove a good list! They help me to organise my thoughts, plan my day and keep a track of all that are going on in my life. I run two businesses so they are basically what keep me sane. Creating lists also helps to free up mental space and dial down mental chatter, worry, and anxiety.
Write down all the things you need to do today, or update your existing list with new tasks. To further ease the mind of worry and overwhelm, choose 1 to 3 things maximum that you would like to get done that day. Ask yourself what would feel really satisfying to cross off that list. We often go for the small things but getting one of those really hard, challenging items completed can feel oh so good.
Remember all steps forward are progress, so if one task a day is all you can handle, great. Make sure you acknowledge yourself when you have completed any task no matter how many things are still on the list. Give yourself some love and appreciation and this will keep the mental chatter positive.
5. Pages Before Swipes
I recently heard Chris Harder from For The Love of Money podcast use this phrase and I love it!
By starting our day with swipes, aka checking emails and flicking through social media on our phones, we immediately cultivate a reactive mindset. This then puts us in a defensive state rather than a place of inner calm and control. I don’t know about you but I have been guilty of starting my day this way too many times and it would always make me feel anxious and shitty about the day ahead, my life, my body, my hair, my job. All of it. And I hadn’t even left my bed!
I want to start my day feeling inspired, at ease and confident. So instead of checking social media first thing, I journal and then read something positive or motivational. A book I love for that is Journey to the Heart by Melody Beattie. She has a passage for every day of the year and offers beautiful wisdom and insight to contemplate for the day. Our minds are very malleable things. Be aware of what you feed it. Especially first thing in the morning.