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I never used to have a morning routine. In the past, I just woke-up when my alarm went off, sometimes a few minutes before, and stayed in bed until I absolutely had to get up.
From then, I rushed to get the kids ready for school, get dressed, and get out the door on time. It all went by in a blur and sometimes felt like a complete mad dash. It was exhausting!
By the time I got to work I often felt like I’d already done a half day’s work. I also felt rundown a lot, off-balance and frequently sad.
In fact, I dreaded mornings because there was just so much to be done and so little time.
It didn’t help that, more often than not, I was completely sleep deprived so by the time it came time to get back up and do it all over again, I was running on empty.
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There was a time when I cried in the morning in the shower just about everyday.
I was just so tired. There was just so much to do. I just knew that the day was going to suck. I needed coffee.
And, fuck, I couldn’t even put my underwear on before there was a knock on the door of someone wanting something!
There was important information that just could not wait. I needed to hear important things such as, “Mommy, I just want to let you know I’m not wearing this dress as a dress; I’m wearing it as a shirt.”
Or I need to help solve the mystery of the always missing hairbrush, which was more often than not, the last place it was used — in the kids’ bathroom!
The world just seemed…. cruel and harsh. Woe is me, was my morning song. And I had it on replay.
One day, and I can’t recall when, I had enough of the pity-party. I had been reading awesomely inspiring blogs by life coaches and feel good gurus and noticed one thing in particular – they all had rituals. They had rituals for being thankful, and rituals done on Sundays.
And just about every one of them did something in the morning, every morning, to make sure that they felt good. Like her, and her, and her too.
With nothing to loose because, hell, I was already crying in the shower pretty much every morning and that clearly was not working, I decided that perhaps I needed to start my morning off a little better.
Gone where the days when I could get up at 5 a.m. and rush off to the gym, or wake-up and leisurely stroll around the house taking as much time and care as I wanted to get ready without anyone else to think about, so what could I do?
I did the easiest and most simple thing that wouldn’t require too much movement (don’t want to wake a sleeping baby!) and didn’t require too much of anything.
I started meditating.
Before I even got out of the bed, I would meditate. At first, it was difficult to calm my mind. I had trained myself to immediately jump up and start going through my daily “to-do” list so that was my natural inclination. But, I kept at it. I would set a timer and slowly up the time.
By the second week, I was at 10 minutes. My mind was quieter and, lo and behold, my days seemed better!
I felt happier in the morning and I hadn’t even had coffee! Imagine that!
I slowly started to incorporate more into my morning routine and realized that having morning rituals that go beyond having a cuppa jo’ is a way of practicing self-love. We should start our days from a place of being connected to ourselves and by loving ourselves first.
I will admit, this required scheduling in time for me to do this. It means getting up a little bit earlier. My baby still does not sleep through the night so giving up a few extra minutes of sleep is HUGE for me. But so worth it.
My current routine looks like this:
1. Morning Meditation – I aim for 20 minutes. I can’t always get a full uninterrupted 20 minutes, but I do what I can. If for some reason Lovebug wakes up before me, I do a shower mediation (explained below). Something is better than nothing.
2. Journal – I keep a journal next to my bed. After I meditate, I journal. I don’t aim for a page count. I just write. Even if I can’t meditate, I try to journal. This is something that can even be done with a toddler calling out, “Wake up,” to everyone in the house. (Well, really she says, “Way-bup,” but you get the idea.) I make sure to include gratitude in my journal entry in some way, and ask the Universe to help guide me to be of service. I feel like by asking to be of service I am setting a positive intention for the day – to be the Love I want to see in the world.
3. Sing – Everyday I sing the “good morning” song to Lovebug right after I wake her up or right when she wakes up. Since I’m away from her all day, it’s nice for both of us to have a quiet moment together.
4. Oil Pulling – This is something I have great spells of doing and then can go a week without doing it. Oil pulling is a way to help detox the body and is good for oral health. I do it while cooking breakfast for the kids or packing lunches. I nod or write down instructions if I need to interact with anyone and by now everyone is used to me doing it. Being a mom means I’m a multi-taking rockstar!
5. Shower Meditation – I always do a shower meditation even if I’ve already done my 20 minutes. It’s like a feel good insurance policy! This is very quick. I simple take three minutes and close my eyes and breathe. I imagine that the water is white light washing over me and through me and washing anything icky away. When I open my eyes I usually do a little Beyonce shimmy to remind myself that being in my skin is pretty awesome, then I turn off the water and get out feeling good!
6. Drink Warm Water With Lemon – I usually do this on the way out the door or as I’m making my green smoothie. It takes a few minutes and makes my body feel good. If I’m feeling extra spicy, I may add a little cayenne. If we’re out of lemons then I’ll just drink plain water. The reason I drink warm lemon water is to help hydrate and alkalinize the body. It is said to help aid with digestion, energy levels and can help if you have problems getting things “moving,” if you know what I mean.
And that, folks, is my busy mom morning ritual recipe for a kick ass day!
It does not take a lot of extra time. I only get up like 30 minutes earlier and some of the things can be done while I’m doing other things, like getting Lovebug dressed or cooking breakfast.
The change in my mood and overall happiness has been astronomical. I feel good pretty much every morning. Even if I initially wake up in a funk, I usually shake it off by the time we’re out the door. I don’t cry in the shower or feel sorry for myself, and I’ve noticed increased energy.
Since I feel better in the morning, that means that more of my days feel better and happier. I am more present. I feel in control and that mornings, which used to feel frazzled and like another job, are now joyful.
You can play around with your routine and see what works for you. At one point, I tried doing Sun Salutations (yoga) but that took too much time and I just wasn’t digging how tight my body was and how forced the movements felt. So, I trashed it.
Here are a few things you can do to get a morning ritual going that’ll up your energy and the quality of your days:
- Listen to music and dance in the shower while you suds up.
- 50 squats while you brush your teeth.
- Dry brushing before your shower.
- Listen to personal development or audio books while you cook breakfast or make your coffee.
- Go into your backyard and practice grounding (touching your bare feet to the Earth).
- Make a gratitude list of three things that you’re thankful for.
- Look in the mirror and tell yourself “you’re gorgeous,” or “i love you,” or “you’ve never been more beautiful than you are today.”
- Check out your naked body in the mirror after your shower and focus on a part of your body you love for two minutes.
- Make your hallway a catwalk and strut up and down after you get dressed channeling your inner Naomi Campbell (but keep your hands to yourself!).
- Pick a morning theme song and sing it.
Do you have morning rituals?