As a new year and century approaches, I’ve seen countless articles, videos, and posts all over the internet about people’s unique morning routine – their ideal first few steps of the morning before beginning their day. Many of these consist of physical health related tasks, such as working out, breakfast, and their process of getting ready for the day. Some are very basic and superficial, while others are more detailed and require a little more time than the average person can afford each morning.
The important thing is to recognize the significance of HAVING a morning ritual, no matter what you choose to make your specific routine.
Having a morning routine sets the tone for the entire day. It doesn’t seem like much, but waking up a little earlier than required each day can change your entire day, and repeating these small yet necessary steps are grounds for having a healthy, happy, and productive day; in fact, these are the first steps towards making an overall positive change in your life.
One of the most common questions I get asked is how I stay so happy despite the chaos of life; aside from faith and presence, I attribute my positive attitude to my morning routine! I’ve followed a pretty simple routine for about the past 5+ years of my life, and after doing a little bit of research and changing around a few steps, I have found a quick yet effective morning ritual for your soul, mind and body, that I am able to stick with and that is ideal for me. In honor of a brand new year and century, I want to share my holistic morning routine with you so you can start your day feeling peaceful and inspired!
Before I get into what I do AFTER waking up, let me mention briefly HOW to wake up. Most people immediately hit the snooze button and fall back asleep, only to end up waking late and feeling groggy. The best thing you can do in order to prevent this is place your alarm clock (or in my case, cellphone) away from your bed– you then have no choice but to get out of your bed! Once you wake up, make your bed in order to avoid the temptation to crawl back in. It also helps to immediately go brush your teeth and drink a glass of cold water in order to really wake yourself up for the day.
Another common action that people do each morning, like clockwork, is reach for their phone. The check their missed calls, texts, voicemails, emails, and all their social media updates. They start their day by responding to others, thus beginning their day in a reactive mode rather than taking control of their day. A great tip for this is to turn your phone on airplane mode the night before, and do not turn on your notifications until after you have completed you morning routine.
Waking up in a peaceful silence, without a snoozing alarm or cellphone, allows me to start my day with a blissful feeling of presence that I carry with me throughout the rest of the day. It will also allow you to set a great tone for the rest of the morning, and intentionally create your day and life.
One final action I take each morning immediately AS I wake up is to smile. Yes, SMILE. Simple enough, right? Smile not only with your face, but with your mind and your heart and your being. It is not uncommon that the first thought that runs through people’s mind in the morning is, “Oh, great…it’s Monday. So many things to do!” But first, take a moment to just smile. Smile because you’re thankful to God for giving you another brand new day of life, because there is no greater reason to smile for. Besides this simple fact, here are 15 other proven health benefits you can reap simply by smiling more throughout the day. 🙂
Each morning when you wake up, take about 20 minutes (People take anywhere from 10- 30 minutes, but 20 minutes is what works for me) to spend some time getting your mind on the right track. Remind yourself of exactly who you are and what your life is all about, and figure out how to make positive progress towards whatever it is your want to achieve, keeping in mind that anything is possible. Taking these few moments just to remember the big picture can really put things into perspective, providing peace and the strength to embrace whatever you may encounter in the upcoming day.
- Meditation/Prayer: Take a few, deep breaths and practice becoming aware of your thoughts and the present moment. Do not judge yourself or your thoughts, and if you catch yourself doing so, gently bring yourself back into the peace of the present moment. If you are a beginner, there are a lot of great apps available to start with just a few minutes at at time. I personally also use this time to pray and deepen my connection with God.
- Affirmations & Visualization: I am a firm believer that your thoughts create your reality. Recite affirmations each morning of how you would ideally want to feel, and visualize yourself feeling that way. Even if you don’t currently feel the affirmations as true, repeating them daily will bring you closer to the feeling you desire. You can also visualize how you’d like your ideal life to be.
- Gratitude: Each morning, think of 3 new things you are grateful for. I have been doing this every morning for several years and sometimes it feels quite difficult to not repeat anything! This simple exercise will help you to see that there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for, no matter how small. It will also train your brain to look for the positive throughout the rest of your day.
- Journal: I have been journaling regularly since as far back as I can remember, when I first learned to write. Every morning, write down all your thoughts in a journal. The main goal is to recognize and organize your thoughts, identify and manage your emotions, and clear your mind. With this new mental space, you will gain clarity and creativity to solve your problems and attain your goals.
- Get Inspired: After meditating, praying, visualizing, affirming, expressing gratitude and clearing my mind through journaling, your mind is a blank slate ready to be filled with whatever you intentionally choose. As I move on to the next part of my morning, my favorite thing to do is watch inspirational videos to motivate me to learn, grow, and better myself each day. A lot of people enjoy reading self-help books or listening to podcasts, which are also wonderful for self-development.
Your body has been stiff in the same position for hours, so one of the most important steps to waking up is to stretch! Stretch out your entire body and take a few deep breaths right from the diaphragm; not only will this release feel-good endorphins, but the oxygen will give provide you with energy, giving you the boost you need to start your day off feeling good. Stretching daily also removes toxins from your organs, promotes better blood flow, decreases overall stress and anxiety, and can help you sleep better at night.
After you have taken some time to feel good on the inside, it is time to focus on the more outward aspects: Wash up, work out, and have a fulfilling breakfast. These steps require little explanation and vary for each individual, and there is not necessarily a right or wrong way in which to carry out these steps, as long as they get done. When you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, you are more confident and likely to have a productive day ahead. Let me know if you would like me to write a post going into more detail about healthy workouts and breakfast ideas.
These are the steps I take for my spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health that I have been doing for the past several years and hope to continue for years to come. Keep in mind that each individual will have a different routine depending on what works for them. I hope this post will provide you with insight and guide you towards the ideal morning ritual for you. Waking up a little earlier than your normal time and following a routine each morning will maximize the health of your mind, body, and soul, and set you up for nothing but success for the rest of the day. Good luck!