My mornings are the most important part of my day. They really set the tone for how the rest of my day will go, so it’s important that I take the time to wake up and prep my body and mind for the day ahead. When I started working full-time, I would spend every possible minute in bed until I absolutely had to get up and get ready. I would scroll and snooze right up until the point where I was actually going to be late if I didn’t get up. So slowly, slowly, over time I added a few things into my morning that would get me in the right headspace to have a happy, productive day. I’m hoping that by sharing my morning rituals, I can encourage and remind you to spend an extra few minutes focusing on yourself in the morning.
If I could only climb up on my little soapbox for one thing, it would be this: daily meditations. I won’t get entirely into it right now because I want to dedicate an entire post just for meditation, but it has made a major difference with my mental health. I’ve been practicing for about 9 months now and I’ve noticed that if I start my day off with a meditation, I’m more calm and at ease throughout my day. It’s been proven that just ten minutes of meditation a day makes a positive difference in brain and immune function. Meditation can help reduce pain, anxiety, insomnia, stress, and even lower your chances of heart attack and stroke. I know it sounds like a super woo-woo trend, but with these results and the fact that it’s literally free…it doesn’t hurt to try, right?
After jumping from a few different free apps, I invested in the Calm app earlier this year when a trial period introduced me to their Daily Calm ten-minute meditations. Calm offers a new guided meditation every single day, with each session focusing on different aspects of mindfulness. For example, some topics for this week include humility, mindful listening, concentration, and authenticity. I appreciate that the first half of the session is unguided, giving you the space to practice meditating, and the second half is a sort of guided lesson on that day’s topic. You get the best of both worlds in a short and sweet ten minutes. I love starting my day with these meditations; I often find myself reflecting on that day’s theme throughout my day and feel that it actually helps me be more mindful.
OPEN UP THE HOUSE
Now, funny story, my cat’s actually introduced me to this one. When they wake me up for breakfast, they head straight over to the patio door after so that I can open it for them. As soon as I do, they literally take a deep breath of the fresh air and relish in the chill of the morning. Their little noses start twitching as they smell the new day, they stretch and arch their back as if the chill of the air is just now waking them up. At first it was just something I did for them, but this has become something that I actually look forward to doing. There’s something about the fresh air in the morning, the sounds of birds chirping and people waking up to start their days, that refreshes me after a night of sleeping under the covers. There’s no scientific proof to support this one, not that I could find at least but trust me, it’ll make you look forward to getting out of bed.
DRINK LEMON WATER
Have you heard of it? I know, it sounds super basic and not even worth a mention. But it’s honestly become something I crave each morning, which is saying a lot because that craving used to be solely dedicated to coffee. I grew up watching my parents have a warm mug of coffee each morning, relishing in the taste and comfort, relying on it to start their day. I started drinking coffee in high school (back then it was more cream than coffee) and depended heavily on it throughout college, religiously grabbing a to-go cup before each class. When I used to start my day with a cup of coffee, I felt like I was constantly playing catch-up with hydrating for the remainder of that day. I never felt consistently good, I was usually battling a headache or an upset stomach. Because of how it started to worsen my anxiety, I had to give it up and now only drink it every now and then as a treat. But I missed that ritual and searched for a replacement, eventually finding myself back at square one.
When I switched to having lemon water first thing in the morning, I felt like I was starting my day with a good foundation. Lemon water has been proven to aid in digestion, provide a boost in the immune system due to the Vitamin C, increase metabolism, purge toxins and help produce collagen which can lead to clearer skin. There’s some debate over warm versus cold water and its corresponding benefits, but honestly I decide on that based on the morning and how I’m feeling that day. If I feel a bit more tired or if I might be battling a sore throat, I warm up my water in my kettle for just a minute (you don’t want it to be super hot). On the other hand, when it’s a crisp morning, nothing makes me happier than a cold glass of water with a cute slice of lemon floating inside.
READ FOR AT LEAST 30 MINUTES
One of my 2019 goals is to read at least 24 books, so two for each month. We’re about to head into June and I’ve already read 17 books! I’m super proud of myself for this because last year I think I read a whole 14 books haha. I get this done by sneaking in half hour increments wherever I can: half an hour if I have some downtime at work, a half hour or a full hour during my lunch, a half hour at night before bed, and a half hour in the morning.
I like to make my environment super cozy, so sometimes I’ll grab my aesthetically-pleasing lemon water and gather up a few blankets so that my cats will snuggle in. Taking this time in the morning to sit comfortably and quietly in my apartment is one of my favorite things because my apartment is really my favorite place in the world. I love it the most in the mornings, when it’s a little chilly and I’m still waking up. Reading a few chapters eases me into my day much more gently than scrolling mindlessly on my phone, reading up on the recent atrocities of our country (I try to save that for when I get to work) and leaves me with a sense of accomplishment for working towards my goals before I’ve even really started my day.
So this is what a typical morning for me looks like. I wake up, open up the house, get my glass/mug of lemon water ready, meditate on the couch, then read for a half hour. It’s a mix of things that are scientifically good for my mind and body with things that make me feel happy and comfy, things that are just for me. I don’t like making a to-do list or looking at my emails until I get to work because my morning is reserved for me and me alone, plus I’ll just start itching to do the things on my to-do list which I can’t do until I get to work anyways. I’ve found that by starting my day with things I want to do, it’s easier for me to get done the things that I have to do later in the day.
Morning rituals aren’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all, so I encourage you to try to indulge in what makes you happy tomorrow morning. Maybe that’s drinking your cup of coffee on the patio, listening to a good podcast while you take your dog for a longer walk than usual, maybe you want to try meditating or reading more but find you never have the time for it. You can cultivate and create your morning routine to serve you and help you be who you want to be throughout your day, whether that be calm, creative, happy, energized, productive, or all of the above.