When it comes to transforming our lives, looking at the habits of successful people can be inspirational – and it’s certainly worked for me.
A while back, I came across a series of articles about how influential people began their day. It turns out they all had a routine which became their foundations for success.
From jumping into a private plunge pool to committing to a daily run, they all adopted various activities to set them up for the day – and it inspired me to gather my own selection of morning rituals.
This came at a time when I was actively looking at ways of putting metta loving kindness into practice. If you haven’t come across the concept, it involves directing loving kindness towards ourselves first, which will then ripple out to others.
As a result, my morning rituals focus on this idea – that unselfish self-care will have the happy by-product of benefiting the world around me.
As with all my practices, I do like a bit of variety, because I’m easily bored! Instead of a set routine, I choose from the following ideas and I’ve found each and every one to be genuinely beneficial.
On waking, I have a wriggle and stretch, noticing how my body is feeling. Any areas feeling a little bit out of whack? Anything needing a bit more TLC? How can I ease into those areas today.
2. Steady breaths
I always take a few deep breaths in and out through the nose, with a sigh on the out breath, always noticing how my body responds. It’s important not to rush this – just take it steady.
3. Start smiling
A great start to the day is to smile and say something I’m thankful for in my life. Not sure where to start? I have pictures of family and friends in my bedroom and crystals hanging in my window, which bounce spheres of rainbows around the room as the sun rises. It’s a magical thing to see and always raises a smile.
4. Air is energy
Opening the windows to get some fresh air circulating around your home is a simple but effective way of bringing energy into your home.
5. Morning mantras
Mantras – yogic words or sounds repeated to aid concentration in meditation – can help greatly and if you are you feeling stuck in any area of your life, feel stressed or find yourself in a negative mindset here are a couple of examples for you.
This one helps to remove obstacles, while this has a beautifully calming effect.
Want to find love? Improve your financial position? Can’t sing? Try listening to these sounds with awareness while sitting in meditation – or have them playing in the background while you’re working.
Set a regular daily practice and notice any changes to how you feel about the situation. You might get some insights, or maybe just feel clearer.
6. Altar area
In traditional Thai homes, a small altar area is commonplace – and it’s a beautiful way of making a dedicated space in which to sit and meditate. Try making an offering with words of dedication, perhaps lighting a candle or incense.
Need help to set up a meditation practice? Come to my monthly session – click here for details.
7. Stick your tongue out
It may be prosaic but the Ayurvedic practice of tongue scraping is simple and effective. Find out more here.
8. Morning zing
All the teen magazines used to say models did this – but it turns out it really is a healthy way to start the day. Try freshly-squeezed lemon juice in hot water to cleanse and refresh.
9. Vinegar vigour
As an alternative, take apple cider vinegar with hot water and sometimes honey. Read more here.
10. Fun up your exercise
Fitness doesn’t have to be a routine. If it makes you smile, you might even do it more often! My favourites are hoola hooping, rebounding (mini trampoline), vibration plate or yoga. I just mix it up, depending on my mood. Need reasons to start? Check out this inspiration.
11. Dawn disco
I love playing upbeat dance tracks to get me bopping along. If you’ve got Spotify or Apple Music, check out their selections of themed tracks – a bit like old-fashioned mix tapes!
Most of us have sedentary lifestyles, so a bit of a boogie, working to move all your joints and get your heart pumping can be really helpful. Just try not to head bang too much!
12. Protein power
I always find eating a nutritious breakfast with added protein – perhaps peanut butter, chia seeds or eggs – gives me a real boost.
13. Vitamin verve
Making a fresh juice (get recipe inspiration here) or smoothie is a great way to get a boost of veggies and fruit. Five a day before you’ve even started.
14. Brush boost
Remember dry skin brushing? It’s still a wonderful way to boost the lymphatic system.
15. Take the plunge
If you have a plunge pool, great. I don’t think many of us do though. My alternative is a cold shower. Brrrr – but it gets the blood pumping!
16. Morning meditation
It doesn’t have to be an epic session. Just a few minutes of meditation helps refresh my mind and calm my body.
17. Massage without the masseur
Self-massage is actually a wonderful way of rejuvenating, detoxifying and stimulating your energy channels. Discover more benefits – and how to do it – here.
18. Getting practical
Less spiritual but just as important, I like to make a list of things to do – and then prioritise them. Give yourself plenty of time and don’t overburden your schedule. Make it achievable.
19. Hugs r us
Grab that morning hug – and make it last. Live alone? Wrap your arms around yourself and give yourself a big hug. Holding your hug for 20 seconds allows the body and breath to soften – try it with your loved ones and notice how their breathing changes.
(PS Maybe tell them beforehand, as 20 seconds can feel like an oddly long time if you’re used to a quick hug!)
20. Spread a little colour
I love wearing colourful clothes that I feel comfortable in. Uninspired by your wardrobe? Enlist the help of an image consultant (York folk should check out Jackie Crawford) for a wardrobe edit, image analysis and personal shopping – if you think it’s an unnecessary expense, think again: they’ll suggest valuable tips, helping you to spend wisely and feel better about yourself. Priceless.
As I said, I don’t do ALL of these every morning (I’d have to get up very early!) but I do select from them and have found them all to be beneficial to my wellbeing.
What about your list?
Which things can you include?
When will you start?
How will you track your progress?
In the past, I’ve used a weekly dry wipe board to make a note of what I get up to, so I can see when I’m getting distracted and not keeping to my regime.
Sometimes I take a day off but some things – taking cold showers, for example – have stayed. It took a while to get my body acclimatised but now I love them. They also mean I plunge straight into the sea when I’m on holiday.
It takes 66 days to create a habit so choose which one(s) you’d like to play with and gradually see how you feel. Some you might do daily, others every now and again.
I’d love to hear how you get on – and if you need support, just get in touch – it’s what I do! firstname.lastname@example.org
Wishing you a blooming marvellous Spring!