Your typical morning – does it flow? Or is it just go, go, go?
Flow the day your way with a morning that takes care of you first.
I used to stay in bed until the very last possible moment, then get up and race around to get ready for work, scoff some breakfast and give the dogs a hurried walk. It seems obvious to me now that beginning each morning already feeling and acting as if there was not enough time was setting the tone for how I would feel and act for the day ahead; rushed, hurried, stressed.
Nowadays, my mornings start with self-care for me. (It didn’t just happen, by the way, it took commitment and perseverance – but that’s a story for another day)
Here’s how I flow my mornings now:
Claim the day. I do this before I get out of bed, before I even open my eyes. Claiming the day is as simple as naming how I want to feel and be for the day eg, patient, kind, engaging, confident.
Rehydrate. Sounds fancy, but it’s just a drink of water! The trick is to drink it mindfully. Don’t gulp it down. Don’t drink it while checking your phone. Just slowly begin waking your body up.
Move. Start preparing your body for the day ahead by waking up the muscles, tendons, bones and joints. Find a few stretches or yoga poses that work for you and enjoy moving through them. The trick here is to listen to your body and help prepare it for all that you will ask of it during the day. click here for some great yoga poses that you could start with.
Meditate. There’s so much to say about the power of meditation. I’ve meditated regularly for the past two years and it’s a practice I will never let go of, the peace and space I create in my mind during meditation remains close to me all day. Like every change, it takes time to build up noticeable benefits and it takes practice to make it a habit. My top tip for you: don’t create any rules about how meditation ‘should’ be done. There are so many different types of meditation, find some styles that suit you. I find Insight Timerreally helpful – you can download the app to your phone. There are plenty of other popular apps including Smiling Mind, GPS for the Soul and Take a Break.
Create. Moving slowly through some exercise and meditation often allows thoughts, ideas and inspirations to rise to the surface. So if you can, use them to create something meaningful to you. I like to write. Ideas and inspirations come to me during morning flow and I grab them and record them in my journal. Some days I simply have a jumble of to-do’s in my mind so I write them down first, just to get them out of my head and clear some space!
Oh! I can hear you now! Howling your protestations at me!
“I can’t do that! I work!”
“I have kids!”
“I’d have to get up at 5am to get all that done!”
Yep. You’re right. There are at least a handful of reasons why getting into a morning flow is too hard. But there are also at least a handful of solutions to the problems and blocks you identify. The bottom line is simple; creating a new habit requires commitment, resilience and determination. Just stick with it for a couple of weeks and things will flow a little easier and become a little more habitual.
For me, the payoff of creating time each morning to find my flow is this: I begin my day caring for myself. Then when I begin my workday, which is all about caring for others, I do it with authentic energy, patient compassion and genuine empathy. I’ve filled my cup first and this allows me to share generously with others.
Some tips to help you create your flow
Routine does not equal rigid or boring. Be kind to yourself. Some days you’ll want to stretch, others you’ll just want to lie on the floor and wiggle your toes! That’s ok.
Build slowly. Launching into all of the elements I have described above in my morning routine is probably not going to stick. Choose one that excites you and make that a part of your morning. Then add another element until you find a flow that works for you.
Don’t get tricked by the voice in the head. It will tell you. “There’s no time for this today”. If you are under time pressure just do a part of your flow or just meditate for 1 minute. Keep the flow alive and start training your mind that you do have time!