Growing up, I was never a morning person. I remember crawling out of bed feeling completely un-energized and rushed. In the past few years, I developed some powerful habits, which completely changed how I feel about mornings. Now, I have a nourishing and energizing morning routine that I actually look forward to.
As psychotherapists, it is critical that we make time in our day for self-care practices. Additionally, the way that we start our mornings often sets the tone for the rest of the day. The following are three simple tips for enhancing your morning routine.
1.Wake up earlier.
I’m now a pretty early riser. Getting up earlier enables me to have more time and subsequently feel less rushed. I also find that I feel more energized early in the morning and am less interrupted by the buzz of my phone and email notifications.
You don’t have to take drastic measures with this tip. Rather, try setting your alarm for 30 minutes earlier to start.
It’s also important to note that part of waking up earlier, involves getting to bed earlier. I’m pretty firm when it comes to the amount of sleep that I aim to get each night. Many people that I know think that they can “get by” sleeping less than eight hours a night. However, there is so much research to support the physical and psychological benefits of getting adequate sleep each night.
One thing that I have found to be helpful in terms of having a more restful sleep is to turn off electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime. I also like to take a bath and drink tea before bed, as this primes my body and mind to relax.
2.Do one activity mindfully.
Months ago, I began a regular morning meditation practice, which has helped me to feel calmer and more grounded throughout the day. I spend 10 minutes each morning engaged in a guided meditation through the app “Headspace.” There are a ton of free meditation apps out there.
However, I recognize that a formal meditation practice is not everyone’s cup of tea. I’d encourage you to try to do at least one activity mindfully. Whether, it’s taking a moment to truly savor and enjoy your cup of coffee, eating breakfast without your phone in hand or engaging in a few gentle yoga poses, mindfulness helps you to feel more grounded in the present moment and calmer throughout your day.
3. Connect to gratitude.
Making daily gratitude lists has truly changed my life. If you are unable to appreciate what you currently have, it is unlikely that you will be happy having more. Each morning I make a list of at least five things that I am thankful for. I like to use a free app on my iphone called “Thankful.” However, choose whatever method works best for you.
Connecting to gratitude is a powerful way to shift your focus to all for which you have to be thankful. When you are able to appreciate all that you have, you draw more abundance into your life.
As psychotherapists (and as people), the way that we choose to start our day matters. By waking up earlier, practicing mindfulness and connecting to gratitude, you can have a happier morning and enjoy a calmer and more grounded feeling throughout your day.