In fact, research shows that an early morning increase in stress can continue all the way into the afternoon. Best to avoid that, don’t you think?
Here’s a peek into my morning routine. I hope it will inspire you to start your day off with ease too.
When I Open My Eyes
As soon as I open my eyes, I immediately look at my mind and observe whatever thoughts, emotions, or sensations may be passing through.
The practice of awareness immediately upon waking will enhance your ability to be more mindful throughout the day. This mini-practice also reminds you of the transitory nature of thoughts and emotions, a nudge not to take them all so seriously.
Next, I make a wish that whatever I do during the day will bring benefit to others. This little practice gradually dilutes the ego and releases a flow of love and compassion.
Next Thing in the Morning
I start my day by drinking two glasses of water to clear out any sludge that may have accumulated during the night and rehydrate my body and brain.
Then I meditate for 20 to 60 minutes, depending upon the day of the week. I combine brief breath work, mindfulness meditation, and mantra and visualization practices from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
At the end of my meditation, I sometimes draw 3 tarot cards for insight into my day. At the moment, I’m using the Gaian Tarot,* which emphasizes healing the earth and healing ourselves. I absolutely adore it and recommend it highly.
I sometimes add journaling into the mix as well, especially if I have emotions that need to be cleared or an insight to record. Many of my deepest insights and most creative ideas, even blog posts topics, surface during that luminous space between sleep and waking.
Exercise in the Morning
Three days a week, I attend a two-hour morning Tai Chi class On those days, I shorten my usual meditation period and cultivate presence as I practice Tai Chi.
I don’t exercise other mornings. On those days, I opt for a longer meditation practice. I engage in physical activity in the afternoon instead.
My Breakfast Preferences
I skipped breakfast as part of an intermittent fasting program for three months earlier this year. I loved how it opened up my time, but in the end it depleted my adrenals.
Right now, I’m keen on vegetable soup for breakfast. I throw a mix of vegetables into some water with a dash of Hawaiian sea salt and let it simmer for 20 or 30 minutes. Or I have fruit with freshly made almond milk. I don’t drink coffee or black tea, ever.
Breakfast comes after meditation.
Technology In the Morning
I try to avoid technology in the morning at least until I’ve done a bit of meditation and when possible not until after my full meditation period. Believe it or not, I don’t actively use a mobile phone so that removes one big temptation. But sometimes commitments or an insatiable curiosity pulls me online earlier.
It hasn’t been easy to resist the online pull in the morning. Since I reside in this unique time zone in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, I miss some of the best times to connect with people on the mainland. For the most part, I've been able to let go of the driving desire to be online in those periods. I’m happy I’ve chosen to start my day with calm instead.
How My Routine Has Changed
I used to leap out of bed and dive into work. It’s been years, but not so long ago! That's when I constantly stressed and eventually burned out.
I didn’t always have the habit of meditation first thing, but now I don’t go a day without it. It takes patience to develop a regular meditation habit. But it will come with a clear intention, the willingness to start again after dropping off (it happens to all of us), and persistence.
I’m always happy when Saturday rolls around. I often gift myself Saturday mornings as a time to linger, relax, and nourish myself. Since I don’t feel I “have to” do anything at all, I might spend more time in meditation, journal, take a relaxing bath, or read a book.
I publish my main post every Sunday on Always Well Within. So that’s a day when I do get online earlier rather than later to get the word out on social media.
When My Routine Goes Wacky
It doesn’t happen often, but there are times when life interrupts my usual routine. Like recently when we needed to leave early for the airport and a short flight to Maui.
I still make time to look at my mind and establish my motivation. Even five minutes of mindfulness contributes to a more positive day. So I don’t skip it even if I abbreviate it radically.
When I must miss my morning routine, I know I can practice mindfulness and kindness throughout the day. I don’t have to feel short-changed. However, I don't make skipping morning meditation practice a habit.
The Benefits of My Morning Routine
My morning routine reminds me I’m a spiritual being living in a material body and not the other way around. So my morning ritual informs my whole day in the best possible way - putting mindfulness, awareness, and kindness at the forefront of my mind.
A calm morning routine also nurtures my body, keeps stress at bay, and improves my mental clarity for the remainder of the day.
You'll probably have to give up something to create a nourishing morning routine. Just like I had to give up connecting online. But it’s so worth it. You’ll see the positive effects of your morning ritual radiate throughout your day.
However, if you're not able to establish a morning ritual, for whatever reason, don't stress about it. Try to give yourself just five or ten minutes first thing in the morning so you start your day feeling centered in yourself.
Then look at how you can incorporate smalls breaks throughout the day. Read this for ideas: Take a Break Before You Burnout. And, as an alternative to a morning ritual, you could establish an evening routine instead, so you fall asleep with a calm heart and mind and wake up rested.
Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious! Don’t forget to sign up for my e-letter and get access to all the free self-development resources (e-books, mini-guides + worksheets) in the Always Well Within Library. May you be happy, well, and safe – always. With love, Sandra