It all ends well when it all starts well. Or something like that. Or at least we should try and aim for a good start even when we don’t feel like it.
When I was younger, I’d think that all we needed to do was fix things as they come– tackle and go. The older I got, I realized that this is taking up so much of our energy. And no energy eventually leads to stress.
If you don’t have the energy for doing much, how are you going to get that cortisol down? How are you going to focus and relax?
That’s when I realized I needed a morning routine. We need rituals that would allow us to get in a state of flow early in the day. I find a morning routine to be more important than any evening ritual of self-care. Although I do have an evening self-care guide, it doesn’t go that bad when I don’t follow through. Instead, when we skip our morning routine I find it affects our day ahead, not in a good way.
How did I go about finding what my morning routine should look like? Well, I decided to understand myself better and find out what it is that makes me stress-resistant. That should be our first goal, to know what takes our stress away. I’m not going to write about my early morning yoga routine, or how you should start early morning journaling or goal setting. It isn’t about that. It’s about simple things that will give us simple joy, and perspective, and will make us all feel good.
Take your time with your morning skincare routine.
Maybe you don’t have time to go for a run before work (I could never do this now), or maybe you love your bed too much to rise and shine early. So instead of taking notes of what your days should look like or what you need to tick off that list…invest time to take care of your skin. I know it sounds too vain, but I call it my stress-free massage time. I concentrate on my fingers and moves, I give my face a thorough cleanse, I moisturize, and I shine! Nothing’s going to stress us. Take your time.
How about some Pranayama breathing exercises (controlled breathing)?
Look outside the window, or wander around the house aimlessly and slowly, without looking for something. I know that it’s better to feel grounded when breathing but this early morning routine of walking around and do controlled breathing while on the move or with eyes open, makes it more mindful. It will give you a flow, a much-needed flow. For everything else, there’s morning meditation you can do on your mat for 10 minutes. Give it a try. Use Pranayama but without feeling that you have to stay still.
Mostly random. Every morning I read a few lines of a literature book, something I love, something random, something I rediscover, anything literature. No business books, no self-help books, no mantras, no commitments. We all have schedules and busy agendas so by opening our eyes we already know what we have to do and why. Reading a few lines will give you perspective, which you can use for the rest of your day. It takes the edge off a busy day ahead and it’ll make you resilient to anything that comes your way during the day.
These are the three most important things I’d invite you to try out.
And for those times when we have to start the day already stressed about what we have to do, because we need to tick something off our list fast, or because we have to be somewhere really early…for those days my advice would be to make sure you go back to the “start the day right” routine any time you can later during the day. Now, I don’t know if my sticking-to-this-routine is something that yoga helped me with, I’m not that disciplined after all, but it’s definitely something that changed in me and the way I take care of my reserves. We should prioritize self-care. Life shows you the way. It doesn’t always work, my crazy isn’t tamed that easily, but let’s make sure that we at least start each day on a good note and with good intentions.
I’m sure you have your own goodie moments, I’m sure that if you look deep inside you’ll know what it is that gives you joy and takes your stress away. Maybe it’s not something fancy, maybe you love to mop the floor, maybe you like to feed pigeons, I don’t know. Go back to what you loved doing, go back to what it was before the internet, before social media, before hypes and trends. Start the day your way, and then jump in and enjoy the day’s ride with social media and trends and everything else this time. It’s our times. Live it your way.
Author Bio: Sofia is a (food and fitness) editor and writer, a certified fitness instructor and RYT Yoga teacher.
She holds a master’s degree in Political Science, a former financial product manager who has found that fitness and doing the training you love makes you a better person. She brings a positive energy to all her clients and classes [www.thefitsisters.com]. When she’s not writing about health, fitness, and food, you’ll find her running her content and web-design company in Amsterdam [www.sofiasimeonidou.com]
Originally published in Harness Magazine.
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