You’ve heard it time and time again; how you spend your morning sets the tone for your entire day.
Imagine this: your alarm goes off, you snooze a few times, then immediately check your phone and see work messages, emails, and urgent tasks to do. You haven’t even gotten out of bed, yet your body is in fight or flight mode and your stress levels are rising.
Now here’s a different scenario: your alarm goes off well before your first commitment, your phone is across the room so you get out of bed to turn it off and avoid snoozing. You fill your morning with a few intentional activities before looking at your to-do list, feeling clear and grounded.
Which would you prefer?
We know, it’s not quite that simple; life is often busy, complicated, and unpredictable, especially when we add caregiving or other daily responsibilities on top of the workday. However, the following tips will help you slow down, prioritize what matters most, and cultivate a more mindful morning routine that works for you.
A Mindful Morning Starts the Night Before
Your positive morning routine actually starts the night before, with a proper wind down routine to set you up for a restful night.
We’ve been there; you stayed up late finishing a project, you’re a new parent and an uninterrupted night of sleep is hard to come by, or maybe you struggle with insomnia and regularly struggle to fall asleep no matter how tired you feel.
Taking all that into account, there are a few things to keep in mind each evening. Even before you hit the sack, try avoiding caffeine or other stimulants later in the day. In fact, it can take up to 10 hours for caffeine to fully leave your system.
Additionally, you might want to avoid screens such as phones, TVs, and tablets an hour or two before your desired bedtime. These devices emit blue light which can disrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythm making it more difficult to fall asleep.
The Wake Up
It may seem obvious, but how and when you wake up makes a big difference. Are you scrambling out of bed and rushing to your first meeting or appointment? Or are you unhurried and able to go about your morning in a slow and intentional manner?
If the former example describes most of your mornings, you may want to experiment to see whether waking up earlier can have a positive ripple effect on the rest of your day.
However, the ever-so-tempting snooze button can often prevent us from getting our morning started. One game changing tip? Keep your phone (or whatever you use as an alarm clock) across the room or even in your bathroom at night, so you’re forced to get up and move first thing.
Another key element to add to your wake-up routine: sunlight. Getting exposure to natural light, especially in the first half of the day, does wonders for your energy levels and regulates your circadian rhythm. And don’t fret, it works on cloudy days too!
What Does Mindfulness Mean to You?
Sitting cross-legged on a cushion and meditating for 30 minutes every morning might not be your jam. But if it is, more power to you! Regardless, adding some form of mindfulness to your morning will put you in a more positive and resilient state of mind, allowing you to better tackle whatever the day ahead may bring.
If meditation feels daunting, make it work for you — whether that’s fitting in 5 minutes when you can or putting on a walking meditation while you take your dog out.
There are plenty of other ways to start your day off with more peace and calm. Try playing music that lifts your mood, reading a page or two of a book, journaling, writing a gratitude list, or simply being more present during your everyday morning tasks. The possibilities are endless.
No matter what your morning looks like, we can all find a few simple ways to begin each day with greater intention and ease and, as a result, live a more mindful life.