"Your day is pretty much formed by how you spend your first hour. Check your thoughts, attitude and heart."
Truthfully, I've never been much of a morning person. While neither a night owl, I affectionately joke that I'm an afternoon person. Historically, my early mornings were spent running around like a crazy person trying to do a million things at once; get out of bed (always a struggle), get dressed, put on makeup, fix hair, make breakfast, pack lunch, put dishes away, pick up around the house all while attempting to get out of the house on time to catch the train. I was well acquainted with the snooze button, but would always be kicking myself for not getting out of bed 15 minutes earlier; as I rushed around never getting everything done. Leaving the house feeling frantic and rushed made mornings unenjoyable, to say the least. Sound familiar? I finally started tolerating and eventually enjoying my mornings when I established a solid morning routine.
Make busy mornings a thing of the past by creating a morning routine that works for you.
I recently read something so profound yet so simple a few weeks ago about making choices. The main idea was that everyday, virtually everything we do is a choice. There are very few things we have absolutely no choice about in our daily lives. And even those things we have no control over, we can still chose how to react to them. Most days, we choose to get out of bed, we choose to go to work, we choose to eat healthy or unhealthy, and we choose to be kind or rude to other people. The thing is, we could choose to do the opposite of what we usually choose because it is 100% your choice. You always have an alternative option. The only thing that is required is in fact making a choice.
You can choose to stay in bed all day. You can choose to not go to work. You can choose to eat healthy rather than perpetuating the unhealthy patterns you have been following. You can choose to be kind and compassionate to everyone we meet. Or you can choose to be abrasive and uncaring. You can choose to have an amazing day and treat yourself with love and affection. Or you can choose to have a terrible day, treat yourself poorly and allow yourself to get sick.
Reading that simple fact that I alone have the power to choose how my day unfolds was like an 'aha' moment for me. So while I will never see myself as a morning person I'm making the choice everyday to have an excellent morning.
Choose to start your day with gratitude and peace.
Creating a morning routine is all about figuring out a few things that will ground you, so you'll be left with a sense of peace and calm as you start your day. Now a morning routine does not have to take very long; mine only takes about 15-20 minutes but it makes a huge impact on my mood and outlook for the day. On days I over sleep or just don't take the time I need for myself in the morning, I'm sluggish, foggy and grumpy. Going through my morning routine settles me and allows me to gently wake up as I put myself in a positive and grateful mindset. By doing this it creates a ripple effect that spills into my entire day which leads to more joy and happiness.
- First, I take a few minutes to stretch and easy into wakefulness after the alarm goes off.
- Next, I sleepily head to the bathroom and scrape my tongue (I know it sounds gross but I love it), brush my teeth, and floss. I do this religiously!
- I follow that up with drinking a full cup (8 oz) of water, which gets my digestive system running for the day. Someday's I'll do a glass of warm water with lemon for an added boost of detoxification; but on work days I keep it simple and quick with just tap water.
- After taking care of typical morning activities I find a quite place to sit and meditate. Most mornings I chose to sit in a comfy chair with a blanket. Occasionally, I head outside to the deck to listen to the birds chirp. On work days I set my alarm for 5 minutes; all you need is a few short and sweet moments. I set the alarm for longer (15-30 minutes), on non-work days, or I just sit until I'm moved to come out of meditation. Meditation is a fantastic practice for your morning. It allows you to tap into yourself first thing and find your presence. So often in the morning we are thinking about the never-ending to do list that is our lives and we forget to just be present. By doing this first thing you are allowing your mind a few moments of quite before your day begins.
- I finish up my morning routine by writing in a journal. I jot down whatever feelings and thoughts I am having, list 3 things I am grateful for and choose my affirmation for the day. Even when growing up, I have always loved keeping a diary or journal. So continuing this practice as an adult is so enjoyable for me. We all have so many thoughts swirling around in our heads. So jotting a few down is my way of releasing worries and anxieties that could sabotage my day. Something I have recently added to my journaling is listing 3 things I am grateful for every day. They can be big things or very small things. The idea is to start your day with the mindset that there is so much to be thankful for; in a world that so often focuses solely on the negative. I have found I am more appreciative and positive on days I begin with gratitude. Lastly an affirmation is just a positive phrase that I chose for the day and try to keep in the back o my mind. Something like "I am calm" on days I am expecting to be stressful is super helpful. Just write down your phrase for the day and try to come back to it when you need it throughout the day.
Create your own morning routine by stringing together a few practices that you love.
My morning routine is all about self-care and self-love. By sticking to this routine I am choosing to take care of my body and mind. I am choosing to start the day off in a place of peace. I am choosing to begin my day with gratitude. By making these choices I am able to enjoy my morning and allow the peace and positivity I am feeling to flow into the rest of my day. When coming into my day grateful and calm I find I make better choices as the day goes on.
What is something you love to do every morning?
PS: These gorgeous photos were taken by our amazing wedding photographer Manda Weaver on the morning of our engagement shoot in Ocean City, NJ. I'll be sharing some shots of John and I in another post, but I absolutely could not pass up sharing some of these gorgeous sunrise photos Manda took before we got started. I wish I had a view like this every morning! Check out more of Manda's work here.