And no - I'm not talking about the splits. We're talking about how to make your morning routine work for you!
Ok, so we all know that the way we start our morning can massively impact the rest of our day. For me, I compare it to the ‘first impression with people’ concept, and how it definitely impacts how you feel about them, but it isn’t everything. Even bad first impressions can be reversed. I think our mornings and the rest of our day is a little like this. So, let's go in to this with a little less pressure on our mornings. But, hey - why not give ourselves the best possible shot and have a great morning as often as we can.
Chances are you’ve read about the importance of a morning routine, a perfectly crafted routine, 100% guaranteed to kickstart your day the best possible way. Well, as much as I think structure can work for a lot of people, I think there are often times a rigid structure can get in the way. I’ve been there, striving for that kickass morning, but something happens (heck, life has happened), and it's all gone to pot. The morning routine doesn’t transpire and you feel like a terrible failure which leads to a downward spiral. With our busy lives, unpredictable schedules, and maybe kids/pets, a thousand distractions can throw us off track.
I am offering an alternative option to explore. Instead of a structured ‘Morning Routine’, how about some ‘Morning Inspiration’; A list of things that you know shift your mood, make you feel good and get you mentally/physically ready for a great day. A list, that's it - no set timings or order or structure. This allows you flexibility. Somedays you do all of them and maybe others you just do one. You can make it work around your life and your schedule. Maybe you write these things on a post-it on your fridge (my personal favourite), maybe you note them in your phone, maybe you just have the list stored away in your mind. Wherever it is, it's there - ready to provide inspiration and motivation.
So what’s on the list? I think we all need a little something different, and really the possibilities are endless. But, I’ve made a list of some key things that I think are really powerful.
So maybe this is just 1 minute, where you close your eyes and slow down your breath. Thats it. Maybe you do one of With The Flow’s guided meditations (obviously my recommended choice ;)). Maybe it's something different. But however it looks, the power of stillness is MASSIVE. You can guarantee that once the day gets going and things get busier (work starts/kids wake up/however it looks) - finding that stillness will only get harder. So if possible, take the opportunity to do it in the morning.
Get your body moving. Maybe you get on your yoga mat. Maybe you dance to your favourite song. Maybe you walk the dog. It doesn’t really matter what it is, make a conscious choice to MOVE! Do it with awareness, appreciation for your clever body, and let it bring you joy!
For me there is something so great about getting outdoors - come rain or shine, its the best way to make you feel alive, awake and ready! There’s loads of sciencey clever stuff about the effect sunlight exposure for the eyes has on your brain (*check out the Huberman Lab podcast, episode 24 to learn all about it). But basically getting outdoors and being in sunlight early on in the morning (even when it's cloudy) helps you be more productive, helps the circadian rhythm, and brings a positive start to your day.
This has looked different for me throughout my life. Sometimes I’ve chosen to write a gratitude list as I sip my morning tea. Other days I’ve chosen to do a gratitude meditation (and this is great because you get your stillness and your gratitude rolled in to one - BONUS). But maybe it is just a case of looking at that post-it list on the fridge, seeing ‘gratitude’ written, and in that moment thinking of one thing you're grateful for.
These are some of my favourite ones, but get creative - the list is yours.
I hope your mornings are full of joy - but if they aren’t, remember it isn’t the be all and end all. We have the power to change the course of our day at any point.