To say my work schedule is unpredictable is an understatement. Work days and hours change week-to-week and there is a lot of uncertainty in the day-to-day. It has taken years, but I’ve adapted to it. I’ve found that having a set morning routine grounds me and takes care of some of that anxiety of the unknown.
Wake Up Early.
I’m an early bird. I love the stillness and quiet of the morning. I think I’ve learned this habit from my mom. As long as I can remember, she is the first one up, sitting quietly with her bible. I admire her devotion and have sought to recreate that practice in my own life. I relish the moments before the hustle and bustle of daily life takes over.
Before I go straight to hard stuff (I’m talking about coffee), I have made it a habit to drink 20-30oz of filtered water. This restores hydration to cells from overnight, stimulates digestive process and rejuvenates my mind. I often go for long stretches during the day without drinking, so setting myself up with an early dose of H2O has helped with my daily hydration needs.
I can’t say enough about how breathing affects our systemic health. Digestion, Movement, Thinking, Emotions…it all is connected to the breath. Before my feet hit the ground, I pause and take 5 full belly breaths. That means fully expanding my diaphragm, keeping my chest quiet, and feeling the pressure all the way to the pelvic cavity. This activates the parasympathetic nervous system, quiets the adrenals, and elicits a relaxed response. Later in the day, anytime I feel overwhelmed I can come back to this same belly breathing to reset my intention of peace.
Expressing gratitude is effective for increasing happiness. Giving some acknowledgment to the positive things in your life is a great way to start the day. Take just a few moments to appreciate the present to feel happier, more productive, and more energetic throughout the day.
Meditate. Read. Journal.
After putting aside any notions of “woo-woo”… I am fully certain that meditation offers incredible benefit to my life. I see this most evident in how I interact with others. I have more compassion, empathy, awareness, and understanding of myself towards the outside world. I like to use a guided meditation app, Headspace. Some days I admit that I am too bogged down with my own thoughts to truly focus- and that’s when I turn to my journal. Getting things out on paper is cathartic and creates the space I need to expand my perspective. I will write down my fears, anxieties, and apprehensions…and I follow these with direct affirmations, mantras and gratitude. Finally, I connect my inner world with some outer guidance by reading.
BRING ON THE COFFEE!
Taking time to myself is a gift I give myself daily. I get a chance to think and I set the tone for the day. I avoid looking at my phone until I am fully set, grounded, and at peace. In 20 minutes, I find I am focused and energized for a productive day–no matter what I’m facing!
When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive- to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. -Marcus Aurelius