I used to be the girl that rolled out of bed at the last minute screaming at her alarm to keep quiet, before stuffing a piece of toast in her mouth and grabbing a swig of tea while running out of the door.
Not anymore. Now I wake up with intention and purpose for the day. I had to begin a practice that was more helpful to my daily life as my old routine was really not working for me.
I was constantly stressed and late for work. I was aggressive in the car on the way and it often took me until 11 a.m. to get my brain in gear to actually carry out my work at full throttle. I needed to make a choice and it was hard.
I love my bed and hate getting out of it. Those days when it is still dark outside and you are not ready to face the world yet, the duvet just envelops you and you can hide in peace and quiet.
That is exactly what I was doing: hiding. I was putting it all off and not dealing with the stuff I had to get on with.
It’s all changed now but it began with baby steps. At first I just got up earlier, wrote a few lines in a notebook and did a couple of yoga poses. As I became more aware that it was doing me some good it developed further.
Here are some of my morning rituals that get my day started properly. See if any of them might work for you:
I have a scruffy little notebook next to my bed and I write my morning thoughts down in there. Sometimes they are quite short and other days I don’t know where all of the thoughts come from, they just pour onto the page.
Julia Cameron said in an interview:
“The Morning Pages, the primary Artist’s Way tool, leads us into taking many risks. It is, after all, risky to try a new arena. Morning Pages urge us to ‘follow our bliss,’ as Joseph Campbell phrased it, and our ‘bliss’ may be hydra-headed. As we work with the pages, we are often urged in new directions.”
This is true of my life now; these pages help me to make decisions in my life that I previously let unfold. They help me to format what I’m thinking and clear out the rubbish so I can cope with what is thrown at me during the day. They have taken me in some new directions I never thought possible and that’s nice. I embrace this moment each morning bleary-eyed or not.
2) Go outside
I step outside my back door (whatever the weather), I stand, look up to the sky and I say thank you. Just a quiet thank you to the universe for being here. I take three big expansive breaths, raising my arms, and taking it all in—smelling everything, hearing everything and I just feel glad to be alive.
Some mornings this is harder than others. Some days you feel less glad to be alive, to be outside when it’s raining or blowing a hoolie. You can feel weird doing it. I live on a typical housing estate in England and you get the occasional look from someone’s bedroom window.
I have no expert advice regarding this, I just felt it was right for me. I had been avoiding life and it just seemed to ground me, guide me and make me think about what I had to be thankful for. I love the outdoors though so maybe it’s not for everyone.
3) Drink Lemon Juice
I drink lemon juice in the morning—every morning. I suffer from autoimmune disorders and I did some homework, looked at functional medicine techniques and this came up again and again in my research. Most of the advice was regarding keeping your body alkaline and improving digestion.
I read lemons are an incredibly alkaline food. Yes, they are acidic on their own, but inside our bodies they’re alkaline (the citric acid does not create acidity in the body once metabolized). I also like the fresh taste of lemons and I couldn’t begin my day without them now.
Never for long and mostly chanting Om. I read about chanting and a Reflexologist had told me this may help calm me. This vibration caused when chanting Om is thought to be the same vibrational frequency found throughout everything in nature. As such AUM (as it is pronounced) is the basic sound of the universe; by chanting it we are tuning into that sound and acknowledging our connection to nature and the universe. The vibrations also have a physical effect on the body by slowing down the nervous system and calming the mind.
This is a lovely part of my morning. I just get to sit and not think and really connect to my body and the earth and all that it has to offer. It really makes me feel at one with the world.
It wasn’t easy and I still don’t love getting up earlier, but all of these activities help me and I feel I am a happier, healthier person both physically and mentally for carrying them out every day. I’ve been taking better care of myself since I started doing this, and that can’t be a bad thing.
Anyone can have a morning ritual and it doesn’t matter what it is. It could be sitting quietly with your first cup of coffee, taking in a sunrise or heading out for a walk. It’s the connection to the day, the openness of a new day dawned and what that may bring. It makes you feel glad and a bit more excited at what may happen other than dreading the whole thing and just fighting through it.
If it worked for me, it can work for anyone.
Author: Emma Toms
Image: elephant on Instagram
Editor: Travis May