The current restrictions on movement have resulted in less time travelling from place to place and more time at home getting to know ourselves.
With the “new normal” of the current quarantine situation. Many of us have been blessed with the opportunity to slow down and notice our habits.
Why not spend this time to forge healthy habits and a routine that is beneficial to us?
Habits that reflect the excellence that lies within us.
Unpredictable times call for predictable measures
In these times of uncertainty, a good method to stay grounded and centred is to create our own pockets of predictability. A great place to start is with our morning routine.
We’ve put together some suggestions to help you put together a morning routine that’ll set you up to smile.
Ease into the Day
The habit mind, that nagging voice that sends us impulsively to snooze the alarm, begs us for just 5 more minutes before begrudgingly throwing the sheets off the bed.
Or that one that brings a smile to our face as we naturally awaken to the slither of sunlight beaming through the window.
The one that brings our attention to the birds singing sweetly in the trees as we gently stretch out our arms and legs.
How do you start your day?
Do you dread getting out of bed? Or are you grateful and excited for what the day has in store?
How we spend our morning sets the tone for the day ahead
By waking early and easing into the morning gently we are more likely to enjoy the day at a slow and steady pace rather than rushing through it mindlessly.
“But I’m not a morning person! I love my sleep!”
Ever tried an earlier night?
A lighter and earlier dinner time means that you require less hours to digest your food and reset. It also means you can get to bed earlier.
But I can’t get to sleep just like that!
Then maybe take a look at how you spend your evening.
It’s important to switch off screens and have some down time before your head hits the pillow.
But what can I do instead?
Breathe and stretch
Deep conscious breathing and some slow, restorative stretching have a calming effect on the mind.
(Check out the simple breathing exercise in our article: keeping calm amidst the chaos).
Legs up the wall pose is also perfect for insomnia.
These techniques can help slow the internal nattering of the mind and aid you to drift off earlier.
OK so how should I spend the extra time in the morning?
Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude
What’s your default setting? Is your glass half full or half empty?
By easing into the morning and expressing gratitude, we can start to consciously shift our mindset and find more joy in the day.
Upon waking why not take a deep breath, spread a smile across your face and think 3 things you are grateful for.
If you’re the journaling type you could even jot them down.
Another nice way to keep up this habit is a gratitude jar.
Sorry… a what?
A Gratitude Jar
You could keep an empty jar (or a money box – any container of choice will do) on your bedside table next to a pad of paper.
Each morning as soon as you open your eyes, note down the date and 3 things you are grateful for.
At the end of the year you can crack open the jar (or smash open the money box if it’s one of those old-school ones) and reflect on the 1095 things you had to smile about this year.
OK so I’ve smiled. I’ve scribbled my 3 things. Now what?
Scribble some more.
Journalling – a Great Way to Bookend your Day
We can start with gratitude and end with contemplation.
Reassess what it is we’re trying to create and keep ourselves in check.
The following questions are from Mark Divine’s book: The Way of The SEAL,
- What are three things you are grateful for?
- What are you excited about doing today?
- What is your purpose?
- What thing can you do today to move the dial in the direction of your dreams?
- Who can you reach out to and serve today?
- Are your goals still aligned with your purpose?
Pondering these questions is a great way to get the mind ticking and keep focused on our priorities for the day ahead.
OK I’m done with the notepad. What next?
Ahhh but I hate exercise. And I’m not a morning person.
Again, watch those thoughts… Exercise doesn’t have to be agonising!
Less is more
It doesn’t have to be a rigorous 10k run or intense HIIT session. (Unless you’re down for it, then hats off… a great way to start!)
If you’re less inclined towards exercise, how about a few gentle sun salutations or a stroll around the block to oxygenate the lungs. It’s much nicer out there now without all of those exhaust fumes, why not make the most of it?
A little movement to get the heart pumping, and circulation flowing is beneficial to both body and mind. Releasing endorphins is a natural way to help beat stress.
By breaking a sweat we drain the lymphatic system and detoxify the body, giving the immune system a well needed boost.
Why not treat yourself to some time to ease out any stresses and strains and build some bodily awareness.
Salute the Sun
With just 5 rounds of surya namaskar, you can work the entire body. In 10-15 minutes you can trigger the lymphatic system, build strength and flexibility and wind up feeling refreshed and energised for the day ahead.
Not sure where to start? Check out this beginners video:
So there we have it: some simple, straightforward habits to help set you on track for the day ahead.
Gently easing into the morning, expressing gratitude, journaling and moving the body are all great ways to set the tone for the day ahead.
They’re even more important now to keep us on track during tough times that may be out of our control.
Implementing these habits into your morning routine will promote a calmer outlook on life and help to boost the immune system, rather than feeding fear and anxiety.
A great start to building a life of excellence.