Are you a creature of habit? Do you wake dreading the day ahead? Grab your phone before you even opened your eyes or your feet touched the floor? Does this leave you feeling exhausted, grumpy and stressed? Read on for a little morning musings peppered with small ideas that may bring big changes to how you start the day.
I always loved September. Yes, the time of school holidays, adventure and spending the days outdoors in the sun was over for now, but there was something exciting in the start of the new school year, in the return to routine and structure after the carefree wild summertime.
Sadly for some of us these days, as we have grown up and exchanged school books and homework for a digital device that never leaves our side, the return to work after Summer holiday doesn’t tend to fill us with the same level of excitement.
We often feel like we never left. We live at times of constant attention, ever-present stimulation, and an immediate return for our needs in the wide world of the Internet, and it is becoming harder to step away from our work-life and press a pause button.
Many of us carry our work in our pocket or handbag all the time, hidden, but always waiting for – and sometimes even demanding – our attention, our time and energy, even when we should be on holiday. We believe that things would fall apart if we didn’t regularly check in, and so, quite willingly, we live in a state of constant stress, without even realising it, and we never take a proper break.
In our everyday busyness it is not easy to stay aware of what patterns are taking over our days and create stress. However, it is possible to regain control of some aspects of our lives, even when we are super busy, and for most of us the easiest time to change our routine is in the morning, when even a non-morning person will be able to carve a few minutes for themselves. And what better time to shake things up then September, with its great ‘back-to-school’ and ‘new-start-after-summer’ vibe!
If the first thing you do after waking is to grab your phone and start scrolling and swiping, I invite you to reconsider. As your hand reaches out for your devise, take a deep breath instead, close your eyes, and take a moment, even just a few breaths, to become aware of all that is good in your life right now. By looking at your phone you immediately step into whatever is demanding a piece of you in your life, your to-do-lists, the needs and asks that others may have on you, be it your boss, your Instagram account, or your children. Take a few moments instead to think what you are grateful for. It may be that you are still in bed, enjoying the warmth of your blankets, basking in how gloriously wonderful your bed feels. Luxuriate – even for a short moment – in the cosiness of it all. Notice the sparkly light beginning to filter into your bedroom through the curtains, the promise of a new day. Think about the deliciousness of the fist moments of this new day. The softness of your child’s cheek, the smile on your partner’s face, the feeling of comfort as you will wrap your hands around your morning cup of tea or coffee and inhale the yummy aroma of your drink.
Once you are out of bed and ready to get going, what is your current morning routine? Do you turn on the news and let the stress of our crazy world into your life without giving yourself a chance to wake up, set yourself up for your day so you are ready for the onslaught of the outside world? Do you check your emails while your morning coffee is brewing, and start replying straight away?
Even small changes in our morning may bring feelings of order and space and joy. You could think about the day ahead and write down three most important things that you simply have to do today, while enjoying your morning tea. You might choose to write in your journal, planning your day in more detail, or pour your heart out on the journal’s pages, or compose a poem, if that is where your mind takes you.
You could read or listen to a positive empowering message, or, if the weather permits, you could sit outside for a few precious moments, listening to chirping birds, watching clouds swiping across the sky or appreciate the beautiful flowers growing in your garden. You could sit in meditation for a few minutes, or step onto your yoga mat, feel your feet on the ground and take a couple of poses to get the energy moving.
If you share your morning with other people, your partner, children or your housemates, you could all say three things that you are looking forward to in your day. You could breathe in your favourite essential oil for a couple of minutes, fully enjoying the aroma as it changes with every breath, feeling your inhalations deepen and noticing how the aroma makes you feel.
You could play your favourite song and let yourself dance around your living room in your underwear if that is what fills your heart with joy.
All of these take moments, mere minutes. You do not need to meditate for an hour every day. If you have the time and discipline for this, that’s great! However, if you do not have the time, or the energy, or the discipline right now, start small. The important thing is to start. Take one conscious breath, practise yoga or another physical activity for five minutes, write down one thing that you are truly grateful for.
Find that one thing that most resonates with you, and it will create the biggest change in how you feel right at the beginning of your day, and commit to doing it for the next month. And then let me know how your mornings have changed, and to what glorious days these little changes may have lead in the bigger picture of your lives.
Blanka has been passionately learning about all things natural and alternative since her teens and has been on this exploring journey for almost three decades now. She discoved essential oils back in the 90s, fell in love with raw living foods in the noughties, and played with many other things in between. She is a Kundalini as well as Hatha yoga teacher, enjoys cooking, makes her own beauty products, and is always on a quest to find the best coffee in town.
Originally from the Czech Republic, she now lives with her Husband and a cat called Chloupek in SE London, where she teaches from her cosy yoga studio.