I have known about the power of the “morning ritual” for a while now and it was a key part in my healing from hypothalamic amenorrhea and adrenal fatigue, but with work and other commitments its very easy for this to fall by the wayside. With the current global drama that is sweeping the planet right now, getting back to a morning routine has really helped to reduce my anxiety levels and help me to cope. It’s such a bizarre situation that I never would have imagined could happen in my lifetime but here we are.
In the first week of lockdown I was glued to the news, switching on the TV first thing in the morning to see the latest updates whilst drinking my coffee. I didn’t realise but this was the worst thing I could possibly do. Right after waking up, stressing out my mind and body with scary information and a caffeine hit on top sent me on an anxiety rollercoaster for the rest of the day. As someone with a sensitive nervous system, I tend to easily get overwhelmed and overstimulated. Maintaining my hormonal health is a priority for me so when I started noticing symptoms of cycle imbalance, I pretty quickly realised I needed to find a better way to start my day if I wanted to stay healthy and sane during this crisis.
However, I also can easily fall into a perfectionistic, over-controlling mindset so I knew that a prescriptive morning ritual was not what I needed. This is a really great time to embrace the intuitive, fluid feminine energy rather than the rigid, inflexible masculine. So rather than set out exact steps of what to do each morning, I thought about the building blocks that make up a healthy morning routine and now I use these as the foundation to create a unique ritual each morning to start my days off on the right foot.
Getting some sort of fluid into my body first thing in the morning always helps me to wake up and feel energised. I know a lot of people prefer to just go straight into breakfast in the morning but I always wake up with a dry mouth and I am so used to this now I can’t imagine staring my day without it. I don’t think it’s necessary to drink a litre of water or anything crazy but just a small cup of something is great to wake up my digestive system and feel refreshed. What I drink depends on the day but its usually either lemon water, green/herbal tea, a smoothie or plain water. I still drink a coffee most days but I make sure its later in the morning to allow my body to wake up naturally.
2. Quiet time
Having a moment of stillness and quiet is really important. We spend most of our days being bombarded with information either from the news or social media and it’s very easy to distract ourselves by constantly seeking stimulus. I’m not saying that we should (or could) avoid this altogether but giving myself the gift of 30-60 minutes of quiet time in the morning has done wonders for my stress levels during the day. Again it depends on the day but I will use this time either to read, play with my cat, write in my journal, meditate or just sit and watch out of the window. I just do whichever or a combination of these depending on how I’m feeling each day.
The last thing I like to do before getting on with whatever activities I have for the day is to move my body. I am generally not in the mood for intense exercise early in the morning but going for a walk in the park outside my house or a gentle yoga practice is a great way to refresh my mind, wake me up and reduce muscle stiffness after a night’s sleep. I was resistant to practicing yoga in the morning for a long time as I preferred to do it later in the day when my muscles were warmer and I felt less stiff. But I’ve started to enjoy doing a short practice first thing and then on the days I feel like doing a longer or more intense practice doing this at lunchtime or early evening.
I’ve actually enjoyed following yoga practices on youtube lately. Even though I’m a qualified yoga teacher there is something soothing about being guided through a sequence and it allows me to really relax and melt into the flow rather than thinking about what comes next. Plus it’s great to see other teaching styles and get inspiration for developing my own lessons for when this quarantine is finally over! Some of my favourite morning yoga flows:
The Mindful Movement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQiMhQ9DO_A
Yoga Upload: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvfHJ9dJXak
Yoga with Adriene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-Q7H8afamg
Cat Meffan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFw7wOqLJO0
I hope this gives you some inspiration for how you can start your day off on the right foot. Let me know your morning routine or if there are any other morning yoga flows that you enjoy as I am always looking for new teachers to follow 🙂 P.S I look hench on this photo.. who said yoga is easy??