“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive; to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” ~ Marcus Aurelius
You don’t have to be a morning person to benefit from morning rituals. Most people hit snooze, roll out of bed and into some clothes while plunging into their day without a plan.
I, however, approach my day mindfully. Being mindful increases the odds that I feel good, am more productive and end up happier when it’s all over.
Here are 10 things I do every morning (or at least try) before 9am that helps me create my Ideal Day:
Meditating or even some simple breathing can help you begin your day with a sense of calm. Instead of reaching for your phone or checking email first thing in the morning (I am guilty of that), take just a few minutes to sit and experience the quiet.
There is plenty of activity during our day, make a commitment to start on a quieter note. It will set the tone for your day and will help increase your focus, energy, and optimism. I use an app on my phone called ‘HeadSpace’ – it’s a great app if you’re new to meditation.
Reflect in Gratitude
“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart
Start your day by reflecting on what you are grateful for. A consistent practice of gratitude in the mornings will increase your awareness of gratitude throughout your day. It will also make you more resilient when challenges occur and help you put drama in perspective.
Set your daily intention
In the quiet of the day, before the fires need putting out, plan your day by focusing on three goals you want to accomplish.
Make those goals a priority for the day. When you set about planning your day with intention, you are more likely to feel productive at the end of it. Download my FREE ‘Ideal Day Planner‘.
Alongside a 10-minuteon my PowerPlate, I aim to go for a hour long morning, afternoon and evening walk.
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Your body awakens dehydrated, so it is very important to drink up first thing in the morning. In her book, The Body Ecology Diet, Donna Gates suggests you drink half of your entire daily water intake by mid-morning. It will flush your system of toxins, leave you feeling less hungry and reduce headaches throughout the day. Want to know how I keep hydrated? Click. Did I mention that I’ve got an app on my phone that reminds of when to drink?
You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t wake up feeling a bit stiff. It isn’t always easy to incorporate exercise into a morning routine. If you were going to choose one thing, add a short muscle-stretching sequence of exercises to your morning schedule.
Studies show that consistent stretching in the morning can increase flexibility, improve circulation, reduce stress throughout your day and improve posture. Believe it or not, but I use an app for this one too! It’s called ‘Track Yoga’ and is pretty good!
Listen to Music
Starting your day with upbeat and fun music will not only wake you up but it will fill you with positive energy for your day.
The two most important benefits of listening to music are “mood regulation” and “self-awareness.” Not only has it been shown to improve your mood but it can end up increasing motivation, performance, and lead to a better night’s sleep too.
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Start your day off by smiling at yourself in the bathroom mirror. Smiling will have a positive effect on your overall attitude and well-being, even when it starts out a little forced. Smiling makes you more approachable, and appear more trustworthy. In fact, The University of Montpellier discovered that smiling will also make you a more effective leader.
Clean up after yourself
Life is busy and morning routines can be a bit rushed. It can be very tempting when you are running behind to leave your clothes on the floor, dishes in the sink or leave the trash until later. Just do put them away! Procrastination around cleaning up after yourself can prevent you from realizing our highest potential and best work. It also allows you to relax fully upon returning home. It is better to pro-actively clean up after yourself than waiting to be called out on it.
I clean up the house, prepare breakfast, set the table for breakfast, take out my workout outfit and work clothes – all in the evening before – this gives me a stress-free morning.
Do your hardest task first
It might seem enticing to get a bunch of easy things checked off your to-do list, but it has been shown time and time again that doing your hardest task first leads to a more productive and happier day. You are more likely to remember the day as being a good one when your day gets better and is easier over time. The bonus: it helps stop procrastination over the things we like to do the least.
What do you do every morning before 9am?
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