By Alexandra Walker
PhD Life Coach and Mindfulness Teacher
We all have our ‘morning personality.’ Some people are natural morning angels who also wake up well. They deliver cups of tea and bright smiles. Some people are morning warriors. They bounce out of bed ready to tackle the day. Some people are morning ghosts. They slip around quietly, and then leave without a sound. And others are like old cars. They take awhile to get going, but then roar once they’re firing.
No matter what style of morning personality we have, we can all wake up well. If our mornings are calm and sacred, we take this energy out into the world. We are clear, patient, responsive and kind. We feel prepared. Here are 9 tips for creating a calm morning routine.
1. The night before: Use a mindfulness meditation as you drift off to sleep…
Calm mornings start the night before, because they generally follow a refreshing and nourishing sleep. To help you drift off to sleep, listen to a guided meditation or try a body scan meditation. A body scan is where we mentally name each body part as we focus our attention on each As you close your eyes, take some deep breaths and start to scan your body. Slowly say to yourself, ‘left toes, left foot, left ankles, left calves, left knee’ etc. all the way around your body. This brings your awareness away from your thoughts and into your body.
2. Have Enough Sleep
According to the Australian Centre for Education in Sleep, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. If you have to wake up between 5-7am, then make sure you are in bed between 9-11pm.
3. Have a Morning Ritual
It’s beautiful to have a morning ritual of our own, even if it only happens a few times a week. Set an alarm before you would normally wake up. This could be five minutes or an hour before. This is your sacred morning time. You can stay in bed and spend the time meditating or visualising the day. You can have a journal by your bed that you write in and record your dreams or intentions for the day. You can make yourself herbal tea that you drink in mindful silence. You can practice yoga. You can go for a gentle walk or run by yourself. This is precious If you have children, it’s beautiful to integrate them into the ritual so they learn to be calm in the mornings. Do some yoga, or sit quietly with them rather than immediately turning on the TV or radio.
4. Avoid technology in the first 15-30 minutes of waking
Technology stimulates and arouses our brain. It makes us believe that we are already at work or out in the world. Checking our emails and social media as soon as we wake up can release stress hormones and adrenaline, rather than keeping us mellow, calm and refreshed. Try to spend at least 15-30 minutes without checking your smartphone or computer.
5. Play Music
Once you are ready to start the day, it is always great to play music to help create a mindful & happy mood. You can make your breakfast while dancing and singing!
6. Eat a nourishing breakfast with mindful eating
Breakfast sets us up for the rest of the day. If we have a healthy, wholesome breakfast, we are more likely to make nutritious decisions for our other meals. During your breakfast, try mindful eating. Instead of thinking about the day ahead, taste each bite and savour the flavours. Be grateful for the people who made your meal possible.
7. Mindful morning routines
Most of our stress comes from anticipating the future or dwelling on the past. While you are showering, cleaning your teeth, applying make-up and brushing your hair, try to breathe and be in the moment. Feel the water on your back. Hear the sounds. Experience the sensations. When your mind wanders, just say to yourself, ‘thinking, thinking’ and return to the moment.
8. Mindfulness for parents
Parenting can be the ultimate mindfulness practice. When you are changing nappies or dressing your children or brushing their hair, try to just be in the moment. Focus on exactly what you are doing. Breathe. Say to yourself, ‘I am changing…’s nappy.’ ‘I am brushing …’s hair.’ ‘I am dressing …’ This also keeps you engaged in the moment with your children.
9. Re-frame the morning narrative
Instead of the ‘rush rush’ mindset or the ‘get out of the house’ narrative, consciously make a commitment to make mornings sacred. The point of mindful living is to relish the moment as much as possible. When we nourish ourselves with sacred daily routines, we can make life a meditation