I’m a recovering workaholic who used to be totally ignorant of my most valuable resource, my health.
I wore my workaholism like a badge of honor.
I was in constant competition with myself and didn’t even consider there was another way to exist.
I was winning! But it came at a cost.
I did everything “right.” I proved myself successful in the ways most people define success like making more money and fancy job titles. What happened next was not just one thing but a series of moments of enlightenment that made me realize I had everything I was supposed to want, but I wasn’t happy.
One of those moments that woke me up was being in a hit and run at the age of twenty-five. I had to stop working because I was broken. I had a lot of time to lie there and ponder the “why” of things. I went through existential angst. I questioned everything, such as Who Am I? Why am I here? What’s it all for? Who’s it for? Why am I doing the things I do?
In other words I woke up.
If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up. ― J.M. Power
We all have unfulfilled dreams–the thoughts about what we could do if only… But the truth is you make your life and no one else makes it for you. Self-care first thing in the morning sends a message to the universe that you see yourself as worthy. That means prioritizing yourself and making time for healthy morning rituals and routines.
Life is getting up an hour earlier to live an hour more. ― Unknown
To be honest, I feel like this is a massive understatement. Because I feel like when I wake up an hour earlier, I end up with 5 more hours in the day. Instead of feeling guilty for making me time it’s exactly this quiet time that fills me up to have more to give those around me at home and at work.
REMEMBER You Can’t Pour From an Empty Cup – #SelfCare First
The word for today is AWAKE.
How we wake up sets the tone for the day ahead. Here are some helpful rituals to consider incorporating into your mindful mornings.
1. Avoid technology
2. State a positive affirmation
3. Set your intention for your day
5. Read something inspirational
6. Make your bed
7. Move your body
9. Drink plenty of water
10. Eat food that makes you feel good
This is really, really big for me. The convenience of using my phone as my alarm clock makes it easy for me to roll over and grab my phone so I can scroll mindlessly through Facebook or Instagram while I wake up. This starts me off on the wrong foot for so many reasons.
When I make the choice to scroll social media network, I allow the energy of others to affect my own energy before my day has even started.
Same goes for checking work related emails from bed. This sets into motion a reactive way of entering the day that can cause me to feel overwhelmed and hurried before I’ve gotten out of bed. Going to my laptop to check in with work before I’ve had any time to move my body or journal leads to getting sucked in and running out of time to stretch or even do a two minute brain dump of my thoughts for the day.
There are just no positive benefits of checking your phone first thing in the morning. Try to leave it aside for the first hour of your day. Also consider taking a media free day once a week.
STATE A POSITIVE AFFIFRMATION
Start your day with a routine mantra or affirmation you say to yourself to set the tone for the day. My daily affirmation is “I love myself, I am love, I offer love, I receive love.” By choosing my first conscious thought of the day I take responsibility for my emotions with a strong and stable foundation.
My other go to affirmation is to say aloud “Today is going to be the best day ever.”
SET YOUR INTENTION FOR YOUR DAY
It’s easy to live life by accident, feeling as if it is happening to you instead of for you. Making time to set your intention puts a stake in the ground for the type of energy you want to attract to your day. This is about the Law of Attraction.
Like energy is attracted to like energy.
Set a positive intention and you are recruiting the energies around you to support that it manifests. Like any work with intention the more dedicated you are to repeating your intention over a period of time the stronger it becomes. You are strengthening its vibrational frequency.
“The Law of Attraction states that whatever we focus on, think about, read about, and talk about intensely, you’re going to attract more of that into your life.” – Jack Canfield.
Just like we don’t think twice about showering in the morning to physically clean up, think of your morning meditation as a daily shower for your mind. You clean your mind to prepare it for the new intake of information in the day ahead.
Otherwise it’s like eating breakfast off of last night’s unwashed dinner plates. We just wouldn’t do that. If there were just one thing you can do to transform your life to be healthier and happier, it would be to develop a daily meditation practice.
Meditation practice calms your mind, which improves the quality of your life. Practiced in the morning makes it easier to create a consistent routine. Otherwise, you can get to the end of the day and “run out of time” to meditate. Trust me, the secret to success in meditation is doing it in the morning. The other advice I have is to meditate in bed. I won’t let myself leave my bed until I have mediated. It works! From the beginning of the day take back power over your thoughts and outlook on life.
READ SOMETHING INSPIRATIONAL
Just like feeding your body healthy high quality food impacts your overall well-being, so does managing your mental diet. What you read must be nutritious to your mind. Less junk food more superfood inspiration you read first thing in the morning.
MAKE YOUR BED
Even when I travel 70% of the time for work living at hotels around the world I always make my bed. As I make my bed I make up my mind for the kind of day I’m inviting into my life. This one simple thing has changed my life. Try it and see! Be inspired by U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McCraven who clearly shares this same view.
“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed,” U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McCraven
“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day,” he said. “It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.
“Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”
MOVE YOUR BODY
Do anything to increase your heart rate. It doesn’t have to be complicated, you don’t need any equipment. As the blood starts pumping throughout your body, it reaches every vital organ and muscle, including your brain. More blood means more oxygen in the brain that gives it an instant recharge.
Research shows that people who exercise in the morning are far less likely to skip a workout than people who workout in the evenings. Why? Because if we leave it for later in the day, it’s way too easy to make excuses not to exercise.
Having a clear vision of your day saves 40% of your time and makes you more productive. Instead of simply charging into your day going in a million directions take time to get clear on what you’ll do to look after yourself.
I’ve put together a simple worksheet checklist for you to use.
This begins with a “brain dump” that will clear your mind to focus on other things. Whether it’s the small distracting thoughts that can take our attention or bigger, more challenging issues that can at times hijack our thoughts, this will make mental space.
The most common brain dump exercise you’ve probably heard of are Julia Cameron’s “morning pages” or “stream of consciousness journaling.” In it’s most basic form, this is simply waking up, grabbing your journal, and writing down exactly what comes to your head without worrying about whether it makes sense or not. There’s not right or wrong way to do this. You simply write down whatever crosses your mind.
On your worksheet you have some form to this process all organized to a single page.
• Thoughts: This is the square to fill with all the thoughts that are swirling around. The basic part of the brain dump exercise. Don’t over think it, get cluttered thoughts out of your mind and put them on the paper.
• To Do: Write out your key action items for today.
• Gratitude: Take a minute here to write down 3-5 positive things that you’re grateful for; whether it’s a close friend, your morning coffee, your health, or the fact that you have a comfy bed to sleep in every night.
• Top 3 Priorities: From the above “to do” box, choose the three things that you NEED to get done today. This will help give you a little more clarity and focus on how your day is going to go.
• Control: Take those 3 top priorities and designate which are in your control and if there is something out of your control. You can simply write 1, 2, or 3 in this box.
We waste a lot of precious time and energy stressing over things that we can do absolutely nothing about. When instead, we should focus our energy on the things we actually have control over and can take action on.
Take a moment to write out your answers to “Top 3 ways I want to feel today” and ‘what can I do to take care of myself.” Go through your AWAKE Mindful Morning Routine and check off those actions you completed today. Use this checklist to hold yourself accountable.
Sign up for our 7 day Mindful Morning AWAKE Challenge next month.
You must decide where you are going in the evening, if you intend to leave early in the morning. ― Malian Proverb