Spiritually speaking everything is interconnected and our actions can have ripple effects on things around us. In Holistic self care, that concept is applied to our habitual patterns. How we treat ourselves, is connected to how we feel about ourselves and what we learned in childhood, thus creating our habits. If we want to change our habits, then a healthy morning routine may be the gentlest first step towards self love.
Fall brings a huge shift, not only in the weather but also in our routines and our body. Making the transition from hot long days to shorter days can be filled with seemingly endless tasks of cleaning, organizing and adjusting to changes in work or school routines.
For many of us, change can bring mixed feelings of sadness, fear, excitement or frustration and irritation. Given the pressures of our economy where change is the norm, rather than an event, our body and mind faces continuous mental and emotional stress as we are expected to adjust quickly to new technology, rapid inflation and climate change. Developing our resilience and learning ways to cope effectively despite change is important because our brain and our body does better when things are consistent, we sleep at the same time and eat healthier foods at regular mealtimes. However, creating consistent structure is hard if we feel stuck and overwhelmed. Our behaviours can get stuck in a chicken and egg kind of loop, into a rut of ‘not enough time/resources/money’ . This same tendency to repeat patterns can be positive for us, because our brain is a bit like Fido the dog 🙂 and we have the privilege of setting its direction. Neuroscience tells us, our brain is constantly trying to solve problems, so why not give it a problem it can solve for us while we relax and get on with our lives?. If you have ever woken up with racing thoughts, rumination or you tend to overthink you may find that morning routines helps open up different possibilities That’s because our brain listens to us as much as we listen to it :). If we start out the day with a couple of positive habits, our brain continues on that track.
Our brains are freshest in the morning after a night of hopefully good quality sleep. Whatever we do in the morning tends to set the tone for the day. We can use that fact to create more successful outcomes for ourselves over time with less investment on time and energy – a basic rule of efficiency and seems to be tendency of the brain.
Here are some ideas about small consistent morning rituals that take less than 5 minutes and minimum energy, that could get you further towards your end goal, be it wellness or productive use of your time.
First, rate your morning energy on a scale of 0 to 10. Do you wake up with aching joints, racing thoughts and a heavy feeling? if so, your morning energy could be ranked at below 5 at this time. You may do better by starting a routine that energizes and heals. If you wake up before the alarm goes off, and have nervous energy to burn in the morning that could be rated 8-9.
Below are ideas for low energy and high energy morning routines.
Low Energy Wake – Up Routine
Low Energy Routines are helpful through depression cycles, recovery, winter or grieving loss. Their purpose is to provide a sense of structure and some energy/motivation.
Your morning routine would start from the night before and it would be a more mindful routine, allowing space for processing and self compassion. Here is a sample routine that can be adjusted for your needs.
- Ready a glass of water with 1tbs apple cider vinegar or lemon juice beside your bed (to stimulate your digestion in the morning).
- If you use essential oils, keep your diffuser ready with scents such as patchouli, wild orange, on-guard or peppermint.
- Instead of a typical alarm to wake up, try waking up to your favourite music, something uplifting is best.
- Make small movements to warm up your body, before getting out of bed.
- If your body feels cold and heavy, make sure you have your slippers and a warm wrap close at hand.
- After using the washroom, drink your water and start your diffuser.
- Practice an affirmation. Something you can believe can be more helpful on difficult days, or even acknowledging how it feels can bring a sense of detachment from it. If gratitude is too hard, you can start with awareness. “I am aware of the flow of life”. ” I am aware of my breath”. “I am aware of myself and others”.
- Leave your bed and make your bed.
- Shower and dress. There might be days where this is too much to ask from yourself. Be kind to yourself on those days and know that kindness means different things on different days. Sometimes the kindness could be to sleep until noon, other days it might be to join a yoga class.
- Review your tasks for the day. Prioritize the most demanding task first. You may need to break it down into smaller tasks. Attempt 1-3 tasks.
- Avoid using your phone until 1-10 are completed. This can mean utilizing your energy for the most important things in your life.
Higher Energy Wake – Up Routine
High Energy routines are helpful in times where we feel relatively stronger. They are helpful for healthier and younger people. They can help with enhancing resilience and focus.
The purpose of high energy routines is to reconnect with our awareness, ground ourselves and sustain our energy.
Below is a sample Higher Energy Morning Wake Up Routine.
- Upon awakening, while still in bed, practice affirmations that energize your intentions.
- Drink upto a litre of plain or infused water (ginger, mint, cucumber etc).
- Make your bed. Start your diffuser if you would like to use essential oils for mood management.
- Shower and dress.
- Practice a high vibration guided meditation.
- Review your tasks for the day and prioritize as per your needs.
- Avoid using your phone until 1-6 are completed. This can mean creating space for your most important goal and sustained focus.
“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.”- J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows