I don’t recall the moment that I actually became a morning person. Maybe that’s because it was more of a slow and steady transition then an active choice to just… change, right there on the spot. Certainly all through middle school and high school I was anything but a morning person, but you’re not left with much choice. Being that I was also a competitive figure skater, a lot of my mornings in middle school revolved around me being on the ice by 4:30am and then come high school, we would have frequent dance practices at 5 before school began.
You’d think I’d have a grip on mornings come college, but that’s not the case. I slept, and slept, and slept. I made sure that I didn’t schedule any classes until 11am, if I could help it. I’d wake up just in time to go to my first class of the day, grabbing a coffee on the go and a breakfast bar of some sort on my way out. I swore I always had some form of ADD since I had a hard time concentrating, until I realized that it was 100% due to the fact that I was giving myself zero space to have any time for reflection, balance, peace — before I just threw myself into my day.
Fast forward to my first job out of college while living in Denver. I had a cute little studio, and due to my clients being mainly international, I didn’t have to be in the office until 10am. This set me up perfect to have slow mornings and to be a bit more intentional with my time before I was on the phone all day long putting together focus groups around the world.
This is about the time where my love affair for morning rituals came into play.
I started to realize how much more calm I was throughout my day, and how much better sleep I was getting. Mind you I was only 22, so I still had so much to learn when it came to taking care of myself in a way that would set me up long term. I assumed that being vegan and getting 8 hours of sleep was enough. I still had a lot to learn about what it meant to be balanced and mindful with my time.
I’ve done a lot of research and development throughout my own life when it comes to living a life in balance. I’ve ebbed and I’ve flowed. I’ve fallen flat on my face, I’ve driven myself into the ground, found the light again, and circled back once more just to remind myself of how shitty and uncomfortable it feels to live on auto pilot and forego my own mental health.
So today, I wanted to offer up what I’ve learned with all of you, and to help guide you in setting up your own sacred morning ritual. It may seem silly, but this ritual? It was the catalyst for how everything else in my life fell together: boundaries, healthy relationships, incredible sleep, balanced focus, and a huge amount of self respect.
In this post we’ll cover:
• The importance of morning rituals
• Discovering what it is that feels good to you
• My own personal morning ritual
• Simple steps to get you started with creating your own
Let’s jump in!
The importance of having a morning routine (or ritual, as I like to call it)
To put it bluntly, by creating a sacred morning routine and ritual, you’re setting intentions of how you want your day to look and feel. As the Huffington Post puts it:
“a morning routine sets the tone for the whole day, and if you do each day right, you’ll do life right.” –Huffington Post
It all comes down to giving yourself the space to reflect on what it is that you not only want out of your day, but your life as a whole. Do you want to move fast? Do you want to speed through your meals? Do you want to be stuck head down into your phone? Some people actually do find validation in moving from one second to the next, uninterrupted. But I’ll tell you this: it’s not a long term way to live. At some point, burnout and exhaustion will occur. Even President Obama during his years in office made time for a routine by exercising for an hour each morning, and I feel safe assuming that his job was far more pressing than any of ours combined ;)
It really comes down to the simple question of how bad do you want it? How bad do you crave balance and harmony and peace in your life? By setting the intention to begin your mornings slowly, you’re setting the rest of your day up to follow suit.
“Beginning with intention allows you to cultivate a greater sense of vitality to bring into your day. ” – INTEGRATIVE NUTRITION
Finding out what works for you when it comes to your morning routine / ritual
What works for me (which you’ll read below) might not work for you, and that is totally okay. I encourage you to avoid doing what your best friend does each morning or what anyone says you should do — rather sit with your thoughts and discover what it is that makes you feel balanced and at ease. For instance, you might like to run in the morning while that sounds like my worst nightmare. Maybe waking up and making your bed first thing makes you feel relaxed, while your best friend would rather linger in there for another hour.
There is no wrong way to do this. The only “wrong” way is by being inauthentic to what feels best to you. That’s a surefire recipe for this sacred morning ritual and routine to be temporary.
Block out the noise of comparison or implementing what others are doing, unless of course it intrigues you and it sounds like something you might like.
Try journaling and asking yourself the following questions:
• What does my ideal day look like? (work obligations obsolete)
• What do I crave first thing in the morning?
• What comes to mind when I hear the word “calm”?
My personal morning ritual / routine
For the most part, the past 10 months I’ve had the same morning ritual. I would dip in and out of it due to certain circumstances such as a break up, a move, being on vacation, things of that nature. But over the last 2 months I’ve been super diligent about it. I’m sharing my own morning ritual below in full detail! Feel free to try any of them for yourselves if they truly resonate with you (see above).
1. I set my alarm for 6:15am
I used to be SO HAPPY that I never had to wake up to an alarm, but because my body loves sleep so much… that’s what I would do. I would sleep, and sleep, and sleep.. waking up at 9:30am naturally. Great, fine, considering I set my own schedule, but deep down this just didn’t feel good. I felt unproductive both spiritually and physically. So I made the shift of going to bed far earlier (usually around 9:30) and waking at 6:15.
2. Water intake
I drink about a half liter of water that I keep next to my bed, open up my window shades to let the light in, and head to the kitchen for my coffee.
3. My morning coffee
While the coffee is being made (I use a french press), I light a few candles in the living room, and one in my bedroom.
4. Journal Practice
I sit down at my dining table and free journal for about 5-10 minutes about anything that’s on my mind. I just write without pausing and let whatever needs to come out, come out.
5. Intention Setting
When the coffee is ready, I take it back to my bed and I meditate for about 10 minutes.
7. Joy Reading
Then, I read for about an hour. Jasper is usually still sound asleep in my bed, so I wait for him to stir before we head outside.
8. Take in some fresh air
I get dressed for Barre class and take Jasper to the dog park to play and do his thing.
9. Music & soothing sounds
I put on some music which is usually instrumental, but it just depends on what I’m in the mood for.
10. Food intake
I make breakfast. Usually a gluten free bagel and some berries or a green smoothie with granola. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll make a couple Kodiak Cakes (protein pancakes) with raw honey and some kind of melted nut butter.
11. Day Planning
I sit down with my planner and set intentions for the day of what I want it to look like, and what I’d like to get done. If it’s ever unclear, I go back to my journal and try to get to the root of what’s bothering me.
I head to my barre class (thankfully it’s attached to my building!)
Here are some rituals you can add to your morning routine if you’re feeling stuck:
• Listen to an uplifting podcast. It doesn’t have to be mine ;)
• Do a quick stretch session either while sitting in bed or grab your yoga mat
• Develop a skin care routine that’s both calming and nourishing (make it a 3-5 step process)
• Have your favorite food for breakfast (Yup, even if it’s chocolate. You’re allowed.)
• Sage your space or light some Palo Santo.
• Choose an intention setting word of the day and write it on a post it. Stick the post it on your fridge or somewhere you can see it all day.
• Listen to a guided meditation (I love the Oak app)
Do you have a morning ritual? Or is this something that has you feeling stuck? I’d love to hear from you either way so feel free to leave a comment below or join the conversation over on Instagram! x0