As of January this year, I have been living in one place. This is a big thing because for over two years I was travelling a lot and although it didn’t bother me, there was a lot of lost time in travelling, but also packing/unpacking etc. So late nights to bed, early mornings, lost time, excuses for why I wasn’t getting stuff done, lack of routine because every week was different! So when I settled myself in one place I was determined to get into a routine.
The first morning I started this, I thought to myself, “I will wake up with the sun”. So we opened the blinds the night before so the sun could shine in when morning came. I seriously woke up, wide awake, at 5:15am. First light! No alarm. Just woke up. Thankfully that only happened once because 5:15am was too early. But getting up with the sun is important, more about that later.
I am still leaving the blinds open but I now only wake up between 6:30 and 7pm. A much nicer time. I would be happier if it was earlier, but that’s when my body has decided its ok, so that’s ok with me. I then get up, have a big drink of water (always beside my bed), use the bathroom, take my bush essences remedy, and then head into my study/meditation/yoga/piano room.
We’ve positioned our house so our bedroom, the study and the dining room/kitchen all face into the morning sun. So in the study the yoga mat is always rolled out and this is where I head to do my sun salutations, a few extra yoga poses if I decide, a headstand or two if I please, then the 5 Tibetan rites, which I promise to do a blog post on soon and link it here. I then sit down for some meditation. The time varies. 5 minutes is enough. 10 minutes is good. An hour is better. The busier your day, the more you should do. Seems counterproductive but there are SO many benefits to mediation it’s unbelievable.
Now it’s breakfast time! And then my day continues…
That’s my routine so far.
So now onto why it’s important to have a routine and what are some ways to make your morning amazing:
You get more done
Getting up a regular time, which normally invoves getting up earlier means that you get more done over the day. Going for a run or a walk first thing in the morning, means your exercise is done. That’s it for the day. And what an invigorating way to start the day.
Giving yourself even an extra 15 minutes means that either you’re not rushing and running out the door, or you can add in extra things like a bit of mediation, 15 minutes of reading a book with breakfast, watering the plants outside, enjoying your coffee without slurping it down. Basically stopping in the morning to smell the roses. You can even fold the washing if you want. That’s one less thing you don’t need to do when you get home at night. Put dinner in the slow cooker. The list is endless. Whatever you feel you don’t have time for at night.
Getting up with the sun
Before alarms, deadlines, late nights of TV, people use to get up with the sun. Stop when the sun goes down, start when it comes up. This is what our body clock is designed to do. And this is the way our body works best. Have you noticed that when you wake up naturally, you wake up fresher and happier? That not necessarily the extra sleep you may have had, but that your body woke when it was ready. Getting your body in tune with natural rhythms of the environment around (eg. The sun) is so beneficial for not just your energy levels, but your mood, wellbeing and so much more.
Most weather apps or website can give you sunrise and sunset times. Sunrise generally happens (in SA anyway) between 6am in summer and 7:30am in the winter.
Make your bed
Everyone loves getting into fresh sheets. Only part of the reason is they’re clean, the other part is made beds feel fresher, even without the sheets. Making your bed in the morning means that it feels fresher at night time. Almost like you’re in a hotel, because if you make your bed in the morning, so much has happened between times it’s like someone else did it for you. Maybe?
It’s good feng shui practice anyway. An unmade bed makes the room look cluttered and untidy and that’s not good for a restful nights sleep. Its also seen as closure. As upsetting as it is sometimes to have to get out of bed (hopefully using these tips rectifies that!) the making of your bed signifies sleeping time is over and it’s time to face the world and get on with your day.
A study found that making your bed improved your sleep by 19%*
*National Sleep Foundation, Sleep Poll, Jan. 25, 2011
Exercise and getting outside
Even if it’s just a walk around the block or going outside to water the plants. If you’re following the ‘get up with the sun’ protocol, this is the BEST time to be outside. It’s fresh, it’s cool, it’s quiet and it’s peaceful. Walking around the block, going for a run, or even just getting outside to say good morning to the sun, the fresh air will wake you up and get you going.
Anecdotal evidence, as noticed be me, says that meditation in the morning improves concentration and energy. And I’m sure somewhere I could find a study to prove that. Taking even 5 minutes so focus on your breath and clear your head can make such a difference in the day.
When I lived in Adelaide I got up at 5:45am three mornings a week to do yoga. At the end we would lie down and do as much or as little meditation as we wanted. As the teacher always reminded us, this might be the last time you get to lay down today. That always motivated me to stay an extra 5 minutes. So, go! Sit down on a chair or cross your legs, or lay on the floor, focus on your breath for 5 minutes, it may be the last break you get all day!
Drink some water
The standard recommendation is 2 litres per day. I generally suggest 1 litre per 30kg of body weight, because a 100kg man needs more hydration than a 60kg woman. Starting the day with one glass (or two!) means you are one glass closer to your target. My drink bottle is 550mL. I carry that around while I go through my morning routine so by breakfast I’ve generally had ½ L already.
It is best to space your water through the day. Don’t drink your two litres in the morning and think you’re done for the day. Plus you’d have no room for breakfast. And spend the next three hours at the toilet.
Before breakfast another glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon is also amazing for your health. Just a quick google search of “warm lemon water in the morning” will give you dozens of reasons why this is a good idea, from clearer skin to liver cleansing. It’s also good for delaying your coffee (See blog post here) because many of us, particularly in winter crave warm drinks, mostly reaching for the coffee or a black tea. Drinking warm water and lemon satisfies that ‘warm drink’ craving and gives us an extra cup towards our water quota. As opposed to coffee that negates two cups of water due to the diuretic factor.
Other possible routine ideas:
Practice gratitude – before bed or in the morning, write down three things you’re thankful for.
Oil pulling – first thing, put one tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish for 20 minutes. You may need to work up to this amount of time. The oil ‘pulls’ all sorts of bacteria and yuckies (technical term) from between your teeth, giving you fresh breath, clean teeth and better health as the state of your mouth, gums and teeth is very closely linked with your overall health
Eat breakfast – as the saying goes, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” People who eat breakfast consume fewer calories over the day. Make sure it’s something with a bit of protein and fat, not just the carb-filled toast or cereal options we’ve been lead to believe are good for us!
Don’t reach for your phone – lying in bed on Facebook in the mornings is dangerous. Firstly it’s a time waster. Secondly social media has been found to be detrimental to our self-esteem. Thirdly, have you ever dropped your phone on your face while in bed? I have. More than once. It hurts. Don’t play with your mobile phone in bed. It’s dangerous. For your face and your time. Get up and get moving.
Look in the mirror – say good morning to yourself. Say I love you. Be thankful for the able body you have. Do this every day and your life will change.
What morning routines do you have? What works best for getting you up and moving in the morning? Have you tried any of these techniques?