We all know that the best way to create a beautiful day is to start with a beautiful morning. And beautiful mornings always start with self-care. But if you are struggling to make time for a morning ritual, you are not alone.
Often, what we had hoped our morning to be is very different from the reality of our morning. There’s no question that cultivating a morning routine is a great thing, it’s just sticking to it that’s the hard part.
Why it’s worth it
There are many benefits to a morning routine. It anchors us for the day ahead and helps us stay proactive instead of reactive. We move into our day feeling more organised, focused and grounded. When the self is filled up, we can then go on and do our work in the world.
But this is much easier said than done. Maybe you have kids that wake early and need your attention. Perhaps you have a busy job or a busy house. Or maybe you’re just not a morning person!
Keep it realistic
I think the most important element to a morning practice is to be realistic. Just because someone you follow on Instagram greets each new day at sunrise on the beach doesn’t mean you have to feel bad that you don’t. Just because your neighbour manages to get in a run, a yoga practice, a meditation and the kids to school by 8am, doesn’t mean you have to. (By the way, if you know this woman, by all means – ask for her secret!)
What’s most important is to recognise that a morning practice can come in many different forms. Allow yourself the space to explore what your body needs most first thing each day. You will get more benefit from something that matches your needs, your lifestyle and your abilities than anything you might see someone else doing.
Finding a simple yet effective routine will help you move into your day with a clear head, plenty of energy and a sense of clarity around what’s important.
Everyone’s morning looks different. My best advice for finding your ritual is don’t over commit. You want to be able to actually achieve (and enjoy) the routine you have set for yourself. The worst scenario is that you set yourself an unrealistic expectation for your mornings and then you feel bad for not achieving it. This is not a great way to start the day and will end up having the opposite effect of what you’re trying to achieve.
Start small if you need to and go from there.
Finding your fit
Yes, your morning ritual may be a 5am yoga flow. Or it may mean being the first person at the gym. But it can also be something much simpler. There are plenty of ways that you can dedicate a small snippet of your day to self-care and feel amazing for it.
A moment of silence
With two young girls, my morning routine involves focusing on them first. Once they are taken care of, I step outside to enjoy some silence and a cup of tea. I soak in the surroundings and appreciate it all. It’s simple, yet very effective.
I always leave my phone to charge outside of my bedroom. This way, I’m not tempted to reach for it as soon as I wake up. Goodbye mindless scrolling. Who needs all that useless information taking up all your precious headspace first thing? Instead, take some time to enjoy the silence and enjoy a healthier way to start the day.
And if you think you can’t survive without your phone because you use it as an alarm clock, I would suggest still keeping it out of the bedroom. Use the alarm, but keep it in the next room. When the alarm goes off, you will have to physically get out of bed to turn it off, which could be just the kickstart you need to do a few stretches on your mat.
Oil pulling is a popular part of many morning routines. If you have tried to take up oil pulling but struggled to last the recommended 20 minutes of swishing, then why not try a fun distraction? Listen to a few of your favourite songs, or some funky dance tunes while swishing? Get the kids to join you for a playful boogie before school.
Your morning routine shouldn’t feel like a chore (because who wants to do chores first thing in the AM?). Diffusing oils is a perfect way to set a positive mood in the house without much effort. I love adding a few drops of an uplifting oil to my morning shower to really wake me up.
If you want to incorporate movement into your morning routine, start with something that you know you will be able to achieve. This may mean a few Sun Salutations to get the body moving. Once this becomes a habit and you realise how good it makes you feel, you may increase your flow and really get the body fired up. But the key is to create the habit first.
When all else fails, comes back to the breath. Our breath, or prana, is our life force. If you can only manage one thing each morning, I would encourage you to focus on prana. This energy that is also known as the breath connects us with the fact that we are conscious beings and everything stems from there. What a powerful way to start the day.
Once you have found something simple that works for you, you will discover the happiness that comes from these beautiful moments without clutter. And if it’s still feeling hard, remember where our attention goes, energy flows. The more you focus your energy on your morning habits, the more it will grow and the easier it will become to get up and start your day right.
Happiness can be this simple.