Recently I’ve talked with several people about their morning routines. My mother lived with me for 10 years, and she was the queen of the morning routine. She settled into her “nest” with a cup of tea. Her nest changed each time we moved, which was pretty often as a military family. Sometimes it was in her bed, sometimes in a chair with her feet up on an ottoman. She always had three morning books going at one time. One was always Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. All of the books were uplifting, so they put her in a positive frame of mind.
I would be running around like a crazy person getting the boys ready for school, and she was an ocean of calm who refused to allow any big waves in her peaceful morning. She was one of the most positive people that I’ve ever known.
I recently participated in a virtual retreat for female entrepreneurs by successful businesswoman Grace Lever. She described her morning routine, and it was very similar. Grace gets up at 5:30 am and sits with her tea in meditation and prayer. Then she does 10 minutes of intense exercise with a German model named Pamela Reif. After her tea, she drinks a big glass of water. Her routine takes about an hour.
My sister has recently caught the Tony Robbins fire. Tony jumps into cold water first thing and then does some breathing and mindset exercises. Like Mom, he has an emphasis on positivity and gratitude. You can follow along with him here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faTGTgid8Uc&feature=youtu.be
I find that my days and my life go better when I have a morning routine. If I am not firm about the time that I am getting up and what I am going to do first, I sort of meander into the day. The lack of a plan also leaves me with a less than positive attitude. I feel bad because I have lost my most productive part of the day.
I will admit that COVID-19 has allowed me the time and space to lose my motivation and any semblance of a morning routine – and I’m tired of it! Discomfort is the greatest motivator, and I am definitely uncomfortable with starting my day in a sluggish way.
When looking for a solution, it’s always a good idea to start by looking at what has worked before. In the past, I have felt the most productive when I set the alarm for 5:30 am like Grace and immediately get up out of bed. The next important step is that I didn’t go back to bed! It’s such a temptation to go to the bathroom and crawl back under the covers. During my most productive time, I immediately got out of bed and shuffled to the dining room to work on my first online course.
Like Tony, I also like pausing before my feet hit the floor and thinking about things that I am grateful for. Then I think about what I want to accomplish that day and see myself doing those things with grace and ease. Tony also does a variation of that. Then I remind myself that the Universe supports me in all that I put my mind to. I firmly believe that God helps those who help themselves by taking steps toward a goal.
I have started drinking celery juice every morning. I pull out the juicer and juice one or two bunches of celery. The tinnitus that I’ve had since high school abates if I am consistent about drinking celery juice. I heard about the benefits of celery juice from The Medical Medium. He may or may not be your thing, but the plant-based diet that he advocates has helped me a lot.
I am also a water proponent. The celery juice works better on an empty stomach, so I drink a big glass of water about an hour before the celery juice. Coffee comes after that. Several studies recommend drinking coffee an hour or two after you wake up. (Our natural cortisol levels are highest in the morning. Cortisol gets us up and moving and if we double dose with coffee, the result can be anxiety. Cortisol levels fall off around 9:30 so that’s when coffee would be most helpful.)
I am not much of an exerciser in the morning. I like to get work done when I am mentally fresh. I do a few stretches in bed and while sitting on the edge of the bed, but that’s about it for the morning.
What helps me most is deciding the night before on exactly what I am going to do in the morning. It saves me from dithering, which is such a time-waster for me. I am an advocate of starting your morning routine the night before. I find that my brain works on stuff while I am asleep, and I wake up with some fabulous ideas.
Breathing, water (with or without lemon), meditation, prayer, loving kindness meditation (oooh, I might add that one), setting a positive intention, stretching, journaling, and exercise are all great ideas for a morning routine. The key is to decide and do it. No dithering allowed.
So here is my new plan:
- Alarm goes off at 5:30 am.
- Immediately drink a big glass of water or lemon water.
- Do some easy stretching in the bed and then on the edge of the bed.
- While sitting, I think I will try a variation of Tony’s routine, which will include some fast breathing, gratitude, the loving kindness meditation, and visualizing the tasks of the day in a positive way.
- Work until 6:30, and then juice some celery and drink it.
- At least another hour of uninterrupted work.
- Easy breakfast. (My favorite is fruit crumble that I make up in big batches. Delicious!)
- Coffee break around 9 am, and I am done with the morning routine!
What you do doesn’t matter as much as doing it consistently. Great leaders are positive and have enough self-discipline to follow through on plans that they know will help them move forward. A morning routine is great practice for emotional intelligence and a wonderful foundation for the feelings of accomplishment that come from achieving meaningful goals. I am in!
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