When we first wake up in the morning, we are like babies. Our minds are soft, hazy and gentle.
1. Give yourself an extra hour of morning grace.
You know the amount of survival time necessary to fly by the seat of your pants and make it to work. I do, and usually I factor in one snooze and ten minutes for classic “Robinson flail” to get me sliding into work juuuuust on time. Usually with toast in one hand, pottery (non to-go) mug in the other.
What if you tossed on another, I don’t know, hour to your mornings? If you usually wake up at 7 a.m., wake up at 6 a.m. today.
2. Set your alarm clock label to an intention or affirmation for your day.
My alarm currently says “You’re going to do kick ass things today” so that when I open my eyes the first thing I see is a big fat wad of happy positivity. Even if I’ve seen it for a month straight it’s like a little brain hug each time I open my eyes. What kind of day do you want to create?
3. Lay in bed and listen to this song.
Well, duh. Having an orgasm releases endorphins—this is a no brainer. If you’re single, do you have a hand? M-a-s-t-u-r-b-a-t-i-o-n baby, no shame. Self love, self pleasure, with a partner…same same, but different. Start your day with messy haired satisfied vibes.
5. Take a moment when you first wake up to go outside.
While you are still stumbling around starting to make use of your body and the day, perhaps while the kettle boils on the stove for your coffee, step outside. Wrap yourself in the fuzzy blanket lying on the couch and sit on your steps, go for a walk barefoot in the grass, chop some kindling, walk down to the mailbox even if you aren’t expecting mail.
Get some fresh air and start your day connected to mother earth. Fill your ears with the sounds of the day waking, smell the morning dew and feel the sunshine.
6. Move your body, everybody.
Using our bodies gives us energy. You do this in whatever way feeds you. Some mornings it’s the sound of my yoga mat unrolling greeting the walls of my cabin, some days it’s a run, and other mornings it’s a full blown dance party in my bathroom while I pretend to brush my teeth. (If you had morning sex, you can cross this off your list.)
7. Champion days start with breakfast.
Make time to nourish your body, no matter how busy you think you are, you have time to give your body the nutrients it needs to have a energized day. Honor your body’s well being. If you are like me and like to wake up slow without making a huge breakfast first thing try cutting some fruit the night before, dip apples in peanut butter, instant oatmeal, yogurt and granola. Make time to have breakfast—your body’s worth it.
8. Reach for a book instead of your cellphone.
When we first wake up in the morning, we are like babies. Our minds are soft, hazy and gentle. We stretch a little, cuddle into our sheets, yawn. We hit go on starting our brains up slowly.
What we feed our brains is always important, but the first hour might be the most important. Instead of firing up your laptop and reading emails, or checking your Instagram and Facebook first thing, reach for a book. Leave your laptop or phone downstairs and pull that dinosaur of an alarm clock out of storage if you need to.
Our brains are like permeable membranes letting knowledge and information seep in and out; let the first thing that stimulates them be the words of a poet we love.
If you don’t have any poetry, try reading this:
The kindly search for growth, the gracious de-
sire to exist of the flowers, my near ecstasy at existing
The privilege to witness my existence-you too
must seek the sun…
My books piled up before me for my use
waiting in space where I placed them, they
haven’t disappeared, time’s left its remnants and qual-
ities for me to use–my words piled up, my texts, my
manuscripts, my loves.
I had a moment of clarity, saw the feeling in
the heart of things, walked out to the garden crying.
Saw the red blossoms in the night light, sun’s
gone, they had all grown, in a moment, and were wait-
ing stopped in time for the day sun to come and give
Flowers which as in a dream at sunset I watered
faithfully not knowing how much I loved them.
I am so lonely in my glory–except they too out
there–I looked up–those red bush blossoms beckon-
ing and peering in the window waiting in the blind love,
their leaves too have hope and are upturned top flat
to the sky to receive–all creation open to receive–the
flat earth itself.
~ Allen Ginsberg
9. But first, let me have a cup of coffee.
If you don’t drink coffee—you’re a weirdo, and skip this point. If you do, I invite you to revel in the smell of the coffee beans grinding beneath your finger tips, and the way the French press sassily presses back when you are impatient. Get back into bed and drink two cups this morning—why? Because you are a morning rock star and have time for it because you woke up an hour early. Boom.
Showering is kind of for grown ups, so this point is like half a point. (Go dry shampoo!) Perhaps showers wake us up and make us feel like we are shedding a new skin because water is therapeutic, washing us clean of any emotional debris floating around in our bodies. Lakes, waterfalls and oceans also count as showers in my books.
10. Marvel at yourself.
Instead of looking into the mirror with horror at your baby hairs standing on rebellious end, fretting about the wrinkle in your shirt, or changing fives times, stand in front of the mirror and marvel at yourself. There is only one you in this whole damn universe. Yep, you are looking at her.
Give yourself a massive inner high five for being awesome and carry on in all your youness and glory.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Author’s Own
Bonus: three Buddhist mindfulness tips for Everyday Life: