My mindful Winter morning routine.
It’s my belief that the way we choose to start our day sets the tone for the rest of it.
When we start off our day by immediately focusing on others, whether that’s scrolling through social media, answering emails, or even reading the news, we set the precedent that we’ll always put others before ourselves. These simple, mindful morning practices are my way of taking “me-time”, and by putting myself first at the start of my day I believe it empowers me to keep putting myself first all day.
Keep in mind, that this is not an exact science, and the order or practices on this list often get switched up as my mood and the seasons change. The routine, and the order thereof, mentioned below is as much my ideal as it might be yours.
I’ve come to learn that I can help myself loads (and free up extra time in the morning) by starting the night before. To give you an idea of what that involves:
Around 8PM the dinner dishes are washed and the kitchen countertops have had a wipe. I prep anything needed for breakfast, place out my outfit for the next day, and put my journal and pen next to my bed.
The next hour is spent catching up on all all unanswered messages from the day, scrolling through social media, watching some TV and generally just unwinding.
By 9PM my phone’s on airplane mode (charging somewhere outside of my bedroom), and this is the time I love to read or simply lounge in bed, listening to music or a podcast until I fall asleep (naturally before 10pm).
My day starts at 6AM with a wake-up from my bedside alarm clock (as mentioned, no phone in the bedroom) and most days I manage to get up right away (note the “most days”).
Eyes open, I down a big glass of water first thing (placed on the bedside table the night before). Half-asleep I stumble into the kitchen to put the kettle on, and open all of the curtains and windows whilst I’m waiting for it to boil. There’s something to be said for letting natural light and some fresh air into your home first thing.
I then make whatever hot drink I’m in the mood for. Most mornings it’s a cup of rooibos tea with apple cider vinegar and honey, or a hot water/ lemon/ ginger mix, and other times a good old cup of coffee with soy or almond milk.
Warm drink in hand, I head back to bed (or anywhere that will allow you to sit mindfully with no distractions), to have my “mindful minutes”. This is the time to journal, meditate or just simply sit, breathe, and bring awareness to my thoughts.
I also practice a journaling method called morning pages, which you can read all about over HERE.
These minutes allow me to reflect on where I’m at in the bigger picture of my life, help me see where I want to be, stay in touch with my goals and the best ways to achieve them. It’s also a time to generally check-in with yourself on how you’re feeling, perhaps purposefully choose to change a crappy mood, and set a positive intention for the day ahead.
Here's Everything I Learned From Doing Morning Pages Every Day (via Buzzfeed.com)
In the Winter months, I prefer to move any scheduled workouts to the evenings and start my morning off slower. This being said, I still move my body in some way for a few minutes every morning. This might involve 10 minutes of stretching, maybe a 10-minute yoga sequence, or even a very quick Youtube video like the ones below:
By this point it’s usually around 7AM, and then the usual getting ready routine starts. Make the bed (always make the bed), and head into the bathroom to tongue scrape (read about that HERE), have a 5 minute shower, wash my face and brush my hair. I throw on the layed-out outfit and finish up all of the bits and bobs before heading into the kitchen around 7:30 to make breakfast.
I’m usually hungry first thing in the morning, but then again that might just be because my body’s been used to an early breakfast all my life. I also prefer to prioritize a mindful breakfast because during the hustle and bustle of the day I often just have a quick lunch on the go.
These days breakfast consist of warmer options like a bowl of oatmeal, porridge or some form of toast. I switch on my phone for the first time whilst eating breakfast and mindfully engage with any social media platforms, I often also have a podcast on in the background. THESE are some of my favourites at the moment.
After breakfast, I down all my vitamins, finish up my bottle of water (that I’ve been sipping on as I’ve been getting ready) and put everything back in it’s place, before grabbing what’s needed for work and heading to the office around 8:30.
Right now, I’m at a point where my morning routine is ritual, and has become somewhat a form of meditation for me, but this takes practice! So be patient with yourself, and rather than trying to fit 50 new things into your routine right away, start by adding 1 or two new things, and when you’ve got those down start adding more. You’ll find what works, or what doesn't work for you.
Learn to forgive yourself when things change, or when you consider it to be less than perfect or not “successful” (there’s no such thing!). I recently read somewhere: “Routine is amazing and once you get into it, really can improve your life. But, if it is making you more stressed because it is a place where you are always dropping the ball because it’s just too much, re-evaluate, forgive and alter accordingly to what is realistic for YOU.”
Keep in mind that the whole concept of a morning practice isn’t a set-in-stone thing that you have to check off of your to-do list. If your schedule only allows for a dedicated routine once a week; that’s perfectly fine. You’ve taken the time to do a weekly check-in with yourself, yay for you! The main goal with all of this is to give you a time to check in with yourself, and this can be done at any time that works in YOUR life.