Rather listen than read?
Have you ever felt like the only way that your day could possibly be productive is if you have a big cup of coffee to jolt your system alive?
Your eyes are so groggy and that first walk to the bathroom is very zombie-like. Shuffle, shuffle is the sound of the feet on the floor.
Grumble, grumble as you exert energy to open the bathroom door.
Creak, creak is the sound of your knees as you try to sit down.
With your hair standing in every direction except flat and your body still slightly sore from sleeping all night long, you make your way to the kitchen to fill that 8 oz mug of coffee. Wait, make it 12 oz. Nope, today feels like a 20 oz’er kind of day.
As you stand at the kitchen sink, taking that first sip of piping hot, araomic coffee, you can smell a hint of cinnamon and chocolate wafting up into your nose.
Seriously, how is your body sore from sleeping?
Most people make this the main routine of their morning. Once senses begin to heighten and the jolt of coffee penetrates their brain, it is on to getting the kids ready or watching the morning news or making breakfast. Or maybe you allowed just enough time to get your coffee before you had to jump in the shower so you could start your day on time.
Mornings can be super busy and already feel a bit stressed, but allowing yourself to commit to a routine that can set you up for being at your best is not only a good idea, but it can save your sanity.
There are a ton of tips out there that have been backed by science, showing benefit to having them a part of your first 1-2 hours of the day. That can get overwhelming. The reality is is that you have to choose what works best for you, your time-frame, and your personality. Here are a few key things to keep in mind that will determine if your morning is going to be rocking or stressing you out:
- How much time do you realistically have to commit to? If you are juggling a lot of balls in the air, you may only have time for 30-45 mins of alone time. If this is so, then pick activities that can accommodate that time but give you the most bang for your buck.
- Can you get into a habit of waking up 10 mins earlier? How about 15 mins? How about 30 mins? It is so easy to nuzzle into those sheets and hit the snooze button. But don’t! Start creating a habit of getting out of bed a few minutes earlier. Every week, try increasing that time until you get to your desired wake up time. This will allow you to ease into the new habit, but also allow you to create space for a solid morning routine to occur.
- Do you have a sacred space that you can retreat to? Sometimes we can dive deeper into our self-care and reflection time when we remove ourselves from the everyday and go somewhere special. This is why gyms and yoga studios and coffee shops are so effective in making your habit stickable and you feeling more productive. Set up a sacred spot in your house that is dedicated to your peaceful new habit.
- Have a plan of what you are going to do AND a plan of what you are not going to do. You could have a perfect morning set up, but if you find yourself engaging in reactive sort of activities right from the start, then all of it is for nothing. That is why a “not to do list” is helpful. On that list, you could have “I do not check my email before 11 am,” or “I do not start work before 8:30 am,” or even “I do not check social media before 2 pm.” It is about setting your boundaries for yourself and focusing on what may be driving your productivity and energy into the ground. On the other hand, having a to-do list of what you are going to include in your morning routine is essential. This way it is easy and you don’t waste time fumbling or trying to figure out what you are in the mood for. You all ready are prepared, so you can move right into it.
- Have you communicated your intentions? Other people in your home can not read your mind. Communicating your expectations and your need for quiet, alone time can be helpful. If you would like to not be bothered, unless it is an emergency, while you are taking your time to journal and read and meditate, then spread that communication love. It goes back to setting boundaries and honoring you and your needs.
What can you do in your morning routine to optimize it?
Fueling your mind, moving your body, connecting your spirit, and having a plan for the day are all important to feeling productive and full of inspiration and energy.
But it is also important that you don’t try to do too much at once — that can be overwhelming and exhausting and cause you to drop the habit quicker than it took you to start it! In honor of that, this is a 4-part blog series that will build onto each other so you can start small and build up to a solid routine that sets your heart and energy on fire.
Fuel The Mind
Talk to any expert out there and you probably have already been clued in that your mind and your thoughts and how you approach life’s situations are crucial to how resilient you are. But it doesn’t stop there. It affects your stress levels, your energy reserves, your temperament, etc. When you can get ahold of your thoughts, how you approach your world, and how you talk to yourself, you will be better set up to win your day.
A Healthy Dose Of Brain Food
I have found that there is a 5-step punch to fueling your mind first thing in the morning. Inundating your senses with and flooding your thoughts with positive reinforcements is brain food first thing in the morning. It is the first 20-30 minutes of waking up that your subconscious is the most impressionable. What does that mean? It means that if you are trying to change your thoughts to be more positive or you are trying to tap into a deeper place within your brain, that is when to do it. How can you flood your brain with brain food in this prime time?
- Use music to prime your brain. Although music is typically thought of as a guilty pleasure or pleasant past time, it can actually serve as a potent performance enhancer and an excellent way to quite the negative thoughts and open you up to inspiration. Music has been shown to improve mood, improve exercise performance, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve memory. Put on light meditational music, classical music, or shamanic drumming is an excellent way for you to dive deeper into your internal work.
- Express gratitude. Gratitude is a game-changer for the brain. There is a reason that it is so commonly cited by some of the most successful people as the one thing done to create massive forward movement. You can do it anywhere, anytime, and for free! A regular gratitude practice, whether done in a journal or simply in your mind, has been shown to increase overall physical health, enhance empathy and reduce aggression, improve relationships, improve self-esteem, improve the quality of your sleep, reduce depression, and increase overall life satisfaction and happiness. A few minutes is all that you need to do to cultivate mental change. For example, you can write or state 3-5 things that you are grateful for and why you are grateful for them. The key with gratitude work is to feel the emotion of gratitude and not just say the words.
- Tap into the power of words. Reading the words of inspirational people or even rereading inspirational journal entries of your own can help to retrain your brain for success and inspiration. It is so easy to get stuck in the hum-drum of life’s dramas that sometimes you need to be shaken out of them and reminded of your potential and the potential of your uncreated future. Pick up your favorite inspirational book or quotes and use them to get your mind straight.
- Visualize your day. Once written off as a “woo woo” practice for hippies and aspiring creatives, more evidence shows that a regular visualization practice creates inspiration and energy and forward thinking. The brain does not know the difference between real or not. When you practice visualization and really walk through your mind’s creations, you become better accustomed to thinking outside the box and feeling like you are in control of your future (which you are!).
- Practice positivity. Ever since “The Power Of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale, positive thinking has been touted as the solution to all of life’s problems. Other people state that it is hogwash and unrealistic thinking. According to the Mayo Clinic, positivity can lead to:
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower levels of distress
- Greater resistance to the common cold
- Better psychological and physical well-being
- Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
Interested? Practicing positivity is actually pretty simple — Start by picking a simple daily mantra. For example: “I commit before I am confident. I am going to be amazing today!”, “I’ve got this!”, “I am a confident, consistent, resourceful woman”, or “Today is going to be the best day ever.” It really is about what ever gives you that warm fuzzy feeling with a jolt of inspiration. After you have your mantra, then simply repeat your mantra 3-5 times immediately upon waking up. You can do this in line with your morning routine, exercising, or preparing your coffee to save time. That’s it. No really. That’s all you need to do!
Next week, we are going to talk about moving the body and how to effectively make it a part of your morning routine. You don’t have to spend long periods of morning workouts to see significant benefit, but you will learn why moving the body opens your day for massive amounts of success and energy!
I love inspiration through story-telling! If you liked this article, then you will love my other blogs.
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