What do you do when first waking up? What do you think and feel?
Do you immediately worry about the day ahead? That super long to-do list?
Stop for a second. Close your eyes, and take a long, deep, soul-fulfilling breath. Repeat a few times. S-l-o-o-o-w it down a bit.
We are so busy with our responsibilities each day that we forget to nourish ourselves. Many of us have even forgotten how to take time for self-care at all. It’s understandable, but ignoring the needs of our own minds and bodies just leads to instability, anxiety, and being too tightly wound to actually function.
Morning is a great time to start practicing better self-care and start your day on a more grounded note, as you move from your state of rest to an active day. Try adding in some of these practices to your daily morning routine. If it seems like a lot, start with just one at a time! This practice is all about working at your own pace.
#1 Wake Up Gently
Most of us have alarms that are blaring loud and, let’s be honest, really obnoxious. Not very helpful for reducing anxious thoughts.
Instead, try an alarm that still wakes you up but in a more soothing way.
If you use your smartphone as an alarm, this gives you tons of options to choose from. Go with something like chimes or soft bells. Way more fun to wake up to! Or try my personal favorite alarm app (link to new article for Tech) that wakes you in your least intense REM sleep. So much better, I promise.
#2 Give Thanks
Instead of giving your full attention to all of the outside noise once you wake up—before you even get out of bed—give yourself a few moments to feel present in your body. Be thankful for it.
Express some gratitude for another day of life, love, and healing. Wish yourself healthiness, happiness, and love throughout the day. Doing this helps you focus on thankfulness as you navigate your day of work, relationships, and other life stressors.
#3 Write in a Journal
Let’s not underestimate the power of writing your thoughts and feelings. Having a journal to write about how you feel each day keeps you in touch with your deepest thoughts and feelings. It’s your chance to talk to yourself and find answers to mind-body questions.
Just a few minutes of this can be a great stress release—and a fantastic morning ritual. And if you forget or run out of time to write one morning, simply take a few minutes to write before bed.
#4 Focus on Your Breath
You might be intimidated by the term “meditation.” But don’t worry—it’s really just about giving yourself a few minutes of quietness and breathing. And the truth is, we could all use a quieter, more calm mind.
Try setting a timer for three minutes, sitting in a position that’s comfortable for you, and focusing on your breath until the timer goes off. If your thoughts start to wander, gently move them to the back of your mind and keep focusing on your breath.
(And if it feels awkward? That’s okay! The point it to be kind to yourself—this is not something you have to be perfect at.)
As you get more comfortable, you can move up to five minutes, then 10. And if you’re worried about falling asleep while doing this since you’ve just woken up (guilty!), try it while you’re sitting at your table after you’ve had your coffee or tea.
#5 Enjoy Moving Your Body
Not a gym person? No worries—I’m not talking about running a 5K as soon as your head leaves the pillow. 🙂 Just give yourself permission to be energized!
If you like yoga, do a couple sun salutations to get your blood pumping. Or dance around while getting dressed or grabbing breakfast. Do some lunges while brushing your hair. Pumping up your body can lift your mood and bring healthy energy into your day.
#6 Try a Green Smoothie
Greens for breakfast? Yes! A good breakfast to start the day gives your body a boost of vitamins and minerals. That means better mood, more energy, and nourishing brain fuel to feed your body and soul. A green smoothie does all of that—plus, it tastes good and can be made in minutes. That’s a big win-win.
Need ideas? Do a quick Google search for “green smoothie”; there are tons of them. It can be as simple as a frozen bananas, some berries, spinach, and a little milk. Instant power drink for your morning!
The journey to mental wellness means feeding your mind and body a little more each day. Choose the rituals that speak to you most and watch them beautifully transform your morning, and your life.
What morning rituals have you found work for you? Which are you willing to try? I’d love to know. Post your comments below.