Quick! What’s the first thing you say to yourself when you wake up in the morning? What’s your typical morning ritual?
A few years ago, I was having lunch with a friend who, like me, is a seasoned meditator and a mindfulness teacher.
We were surprised to learn that the first thing we both did when we woke up in the morning was to either sigh or sort of, well, groan.
This is not something I’m particularly proud to share. But I do because, if WE are doing this every morning and we have a regular meditation practice, which is supposed to help us get all Zen and sh*t – what’s going on with the rest of humanity?
Create a Calm Start to Your Day With a Soothing Morning Ritual
Amidst the ongoing challenges raised by COVID, it’s more important than ever to do what we can to bring some peace and calm into our daily lives.
Anyone see the piece in the New York Times about women losing their minds? The Times even set up a phone line for women to call in and release their stress. “Hundreds responded with shouts, cries, guttural yells, and lots and lots of expletives.”
These responses are indicative of how so many of us are feeling.
Here’s the thing. You CAN practice some better morning habits and they WILL change your perspective on your day. I know, because I actively began practicing them the day after the embarrassing lunch reveal.
Follow These 5 Simple Steps to Create a Soothing Morning Ritual:
You don’t have to do all of these things but adding a few to your routine will make a difference.
1. Wake Up Earlier
No one wants to hear this one, but get up 15 minutes earlier. You need a little bit of “you” time and attention to follow through on your new, positive morning self.
Even before you get out of bed, still yourself and do three rounds of calming breath.
You can vary the count depending on your own breath patterns, but basically just breathe in for three and out for six, or in for four and out for eight.
The breath should be quiet and slow. This breath has a calming effect on your nervous system and will immediately bring you to a calmer place.
Practice self-care all day with these 5 Self-Care Rituals to Boost Your Mood (And Keep It There!)
Do a few simple stretches in bed.
I struggle with lower back pain when I’m stressed so I raise one knee to my chest, then the other. I will place one ankle on my right knee and pull in my right knee. I extend both legs to the ceiling and rotate my ankles.
Basically, I’m just waking my body up and at the same time appreciating the simple fact that I have a body that I can stretch and move.
See if you can notice where tension resides in your body and then do some simple stretches before you get out of bed. Your body will appreciate the simple act of quiet, intentional movement.
Before coffee, before checking email/phone, etc., I go to my meditation cushion and I meditate. Every. Single. Day. Whether I want to or not. Whether I think it’s “working” or not. I go and I sit and I practice mindfulness meditation.
You can do the same. All you need to get started is a quiet place where you can be assured some privacy, something to sit on (either a meditation cushion, a yoga bolster, or a chair) and a way to keep time.
Then find a comfortable seated position, close your eyes if that’s comfortable for you, and begin to quietly notice your natural breath. If your mind wanders (and it will!) just patiently return to your breath. Over time, you will notice more and more space and ease in your practice.
Prefer a Guided Meditation? We Do Too! Check Out These Online Meditation Offerings
YA Classes by YogiApproved offers meditation classes too! Check out some of our most popular meditation classes below.
5. Find Gratitude
I also practice “three things journaling.” Every morning I write down three things that I am grateful for.
It can be as simple as hot, strong coffee or the feel of the pen in my hand, or as deep as my love for my family. The point is – I am taking the time to just notice a few good things. Every day. Just for a bit.
Make sure you have a space with your journal and a pen handy, grab a cup of tea or coffee, and then quietly bring your awareness to the space around you, your thoughts, maybe your plans for the day. And bring in an attitude of gratitude. You will feel your heart lighten.
Set the Tone for Your Day With a Healthy Morning Ritual
That’s it! No big commitment, no crazy rituals. Just a few simple practices that you can slip into even the most hectic, sleep-deprived morning.
May you wake without grunting, groaning, or sighing.
Now, work on your evenings too with these 10 Nighttime Rituals to Reduce Anxiety and Improve Your Sleep