“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” Buddha
When I wake up in the morning, I give Reiki to myself while I’m still in bed. I get up, check my phone for important messages (but don’t reply unless it is urgent), drink a glass of water, and head to the living room to my “morning ritual” chair. I set the alarm for 15 minutes, and then I pray and meditate while giving more Reiki to myself and sending Reiki to others. While having breakfast, I read something inspiring. I end my morning practice by setting an intention for the day. I spend the next hour either coaching by phone or doing work on my computer. An hour after breakfast, I usually have it scheduled in my calendar to move my body. It used to say “exercise” and I’ll tell you in a little bit why it now says “move my body”.
Am I totally consistent with this practice every morning? No, I’m not.
Do I honor my morning practice every day? Yes, I do.
Let me explain.
It has been clear to me for many years that starting my day with a morning practice is important and makes my day better. Some of my past mistakes were fitting too much into my morning practice, trying to do it perfectly or not doing it at all, and expecting my morning practice to be squeezed into my busy scheduled by itself.
Here are 4 rules I developed to help me (and you) be successful with your morning practice:
- Remember you’re human, so make a realistic plan.
- Let go of perfectionism.
- Schedule your morning practice time in your calendar.
- Be flexible and make it fun so you look forward to doing at least part of the practice. This way you’ll do it because you want to and not because you must.
Here’s an example of why flexibility is important. When I first intended to exercise every day, I didn’t stay consistent with it for long. There was always something more important to do. So I made a list of different ways I can move my body and support my health: a walk in the park, mindful stretching, Gyrotonic exercises (which I love), and, of course, exercising at the gym, following 7-minute exercise App on my phone.
What is non-negotiable for me is whether to move my body every day. What’s negotiable is when I do it, how long I do it, and where it happens.
Between coaching, teaching, speaking, creating programs and managing the business, my schedule is very busy and my work days are sometimes very long. One of the things I’ve learned is that I can only be in true service to others when I take care of myself. I’ve also learned that when I make time for my morning routine and I actually do it every day, it makes my day better. I am more centered and focused, less reactive, and calmer.
5 Morning Practices to Make your Day Better
The Ease Practice
Make time to transition into the day with ease. Understand and respect the importance of creating a sacred time in the morning where you start your day, allowing yourself to be a human being before shifting gears to become a human doing.
Many women I talk with try to fit too much into their days and end up getting frustrated and overwhelmed. They run all day long, rushing and stressing, and they often feel divided into a million small pieces. It is fascinating to see how they transition from one role to another and from one task to another so much better once they allow themselves to transition into their day with ease.
Remember the flexibility rule? Your Ease Practice might be having a cup of coffee while reading the paper. Mine is having a cup of herbal tea while reading something inspiring. Design an Ease Practice that you will look forward to.
The Mindfulness Practice
Develop and maintain a mindfulness practice.
Start small. 5 minutes every day are better than 30 minutes once a week. While my mindfulness practice includes meditation, self-Reiki, and prayer, yours might look completely different. Your mindfulness practice might include yoga, journaling, or scripture reading. Be flexible and try different things until you find the formula that works for you. You can practice mindful eating, mindful walking, or mindful stretching. You can choose to spend a few minutes coloring mandalas or chanting affirmations mindfully. There are endless ways to practice mindfulness. Starting your day fully present leads to additional balanced moments throughout your day.
The Movement Practice
Move your body every day. Period. Just do it! The good news is that the more you move your body, the more you want to keep doing it. If you exercise in the morning, get up early enough to finish breakfast at least one hour before your workout. Remember the second rule about letting go of perfectionism? Most people I coach fail to exercise because they try to go from zero to 60. Start small. Move your body in any way you choose for 20, 15, even 5 minutes. Do it every day. An hour after breakfast doesn’t work for you? This is where flexibility helps. Schedule time to do a moving activity after work and just stretch your body for 5 minutes in the morning. Take a 15-minute walk during your lunch hour. Whatever works for your personality, schedule, and lifestyle, come up with a plan and just do it!
The Inspiration Practice
If you are a master of to-do lists, you might get a small anxiety attack every time you look at your long to-do list. If you’re not the to-do list type, your anxiety might be even greater. It is draining to live your life like it is one huge to-do list. You want to make sure there is something you read or hear every day that inspires you, and there is no better time than the morning. Getting inspired during your morning practice lifts your spirits and makes you feel good. Make a playlist of inspiring songs and gather a few inspiring books in your morning practice basket. Read something or listen to an inspiring song. It will make it easier for you to stay in an uplifted place throughout the day.
The Spiritual Practice
“Life is a dance between making it happen and letting it happen.”~ Arianna Huffington.
The word “spirituality” often reminds people of negative religious experiences. Spirituality does not necessarily mean worshiping at religious institutions. If you practice a certain religion and it makes you feel good – keep doing it, and find a way to connect with your religious practice for a few minutes during your morning practice. If you don’t have a specific spiritual practice, develop one. Your spiritual practice might be staying connected with the divine, with source energy, universal energy, spirit, higher power, or God. Whatever it is, just make it part of your morning routine.
Developing and maintaining a morning practice can make your day and your life better. It might surprise you, but spending intentional time in the morning bringing ease into your day makes you feel more centered and grounded, less reactive, and more at peace throughout your day.
What practice from the five I shared here are you going to bring into your morning routine?