I don’t know about you guys but it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed in the morning! Over the weekend I had dinner with a Yoga teacher friend of mine and she told me simply, “When you master your mornings, you master your life.”
I laughed, but there was something about what she said that rang true. If eyes are the windows to our soul, then surely mornings were the windows to our daily habits.
Part of why I have such a tough time in the morning is that it’s when I feel the most amount of stress. Do I take the dogs for a long walk or eat breakfast first? Should I work a bit and then eat? Or maybe I should have tea and work? And on the days I’m really slammed, I skip the other options all together, roll out of bed and work in my PJ’s until it’s time for lunch.
Let’s face it; ending up in your PJ’s at 3 pm doesn’t make anyone feel good.
I’ve been talking to a lot of people lately (TMI, perhaps?) and it seems like this day dread I feel is fairly common. People don’t have a lot of time in the mornings to set themselves up for a good day and yet your mornings set the rhythm of the day. Don’t believe me? Ever spill a hot cup of Joe on your lap on the way to work? How did the rest of the morning turn out? Exactly my point.
My friend who teaches Yoga at a cool little studio here in LA gave me a few suggestions to master my mornings, or at least step out with a bit less anxiety.
This one is SO hard for me! I’m one of those blessed souls who has a brain that JUST WILL NOT TURN OFF. To prove it, I’m writing this blog at 11:45 on a Sunday night because I’m too wound up to sleep.
Meditation before we begin our day, according to my friend (and a ton of studies) helps put your mind at ease and prevents stress before the day rolls in like a snowball (or sledge hammer). She told me that there are days she will lay in bed quietly before getting up and meditate for just five minutes. That buffer between the day that’s clawing to get to you, and preparing your mind to handle the stress with deep breaths, awareness and a conscious decision to relax.
2. Do Something For You
When you get up in the morning do you think about you? Or do you think about checking emails, returning voice mails, getting to work on time, preparing for a meeting, getting the kids ready for school and so on? That, my friends, is NOT thinking about you AT ALL. No wonder we feel like “me” time is just as fictional as Cinderella.
What happens when we constantly run, go and do for others and not ourselves? We get stressed out and ultimately, a bit resentful. If we start off our mornings by taking the time to do one thing or even writing one thing down that we’d personally like to accomplish that day, that has nothing to do with our boss, our mate, our other obligations, we’ll be amazed at how positive we look at the day ahead.
3. Keep Your Hands Off The iPhone
OK, this one is nearly impossible, especially since so many of us use our Smart phones as an alarm. But starting the day by checking our email soon as we roll over is a heart palpitation just waiting to happen! You haven’t even brushed your teeth yet and you’re replying to all? Experts agree that if we can hold off from racing to our mobile devices for a half hour first thing in the morning, we will feel less stressed and more positive about the day to come. Why? Answering someone else’s demands before the first cheerio hits the bowl makes us feel like we’re ALREADY behind for the day. It starts our day with a stress shot and probably a nice dose of that resentment shot we talked about in number two. Create a list of how you want your day to go, sip your coffee in peace, take the pups for a walk — just don’t pick up that phone (yet). Oh, and get an old-fashioned alarm clock, you’ll sleep better too!
I’m not sure about you, but I am excited to try out some of these suggestions, especially the last one! I am definitely a culprit of the roll over and respond method!
What are your morning rituals or daily habits you find beneficial? I’d love to hear them in the comments below! And, of course, if you try any of these suggestions listed in the blog, let me know what you think!
Here’s to mastering our mornings!