Your morning routine might not be something that you’ve ever thought much about. As we have so many demands on our time and we often feel the day doesn’t have enough hours in it, it’s all too easy to get out of bed in the morning and jump straight into the day (after a cup of coffee of course). It’s likely you just might be going through the motions in the morning to get yourself ready, get everyone else up, fed, dressed and out the door. In fact, weekday mornings can be the most stressful part of the day for many people, especially working parents. It surely used to be for me.
For over two decades, I worked for global corporate companies that always seemed to be going through a lot of change or achieving big goals (read – demanding, stressful, long-hours and days etc.) and with 2 children that I had to get to child-care or school each day, my mornings used to be shrouded with frustration and stress. I felt my mornings were a blur from trying to get myself ready before getting my kids out of bed, to dragging them out of bed (they were solid sleepers that never liked getting out of bed early, even to this day as teenagers), getting everyone fed, dressed and out the door, often in a frantic panic trying to get them dropped off so I could get to work by an acceptable time. This meant that I often got to work already frazzled and feeling like I was already half-way through my day when it was only 8am. My days were then filled with back-to-back meetings and long hours at work, which of course, all led me to feeling exhausted and burned out by the time I got home and feeling like I was missing quality time with my kids at night also.
This was until I learned how life-changing establishing an intentional morning routine can be. I went from stressed out and feeling guilty for not being a more patient mother, to a calm and happy mother that enjoyed the morning time with my kids as well as starting my day without the feeling of being a crazy person by the time I even got to work. So, if you are curious as to how I achieved this, read on…
The first decision I made was to listen to positive and inspiring content in the mornings. I would always start my day by checking my work e-mails (uh, hello immediate stress), then I would also turn on the news, as this was conditioning from my childhood that we needed to know what was going on out in the world on a daily basis, so it was always on at news time, every morning and evening when I was growing up. However, I realized the news is rarely filled with positive and happy stories and usually conveys negativity, fear and stories that don’t show the best side of humanity. So I swapped the daily news out with podcasts and audio books. I found podcasts that were uplifting, sharing funny and positive stories, educational and inspired my mind to come up with some great ideas for work and for my own self-development. I started listening to whatever took my interest, whether that was work related, home related or self-related. Doing this alone immediately reduced my stress levels because it gave my mind inspiring things to think about instead of constantly dwelling on how stressed and out of time I was. Even if you aren’t a news watcher in the mornings or don’t currently listen to anything aside you’re your kids watching Bubble Guppies or The Regular Show, I encourage you to try listening to a podcast or audiobook as you get yourself ready and again on the way to work and see if it helps transform your mindset in the mornings.
The second thing I did was meditate. Okay I can hear most of you saying that you’ve tried to meditate, but you just can’t do it properly. I used to think that way too and had tried in the past without much luck. However, once I learned how to meditate properly (thank you Emily Fletcher from Ziva Meditation), it has made a world of different to my stress levels (check out my blog on Meditation Made Easy). Now after 3 years of meditating daily, if I skip a day for any reason, I can feel the difference. I meditate for 15 minutes and I usually do it right after I wake up as I find that is the best time for me to fit it in and its before anyone else is awake. For me meditation has transformed two core things, it’s helped me to be more present and in the moment (mindfulness), especially with my children so my mind isn’t always racing and thinking about everything else constantly while I’m spending time with them. Secondly, it’s helped me maintain a calmer presence overall and not immediately or emotionally react to something that’s just happened. For example, if one of my kids now does something that would have upset me, instead of getting angry or frustrated, I have been able to maintain my cool and not get that rising reaction inside. Another example is at work, if we had a crisis situation, I could keep myself composed and thoughtfully come up with a plan, or even something as small as if a colleague said something that would have triggered me in the past, I was able to breathe through it, not let it upset me and just get on with my day. If you have really tried to meditate and find yourself unable to quiet your mind, try something more somatic such as Breathwork or even Tapping/EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) as these achieve similar outcomes.
The last thing I do is journal and set an intention for the day. I have come to realize how important intention setting is and how it can make a difference to my whole day. Journaling has also been shown to have many benefits in itself and there are tons of different ways to journal, so its always good to feel into what works best for you. However, I’m not someone who can sit for a while and write down all of my thoughts, feelings & emotions. I’ve tried that way of journaling and it just hasn’t worked for me as I need more structure to what I am writing about. So, I created my own journaling prompts for both morning and evening as a way to reflect on my day and each week so I can set myself up for success. These journal prompts cover a few different areas such as, my goals (could be work related or personal), self-care and commitments I’ve made to myself, the limiting beliefs I hold that might get in the way of me reaching my goals, approaches I can use each day to overcome them (e.g. tapping, hypnosis, meditation, breathwork etc.) so I stop subconsciously holding myself back, and most importantly setting an intention of how I want to feel or be while achieving all of these. There is a lot of research that shows the mind-body connection is powerful, so by setting a positive intention and really feeling into it can make a big difference to how our day flows. If you are interested in my specific journal prompts, here is a link to the free fillable PDF download that I’ve created ‘Journal Prompts for Weekly and Daily Success’.
There are many other things you could do in the morning to start your day with a calm mind, such as a quick workout or yoga, enjoying nature with a nice walk etc. but these things I’ve found are the three that have consistently worked for me and I was able to easily incorporate them into my existing routine, which is key for whatever you choose that works best for you. By transforming your existing busy morning routine into one that gives you more time to focus on your own self-care and reduce your stress levels, it will make a huge difference to how you approach the day ahead and start out with a grounded, clear and sharp mind.
If you need additional support or are ready to go deeper, schedule your free breakthrough coaching session where we will explore your vision and goals and uncover your hidden challenges. You can book this free session at www.liveyoursensationallife.com