Mindful Mornings: Benefits of a Day-Starter Ritual
Rise and Shine
Most of us have had “one of those days” — the kind with unexpected morning pitfalls that serve to ruin your day. Unavoidable, right? Maybe not. A day-starter ritual might be just the thing we need to make every day meaningful, no matter what. A well-thought-out ritual may help with:
- Reducing stress during the workday
- Getting more restful sleep at night
- Eating a healthier diet
- Increasing your exercise
How to Start Your Day on a Positive Note
Believe it or not, your day can start the night before. There are simple ways to get ready for the next day that may make everything run a bit more smoothly. Here are some examples:
- Review your calendar for the following day to start mentally preparing for your schedule.
- Lay out your clothes the night before. Decide what you’ll need to be comfortable and professional at work. Maybe you’re scheduled for an appointment with a lot of walking. Consider what clothing and shoes might be best to reduce anxiety or eliminate a last-minute rush in the morning.
- Prepare for your morning meal. Some like to have coffee first and then a nutritious breakfast. Coffee can be ground ahead and put on a timer so it’s ready as soon as you want it. Put ingredients for your morning breakfast in one area of the refrigerator so they will be easy to find/prepare. If you take vitamins, separate them out so they are in one place and ready to go.
- If you have children, you can use these same tactics to get them on a structured routine.
- Clear away clutter so your environment is neater.
Make the Most of Your Morning
Allot extra time for waking up so you’re not running around in a state of anxiety but rather living in the present moment.
Try to avoid jumping straight into the daily hustle the moment your alarm goes off.
For example, if it takes you 45 minutes to get ready for work, get up at least a half hour earlier to give yourself time to savor the stillness of the morning. Celebrate the break of day by gifting yourself with time for meditation, morning affirmations, stretching, writing in a gratitude journal, reading the news, or whatever it is that gives you breathing room. You may even want to add soft background music as you go about your morning ritual.
If a morning workout helps you focus better throughout the day, schedule it early. Morning workouts are shown to release endorphins, increase energy and burn more calories. Exercise also serves as a way to clear your head before you have to think critically at work — whether it be a brisk walk, yoga or an online workout class.
Schedule Your Social Media Time
People are communicating via online avenues more and more. It’s impossible to shut it off completely if you want to stay connected with your friends and the world; however, research shows that the stimulus of too much online activity may have adverse effects on sleep, anxiety levels and ability to relax. Try scheduling time for social media — whether it’s in the morning or during an afternoon break. Give yourself a time limit, and then shut it off.
Turn Household Obligations into Relaxation
The responsibilities we have at home never end — from cleaning house to laundry to cooking for yourself and your family. Rather than looking at these as dreadful chores, use things like folding, ironing, chopping vegetables, gardening and even cleaning as meditative ways to shut off your mind and focus only on what is in front of you.
It takes effort to find the right day-starter ritual; however, if you are willing to explore a routine that works for you, it may provide health benefits you’ve never considered.