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Morning rituals that don’t stop with parenthood

Making time to setup your day for success

I’ve been experimenting for years. So much so my wife often jokes about the things I try after listening to podcasts like The Tim Ferriss Show or The Moment with Brian Koppelman.

This has definitely changed over the last few years since becoming a parent. Following rituals and rhythms has become increasingly difficult, I don’t always have the ability to do what I used to do in the mornings, especially on my commute days. I’ve realised I’m not alone in this. The other day it dawned on me there must be thousands, if not millions of others who feel the same.

There’s a lot of advice out there from successful people and the routines that set them up. However, I’ve yet to find many that are practical for a parent of young children. This is especially pertinent for particular parenting styles (my wife and I are what many would call attachment parents). So I’m writing this post for anyone who has young kids, an early commute or both. I hope this inspires rhythms and rituals in your life, ones that help the mind, body and spirit of yourself and those around you.

Getting up
I wake up early, around 5:45am, this allows me to have space before the rest of the house awakens. For 10 minutes after waking, I stay in bed practicing the Alexander techniques semi supine. This lengthens my spine, clears my lungs, relaxes my shoulders and neck muscles and sets me up for the day.

I get out of bed, go downstairs and pour myself a large glass of filtered water. I favour bamboo charcoal filters mixed with a freshly squeezed lemon. This gives me a fresh feeling, energy and many more benefits (described here)

Before leaving the house I make a smoothie blend of walnut pieces, frozen banana, almond milk, medjool dates and hemp protein powder. This is for breakfast later, I got the recipe from an interview I found with Seth Godin and I’ve made it my staple for a while now.

On the commute
If I’m going to the office I commute by train, this is when I use the Headspace app on my phone and do 10 minutes meditation. I find the headspace app really lets me meditate with noise and people in the same space. One day I’ll be seasoned enough not to need the app.

Next, I listen to a whole or part of a podcast – this is usually The Tim Ferriss show, The Moment or Design Matters (see My fav podcasts)

After this I write my journal, either my 5 minute journal or morning pages, I rarely do both on the same day and so choose intermittently. Journaling has had the largest positive change in my life outside of meditation.

Starting work
At work I grab a coffee and use a stand up desk. My phone is under my laptop stand (out of view and on silent) and I use the pomodoro technique to get the most focus I can.

So that’s how I structure my morning to get the best out of my day, be positive around others and grow my thinking.

For those wondering why showering isn’t in my morning routine, I no longer shower every day (a continuing experiment). On days when I’m not working at home I shower in the evening. Evening showers are warm (not hot), morning showers are cold. The benefits of cold showers are amazing and really do work.

For exercise, since becoming a parent I weave into my day in many ways, from walking, cycling, running with our dog or climbing trees and playing with my 4 year old son in the park.

There are days when I don’t get to do all of the above and that’s OK, I keep moving forward and do the best I can. The important thing is that no matter where I am I can choose to follow the rhythms and rituals I’ve put in place. They make me feel good, keep me positive and help me grow as a person.

If you’re interested in starting the day in the best way you can, it’s definitely possible to build rituals and rhythms with a family and long commutes. It takes some experimenting and the realisation that if you don’t achieve some or all of them everyday, that’s OK. Try some, there is no downside.

The book I cite the most for helping keep rituals and rhythms once you’ve found good ones is The Slight Edge

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