MORNING RITUALS: SIMPLE TIPS FOR STARTING YOUR DAY OFF RIGHT
I remember being in high school and stressing out about papers, exams, and that I had too much going on. I was so “busy”. Shopping at the mall, going to sleepovers, doing homework, and letting my mom do my laundry and cook all my meals. 😉 Wow, life only gets busier after that! Then you add on the stress of bills, finances, being a wife, a mom, a small business owner and ALL of the tasks that go along with each of those things! It’s enough to make you got nuts. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it gets to me. The stress, the worry, the weight of it all. And then you throw in emotions, and relational things and it’s just a big old pile of spaghetti! I heard that once from my counselor, women are spaghetti and men are waffles. HA. So true. I think as women, we just carry everything with us. Men can compartmentalize pretty well, but I think women feel it all. And that’s ok. It means we’re present in the moment. It’s actually a really beautiful thing! But at times, it can hinder us from being productive, from focusing, and getting things done. If I’m upset, stressed, comparing myself to others, feeling hurt or down, it can really wreak havoc on my entire day and become a brick wall for me. How do we release those things? How can we become untethered from our circumstances?
I know I’m always looking for helpful hints on how to manage stress, time, business, and life. So, I thought I’d give a few tips I’ve gathered over time, that have helped me on my journey towards living a more productive, loving and grateful life. Here are a few simple and practical ways that have helped me start my day right:
- The moment my alarm goes off, I pause to realize that I am alive, I am breathing and it’s a new day. Mind you, I don’t say that in a trite way. I mean it in the deepest sense. Those words carry deep meaning to me. Part of the reason I hold these phrases in such a sacred way, is because of losing my younger brother, very suddenly, 8 months ago. Breathing. Being alive. These are very real to me. When I wake up, I see the day as a blessing, my life as a precious gift. I never want to become numb to this. I don’t ever want to lose sight of the fact that there is air in my lungs, and my breathing means that I am alive. I need to be aware. Having my husband next to me in the bed, and my kids down the hall, that fills me up with such gratefulness. Not everyone has this. Sometimes I wiggle my toes, or stretch, or simply breathe deep, in and out, acknowledging with each breath, “I am here, today is a new day”. I try to remember to greet the day with hope and expectancy.
- After pausing to be grateful for life itself, I then list three things in my head that I am thankful for. This can be done by way of prayer, meditation, or just a thoughtful list. I usually say thanks for things that are fresh on my mind, relational things, new happenings, or old things that sometimes get overlooked. But you can list anything really! By this point, I’m typically smiling from ear to ear, or there have been times, when joyful tears were running down my face, but either way, it’s working. It’s doing something in me and I haven’t even risen from bed yet!
- Next, I like to think about my intention for the day. It could be a goal for the day as well, but I think having intention is bigger and it can impact every facet of my life. Whether that be, “Today I will try to love others well” or “Today I want all the words I speak, to be positive and encouraging”, it’s very helpful in guiding my thoughts, decisions and actions throughout the day. My intentions look pretty similar every day, and that’s ok, I think each of us knows what is most important to us and how we want to live.
- Then, I get out of bed, with happiness, excitement and purpose swelling in my heart. I typically like to do a little yoga, listen to or read something encouraging to my spirit, and then on with the day: Getting dressed, getting kids ready for school, breakfast, coffee, and off to work!
I hope this list is helpful for you, and please know that I try to do this every day, but some days are a struggle. Sometimes I forget. Sometimes I oversleep. And that’s ok, I’m learning to also be gracious with myself, and you should be too! But I must mention…there is one big NO NO when working through these steps: Do not check your phone!! Don’t look at emails. Don’t check Facebook. Don’t check Instagram or Pinterest. I struggle with this, and I think most of us these days, find it hard not to routinely check those things right away. I promise you though, go through these steps first and then you can check all of that other stuff later, once you’re in the right frame of mind. When your heart, mind and spirit are readied for the day, everything’s going to look a whole lot different. That snarky comment someone wrote may not bother you as much, the status of your “likes” or “follows” won’t carry as much weight. The stack of bills, or that pile of laundry staring you in the face, may not seem as daunting. You might have a little more patience with your spouse, children, and co-workers, because you’re seeing life through different eyes. You have started the day reminding yourself of who you are, what you have been given, how you have been blessed, and how you want to live.
Now it’s up to you to choose to remain in that frame of mind. It can be tough, but we’ve got each other! I’m cheering you on. We’re all on this road together! My brother Garrett, lived every day with laughter and overflowing joy, and I think there is so much freedom in that. I believe that freedom gives way to greater confidence, a deeper capacity to love, sharper vision for our future, and the power to accomplish and achieve all that we desire. I want to be free so that I can fulfill my purpose with the life I’ve been given…and it can all start with rising of the sun.