written by Paula Hartmann
In the last years I experimented with all sorts of morning rituals. Here is what I found out:
How my day unfolds is highly dependent on how my day starts.
If the first thing I concentrate on in the morning is “doing” (doing the dishes, getting my son's lunchbox ready, cleaning the kitchen etc.) the rest of my day tends to be stressful. The chores never end so I’m trying to get one thing done after the other. By the end of the day I feel tense, unavailable and tired out.
If, on the other hand, I start my day slow and with something that is meaningful to me, I’m calm and strong enough to tackle all the challenges that are presenting themselves to me throughout the day. I would even say that I can prevent challenges from arising by doing that.
Instead of going into “doing”-mode right after I open my eyes, I plan my mornings so I have plenty of time to just be. Here are a few things that I do before I start “working”. I don’t do them all every single day, but I do at least one of the following things:
What really makes the difference is to do these things by myself. If I go for a walk with my partner (which is fun too) I don’t have the same calming effect. It’s being with myself that gives me so much strength. After spending time with myself it’s easier for me to interact with others and I’m not as easily triggered by people’s behaviours.
I also realized that it’s not so much what I do for myself in the morning, but how I do it and that it feels natural to me. You might not be a Yoga-person or enjoy journaling. You might love lifting weights or doodling around in your sketch book. As long as it makes you feel good and is not considered a chore for you, it works.
No matter what it is you want to integrate into your morning ritual, do it slow and don't rush. It’s hard to create a peaceful day, if you start it with rushing - even if it’s something you enjoy doing. So take an extra deep breath while you sip your tea or stretch on your Yoga mat.
What my clients tell me, when I ask them to get up 30 min. before their usual wake-up time is this: "Paula, I can’t. I’m already getting up at 7. I can’t possibly get up at 6.30am.”
I totally get that. I used to think like that too. But now that I have a stable morning routine, I would even get up at 5 am (if I had to), because I see how powerful these rituals are. If I skip a day, because I’m too lazy to get out of bed (which is totally fine sometimes, we don't have to be too rigid) I feel how much easier I’m affected by the challenges of the day.
I’ve never regretted spending my mornings with Yoga, journaling and alone-time, but I’ve definitely regretted not doing it.
If you feel inspired to create a different start into your day, you can also ask yourself what “not to do” in the morning. Here are a few things you may want to include on your not to-do list.
The main thing is, that you allow yourself to experiment and switch things up. Try something else for a week and see how it feels. If you benefit from it, keep doing it, if not, try something else. That’s the whole secret behind it.
Have fun creating a simple and meaningful morning routine for you!