Early in the summer I found myself dancing at 6 in the morning with a drink in hand. Years ago this would have been a "normal" experience but this was definitely not the kind of party I was used to. My drink was a green smoothie. The DJ played high energy, uplifting beats and we began the party with sun salutations. Halfway through we broke for crossfit training and toward the end I led a session on how to feel enthusiastic when we first get out of bed -- a session that the majority of people at this party didn't need. Instead of avoiding the topic of our "walk of shame" and sleeping one off, we talked about what interesting things the day had in store. Some people were headed to work and morning meetings, others were going to spend time in nature or had plans with friends. The experience ended with everyone in a circle sharing their appreciation for a great start to a new day.
For many of us, it can be challenging to feel enthusiastic and engaged when we get out of bed - especially when we don't begin the day by going to a healthy morning rave. Below are five easy and effective ways to bring a sense of enjoyment to our mornings.
1. Creating a morning ritual
Each night before I go to bed I leave a tall glass of water on my night table. In the morning when I wake -- even before I open my eyes -- I take five to 10 slow, deep breaths, drink my glass of water and say thank you to the sunlight that traveled (according to google) approximately 93 million miles to find its way into my home. This ritual wakes my mind and body gently and allows me to begin my day with ease.
Something this simple gives us the opportunity to bring intention and direction to our mornings. It takes less than two minutes and puts us in a place of power when we begin a new day.
2. Yesterday's highlights
A great thing to do while we are brushing our teeth or taking our morning shower is to think of five things we appreciated about yesterday and five things we accomplished. This can be as small as really enjoying our lunch or as big as running a marathon.
We often skip over the little things that happen each day but when we take time to acknowledge them, this simple practice gets us in the habit of noticing what we like. Eventually, when we do this each morning, we begin to look forward to the enjoyable moments today has in store for us.
3. Going to the gym
Heading to the gym in the morning is a great way to get energy flowing and release "happy" hormones. When we do something that helps us feel good, first thing, we have also set the tone for the day. Whether things go as we want them to or not, we have already done something positive for ourselves that we can feel good about by the time we get to work.
Another aspect of going to the gym that can be overlooked is the opportunity to socialize or be around other people. If you often feel lonely -- because you are new to a company or are buried in paperwork or because you work from home or spend most of your time with 5 year olds -- going to the gym can give us that little boost in confidence that we need to move through the day. Seeing friendly faces at the reception desk or having chat time before a morning yoga class can help us feel included and significant.
4. Morning smoothies
Having a smoothie in the morning is a wonderful way of getting in a bunch of our fruits and vegetable intake for the day and it is also a great alternative to caffeine for a boost in energy. Like going to the gym, having a smoothie can make us feel like we have already accomplished something even before getting to work or taking the kids to school. Smoothies are colorful, delicious and nutritious!
5. Going to bed earlier
Last but not least is going to bed earlier. With cell phones continually dinging, Netflix, housework or homework it can be challenging to get to bed earlier but heading to bed in time to get 8 hours of sleep can have a huge impact on our mornings. Sometimes that extra hour is the difference between spending your entire day irritated or your entire day smiling. Our bodies need rest, repair and replenishment in order to function at optimal level. When we wake feeling refreshed we have more energy to do more things. Instead of feeling rushed and anxious we can arrive at work early and look over our report before handing it in. We can spend some time reading with our favorite cup of tea before getting the kids ready for daycare.
Going to bed earlier can also give you more time in the morning because it will eliminate the battle of the alarm. Instead of hitting snooze, scrambling to look presentable, stuffing a piece of toast in your mouth on your way out the door, hoping that you beat traffic, you could be waking up with enough time to focus your mind, cleanse and nourish your body and start your day off in the best feeling place possible.
These 5 suggestions are the practice of self-love. You are allowed to enjoy each part of your day but only you can give yourself permission to do that. Each morning we have the choice to remind ourselves that we are powerful, significant and ready to take life on - or not.
A Little Love From Mala