The establishing of a morning routine is vital to starting the day on the right foot (that’s the ‘correct’ foot not necessarily the ‘right’ one – you could start on the left one if you want!). Your first ‘steps’ into the day are crucial to how your day goes. Some advocates of this suggest creating a 30-60 minute routine to benefit yourself and start you off on the day right. (Although 30 to 60 minutes feel like a bit of an ask for most of us). This comes as no great surprise to me, but it is nice to have what you know affirmed. You want something that will physically and mentally prepare you for the day. Ideally it should involve a period of mindfulness or reflection. Visualising the day ahead had been shown to help.
Thinking about our day, visualising what you want it to look like and what your objective is, has been shown to have a significant impact in how it actually turns out. Neuroscience has plenty of research to tell us it is so.
My morning routine has changed since we got a dog because she won’t wait for her walk until I’ve sorted myself out!! So my mindfulness and visualisation takes place while I’m in motion!
But it used to look something like this….. On waking I’d start with some deep breathing – this is before I’ve even got out of bed. Next, I’d press play on the music that is the backdrop to my yoga stretching the Om Mani Padme Hum (Ven. Dharma Nauka). I do sun salutation, downward and upward dog, pigeon pose (which I completely struggle with!), cat and cow pose and some additional stretches for good measure ….and it usually takes me the time of the full mantra to do this. I then sit on the floor for more deep breathing and some meditation – just for a few minutes. I still do this as often as I can… but now after the dog walk! She sometimes joins in and shows me how to do both downward and upward dog… and she’s much better at it than I am.
Next – water. Then – coffee and settle down to read for quarter of an hour or so – something that’s currently intriguing me about the human condition ….and then I’m done ….and all ready for breakfast!
The reality is, for me anyway, is that I still fit all of these things in at various points but it has to be flexible. With a little planning I generally don’t have to miss too much.
And what are the benefits? For me (at my age!) I feel physically ready for the day. I feel aches and stiffness when I wake up – but if I get my stretching in early I feel none of it for the rest of the day. But more than this I feel energised and ready to face the day in a state of calm. It certainly benefits me as if I miss too much of this out I’m convinced I don’t have as good a day. If I do these things, including the dog walk, I feel I’ve activated my body, activated my mind, and started my day by achieving a great deal. And that’s before I start on the other things that are waiting for me.
Start your day well and your day will go well – I’m convinced of it!