Starting my day right has made the biggest difference to my new working life. I've been experimenting with different elements to see what suits me and I'm now learning what works for me and what doesn't. I've written out my rituals below and I hope some of them encourage and inspire you to change up your morning so that you have more calm, more energy and more clarity.
Some of the below rituals or actions are to support my mind. Some are to allow to me have a gentle start to the day and some are simply to give myself time first thing in the morning before I get swept away with work meetings, calls and life!
My first suggestion would be to carve out some time in the morning before your actual day begins for YOU. This can be 20 mins, half an hour...even 10 minutes can make a huge difference if you use it well.
There's a great book called The Miracle Morning that talks about how to create positive habits to start your day.
I don't think waking up at 6am suits everyone- I am definitely not naturally a morning person. I do try and wake up at a decent hour but I have accepted that I don't love early starts so when I don't have to, I wake up naturally and start my day when I am ready.
Mine currently looks like this...
I wake up at least half an hour earlier than I need to (at best it is one hour, at worst it is 20 mins or sometimes I use tube time for meditation!)
I do this first thing not only because it sets me up well for the day but also, if I leave it until later, it usually doesn’t happen. There is always something more important to do. So doing it as soon as I wake up means I start the day feeling great, and it’s done.
Also – there is power in picking up your phone and opening a meditation app and NOT social media.
On the days I start with Facebook or Instagram I find myself in a quick downward spiral to scrolling aimlessly and wasting 20 minutes. If you have a good relationship with social media, then I salute you. As a new business owner I find it hard not to compare myself to how far others are progressing. So I find turning on social media later in the day when I have a clear head is definitely better for me.
I sometimes do my meditation lying in bed or I move to some cushions in the spare room so that I am forced out of bed and can't fall back asleep!
I’ve been experimenting with different breathing techniques after some guidance from my yoga teacher Naomi Absalom (find her at Movement for Modern Life or here)
It’s powerful stuff and has made a big difference to my energy levels. It involves slowing down the breath and allowing the rest and digest state to be activated.
Splashing cold water on my face / cold showers
This is new to me and I'm still playing around with this- definitely splashing cold water on my face is an instant wake up and I've been researching more into how it prepares your body for free diving, slowing your heart rate and pulling blood into vital organs into what scientists call “the master switch of life”
I have been having mint matcha tea or hot water and lemon every morning – it feels better to have this instead of caffeine in the morning, although you may have a headache the first few days if you had a lot of coffee to start your day.
I try to get in a short yoga routine or a 10 minute workout in the morning – again first thing before work and life gets in the way. If I do anything longer I leave it for later in the afternoon/ evening as that’s my optimum exercise time. It’s good to experiment and see when yours is- not everyone exercises best in the morning so don’t beat yourself up if you struggle to work out at 6am!
This has been my biggest game changer and now that I do it regularly, I see the difference on the days I don’t.
So what are they? Julia Cameron explains all about them in her book The Artists Date which I highly recommend if you want to reconnect with your creativity.
It is simply writing 3 pages of free text – unconscious writing – as soon as you wake up. Don’t plan it,. Don’t think it, just write. It goes in waves of being hard to think of what to write and having so much to let out onto the page.
If you start and it feels hard, that’s normal. If you are stuck for words, that’s normal. Even if you can write one sentence or phrase over and over – let it go, I hate xxx, it releases stuck emotions that creates space for all the creativity, passion, excitement and ideas to flow.
So there it is. I don't always manage to do all of these - the days I do I tend to have an amazing day where there is time for everything and it feels easy! But even if I manage to get in a few of these, the impact on my day is still huge.
More than anything, it trains my mind to slow down, be calm and look for the positives.
There are so many things you can do for your mindset - not just in the morning! I’ll be writing more on that in the coming weeks – in the meantime you can join me at my wellness session on 'How to create a positive mindset' - it's a short, sweet session in your lunch hour where you can learn top tips to cultivate a healthy attitude to life and all its joys and challenges!