Vibrant Mornings - A Calm Start to Your Day
In the follow on from my peaceful evenings blog where I talk about peaceful evenings creating vibrant mornings, this is a post on creating a flow that focuses on calming and centred practices that leave you feel vibrant
It’s taken me a long time to find a morning flow that really feels good to me, so don’t be discouraged if you’re still stumbling out of bed 20mins before you need to run out of the door. It’s the default most of us start from. Stumbling out of bed, feeling exhausted and frazzled can be a combination of things;
not getting enough sleep
not sleeping deeply enough (active mind)
not waking up at the same time each morning
snoozing your alarm
a mindset focused on negative thoughts.
In my previous post I explained my philosophy on creating vibrant morning practices - I noticed that I wasn’t able to fully commit to a morning practice until I had an evening practice that supported it. If you haven’t read it, check out the post here. It can be tough commuting to 5am wake ups, a walk before the sunrise, eating breakfast at the table and journaling all before 7am if you’re not getting at least 7.5-8hrs of good quality sleep. If you are able to do this, please share your story!
So, how can you create a vibrant morning practice? My assumption (and you know what assuming does ;) is that you have an evening practice that is working for you and you’re getting some good zz’s each night! If not, let’s start there (I’d be more than happy to help!) .
Wake up at the same time
Research shows (and the all enlightened gurus talk about it) that waking up at the same time every morning enables your body to kick into action (we’ll talk about this being calmly). Ever noticed that during the week if you wake up at 5:30am and then on the weekend you do the same without an alarm? That’s your body’s way of telling you it’s ready to start the day! On the basis that you gave it enough sleep.
The trouble is, we tend to snooze our alarms, fall back asleep and wake up 20-30mins later feeling so much worse. That’s because you’re creeping into overtired territory (yup it’s a thing).
Make a commitment to wake up at the same time every morning. If your goal is to wake up 5am but you’re currently teetering at 7am, adjust slowly. It will take some time to readjust to a big wake up shift. Edge to 6:45am, then 6:30am, and so on. And remember to ensure you are getting to sleep earlier too!
Be in silence and stillness
When you first wake up, don’t reach for your phone!! Starting your day with email checking, scrolling social media and responding to texts sets you up to be reactive for the rest of the day. Those three tasks alone are all things you’re reacting to and half the time, it only causes anxiety because you’re already thinking “I have so much to do today” or “oh her life looks perfect she was up at 4:30am exercising”. Are those thoughts helpful? No.
When you first wake up, rinse your face with some cold water and then sit up straight in your bed and purely be silent and still for 10-15mins. You don’t have to call it meditation if you don’t resonate with that practice. But it’s all stillness. Creating a space of quiet and stillness every morning will allow you to centre yourself, find calm and give you the strength to go through the day with a bit more presence and less reactivity.
Stress, anxiety and overwhelm is caused by our ego mind’s need to think about outcomes before they even happen or worry about doing something even before you’re doing it. It’s unhealthy and can have a big impact on your overall physical and mental health.
Allowing for time each day, if only 10mins for your mind and body to sit in stillness will make a big difference to how present and calm you are throughout the day.
I meditate for 20mins each morning, Kyle and I are using transcendental meditation and often I also commute in silence too. No radio, music or podcasts. The awareness it brings to your commute is incredible!
Moving your body in the morning is a great way to create spaciousness within the physical body but also the mind. It doesn’t need to be high intensity training, it can be slow and gentle movement too. Whatever feels really good for you both mentally and physically.
Some will say you have to move intensely first thing in the morning to have a productive day, but remember, this doesn’t work for everyone. Especially if you’re in the early stages of creating your morning practice.
Some mornings all I do is stretch and other mornings I’ll take Duke for a walk or sometimes I’ll purely be still because my body tells me it needs it (different to just feeling lazy). Really listen to your body.
At the very least though, I do suggest some stretches and yoga poses to get the blood flowing and encourage spaciousness in the joints after sleeping all night. Some yoga poses are perfect - cat-cow, downward dog, forward fold, side lunges, baby cobra and full cobra. Create a little 3-5min flow with those moves and feel the energy flow through you!
Drink warm water
Drinking warm water first thing in the morning is so good for your body! As you sleep you dehydrate which is why you might feel headachy soon after you wake up (even more so after a glass of wine the night before). You can add a slice of lemon or lime to the water to promote healthy digestion and liver function to start the day as well if you like. It doesn’t need to be excessive, a glass will do as you get ready for work, but definitely make it a key part of your morning.
I have my water bottle on my bedside table full every morning and start drinking it as soon as I wake up. As drink my plunger coffee I alternate with water to continue hydrating (coffee decreases hydration - FYI).
Writing in any form in the morning is a great way to activate your brain and I recommend writing that which is positive and encouraging for your day ahead. Spend some time writing about:
how you want your day to flow
how you want to show up; and
how you want to feel throughout the whole day.
Be specific. Write it as if it has already happened I.e. “I am present when I interact with my colleagues.” Or “As I work through my emails I feel relaxed and attentive. This is a simple exercise of intention setting and thinking about how you want you and your day to flow.
Intention setting is so important - when you have clear intentions you are more likely to make decisions and take actions that are aligned with those intentions. Versus floundering through your day reacting to everything that comes your way and feeling drained at the end.
Use downtime on your phone
I love that our smartphones are now being updated with different ways to help us disconnect from them and limit the time we spend on them. If you have an iPhone (I assume other phones have this too), you can go into your settings and turn on the downtime function. Downtime is found under “Screentime”. You can select different things like:
Downtime - schedules time away from your phone. Only apps that you choose (intentionally) to allow and phone calls are available during this time. Mine is set from 8:30pm - 7:00am every night.
App Limits - set time limits for how much time you want to spend on apps. They are categorised i.e. social networking, games, entertainment, etc. - I have mine currently set to 1.5hrs a day with the goal of decreasing that down to 30mins a day! (probably too far)
It is such a great way to be more mindful of how much time you’re spending on your phone and it also helps if your downtime automatically turns on each night, as it will remind you to start your evening practice! How handy!
This is what it looks like each night and then what it does when it turns off in the morning. I do quite like it!
So there you have it. My top tips on creating a vibrant morning practice that with leave you feeling calm and ready to flow through your day. Remember, you don’t need to do all of these things straight away. Pick one that you like the sound of, implement it and practice it for at least two weeks and see how you feel and what else changes.
Small steps and consistency is so key in creating practices that you enjoy doing and get a lot of benefit from. Do what feels good for as long as feels good, then if you want to make it longer, do it!
For me, I wake up at 5am, meditate, read my script, write, drink water and coffee and then usually commute in silence. When time allows I will take Duke for a walk too. Adjust components of it, but ultimately choose one or two things that are non-negotiable for you and make a commitment to doing it every. single. day.
Let me know what you’re currently doing as your practice - I am keen to know!
You can also sign up to my TashTastic letters and be the first to know of my “Self-Care Jumpstart” online series kicking off mid-February! I hope to see you there!