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.
I’m a morning person, always have been. I wake up around 5 am and bounce out of bed joy-filled, enthusiastic and ready to consume the day. My energy is at its peak and I feel as though nothing can stop me. However, up until five years ago, I didn’t realize how my morning routine was undermining my ability to be the very best I could be. In truth, it was creating blocks to my most authentic life.
You see, I’ve learned that what you do when you first wake up in the morning is a solid gage of not only the quality of your day but by extension the quality of your life.
The cure for this is to create a realistic morning routine - a set of rituals that works for you and you alone. There are myriad ways to accomplish this, but I’m going to share the eight that have made the biggest difference for me. I’m not just talking about starting the day off on the right foot – but truly changing your life in just about every way imaginable.
#1 - Hydrate First
As soon as you get out of bed down a full 8-to-16-ounces of clear water. Before your morning coffee or tea, before you take a shower, before you do anything else, drink your water.
Your body has been in a state of fasting all night, and this liquid miracle will rehydrate you, make your brain feel more alert, and jumpstart your metabolism. It may also help to fill up your tummy so you don’t overeat at breakfast.
#2 - Stretch
Roll right onto the floor (or if it’s too hard for you, lay back down on your bed) taking five minutes to stretch your body. Lay on your back, clasping your knees to chest. Roll from side to side. Remember to breathe deeply throughout your stretching. You’ll most likely hear your spine and joints gently popping as you elongate. Stand and stretch your arms overhead as you gently stretch from side to side. Kneel on the floor and then place your forehead on the ground. Stretch your arms over your head and gently elongate your spine. Be gentle. Think and move like a cat.
Stretching in the morning improves circulation and helps to increase the blood flow to your muscles. More blood in your muscles translates into more energy in the morning. It also increases blood flow to your brain and sharpens your concentration.
#3 - Tea Meditation
I gave up morning coffee consumption five years ago when out of habit I would lurch from my bed to the kitchen to kidnap an entire pot of bullet-strong Joe and plop down at my desk for the next five hours slamming cup after cup as I bulldozed through work. Hours later when Panache would make it to my desk I was a barking, short-tempered, over-caffeinated hot mess. My gut was ruined and I suffered terrible diarrhea most days. I don’t need to tell you that I was so toxic by noon that nobody wanted to be around me.
Now, my morning tea prep is a grace bestowing meditation ritual. I walk slowly, barefoot to the kitchen feeling my feet from heel to toe on the ground. Each step bringing me fully into the present moment. I take down my favorite over-sized Asian blue ceramic cup and put the water on to boil. I turn on music that speaks to my soul as I await the whistling of the tea kettle (absolutely no electric tea kettles for me. I love the old-fashioned sound of a kettle’s whistle.) And then I pour the water over the tea and watch it steep.