The Top 3 Ways To Use Your Morning Routine As A Mindfulness Practice
For many of us, morning can be the most stressful time of the day. I strongly believe that the way how you start your morning will decide what kind of a day you will have. If your morning is mostly putting down fires, rather than bliss, the rest of the day can have the same feel. We anticipate that once we get everyone organized and out of the door, we will be able to catch our breath throughout the day. But the surprising truth is that you will be trying to catch your breath for the rest of the day until it is time to go to bed. The feeling like there is never enough time in the day to do all the things we want to do can be very palpable.
However, our morning can look different if we let ourselves adopt a few activities and create a morning routine.
What is a morning routine and why we should have one?
I often find that if I decide to leave something for later in the day, it doesn’t happen. If I decide to practice yoga at the end of the day instead of in the morning, I am usually too tired or simply run out of time to do it. Daily stress and overwhelm create a lack of focus. We are overwhelmed by the commitments we have, the projects to finish, the doctor’s appointment we have re-scheduled twice already. In that constant state of stress, it is hard to find the energy or to make healthy and mindful decisions.
Morning is a great time to create a special time just for you. Your energy levels are still high, your focus hasn’t been taken by the daily distractions and you can dedicate the extra time to be spent on yourself rather than others by getting up earlier than the rest of the household. That specially created pocket of time is the best mindfulness practice you can give yourself. The more often you dedicate your first minutes of each morning to centering yourself and finding your focus for the day, the quicker it will become a routine for you. The beauty of your morning routine is that you can include or exclude any activities you want! The sky is the limit as they say, but here are my three picks for a mindful morning routine.
Clear your mind
To make healthy decisions that serve us, we need to have a clear mind. To be in a state of presence, aligned with our true selves, we need to come from a place of connection. And for that, I pick to meditate. There are a lot of benefits of meditation. And of course, meditation is not only reserved for the morning, but I love the way meditation calms and clears my mind. Often, when we are stressed, our thinking can get foggy and unclear, but through the practice of meditation, we can anticipate our response and pick a more mindful approach to deal with any stressful situation.
Move your body
Energy creates energy and to be able to be energetic in our body we need to move it. Depending on the level of our mobility the intensity of exercise will be our choice. I love to get outside and go for a morning walk in nature. Nature has calming effects and can heal us. In addition, incorporating meditation and breathwork while we are in nature is an added bonus! If you are short on time, going for a walk can be somehow challenging. But going outside even if it is your backyard, garden or balcony, and doing some stretching or a few rounds of sun salutations can easily add spark into your day.
The aim here is to awaken your body with gentle movement because your day would be most likely fast-paced anyways.
Regain your focus
If we could describe our fast living in one word it would be a demand. There is a constant demand for our energy, time, attention, body, mind, and spirit. The fact to understand here is that there will always be something demanding our attention. When we are in a state of stress and overwhelm, we tend to do everything which is thrown our way. Without a clear focus, it is very hard to see if what we are doing benefits us. Picking one priority or task for the day can help us to regain our focus on what is important, what matters, and what is truly worth our energy. There will always be things on our to-do list and there will always be tasks needed our supervision. But picking one major task for the day, scheduling when we do it, can give us a boost of confidence and self-efficacy.
Will a morning routine stop the stress and overwhelmed we feel? It is possible. Thanks to creating this very precious time for ourselves to get cantered, to align our decision making with our true self will help us to shift our perspective on what is stressful in our day and how we cope with the overwhelm. A morning routine is a self-care practice and any activity which brings us joy and fulfilment can be easily added to it. Activity such as meditation can help us to clear our mind first thing in the morning so our positive outlook on the day can support us while making decisions.
Adding some form of body movement, even if it is a short walk, some stretching, or a few rounds of sun salutations can increase our energy levels and prepare our body to meet the demands of our day. The distractions and overwhelm of things to do can easily derail our day. That is why picking a priority for the day can help us to make more meaningful decisions, especially when that priority is aligned with what is truly important to us.
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