The Morning Ritual: 5 Things to Do Before Breakfast to Clear Your Mind and Start the Day

How can we use our morning to put us on the good foot? To open us up to receive what comes and to welcome it with open arms, whatever it is? I have an idea how...
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It's easy to wake up and just start running around the house like a crazy person making breakfast, checking email, putting dishes away, doing push-ups, rummaging through closet hangers for an outfit and getting the kids out of the house. Ambitiously, in the spirit of "getting it all done."

Most of us can relate to a morning like that. And how it starts is typically how it ends.

Our days begin to look colorless and feel monotonous, and we can't see the horizon because we've cluttered our view with tasks, obligations, chores and responsibilities. The weight of it all is debilitating.

We have only 24 hours in a day and sometimes that doesn't feel like enough because we're cramming too much in.

So much so that it's confused us, clouded our focus and crippled our peace. Our effort to get it all done is actually counterproductive.

But what if we started a little slower and a little more thoughtfully? How would a peaceful start change our day, its course and momentum? How would our morning affect our focus throughout the day? How would it improve the way we speak to others, what we put in our bodies, and how we feel by the time we return home at night?

How can we use our morning to put us on the good foot? To open us up to receive what comes and to welcome it with open arms, whatever it is? I have an idea how...

We declutter our mornings.

We simplify how we begin.

You've heard it before, I'm sure, that we should have a morning ritual or routine that sets us up for smooth day. That being the wise advice, what does your ritual consist of now?

Don't have one? Or not a consistent one?

If you knew you were going out into the world, likely to be faced with the barrage of clutter (e.g., chatter, confusion, chaos, cloudiness, comparisons, etc., etc.), how would you prepare for the onslaught? That's exactly what's happening. Every day we're faced with these symptoms of clutter, all of which zaps our clarity and depletes our energy.

So I recommend starting the day with clarity. Rid the clutter early. Start by clearing your mind of the junk that keeps you stuck and drowning in To Do lists, appointments, meetings, work, social events, dates, phone calls, text messages, Facebook...

Start by clearing your mind of overwhelm, overload and overcommitment.

I like to keep it simple. The name of the game is peace and clarity. My aim is to give myself a moment of freedom and reprieve before entering the demands the day.

From that place of surrender and release, I truly awaken.

I'm sharing with you my personal morning routine because it helps me get cool, calm and collected before engaging with other people and tackling my daily agenda. It gives me refueling time before I start giving of myself to others. Take some of these ideas and create your own morning ritual.

1. Meditate

Wake up 15 minutes earlier than you normally would and take a few of those minutes (preferably at least five) to sit quietly, with no agenda, no distractions (TV, music, spouse or kids) and focus on your breath. Not your To Do list, not your outfit for the day, not your lunch plans. Just sit still and do and plan nothing. Listen only to the sound of your breath. Those with an active meditation practice can increase this time to 30-45 minutes every morning. But we don't have to call this time "meditation" if you're not into that sort of thing. Instead, rearrange a few letters and call it "me time." Use this time to sit alone, on a hammock, on the grass, in a chair, wherever -- just don't fall asleep. Stay upright and alert, and keep your thoughts coming back to your breath.

Clutter cleared: chatter, confusion, chaos, cloudiness

2. Breathe

Take a big breath of fresh air in the morning, first thing. Walk outside if weather permits. If cold and wet outside, just peek your head out the patio door and inhale the fresh morning air, for at least five big breaths in and out. Don't rush this process, fill your lungs with air slowly and deeply, and then exhale slowly and deeply. Imagine yourself giving in to your breath, oxygenating every inch of your body.

Clutter cleared: chatter, confusion, chaos, cloudiness

3. Journal

Take a pen and paper (yes, the old-fashioned way) and write about your life, your fears, your desires for five full minutes in a journal. The intention is to clear the mind and make space for presence. Trap your thoughts, worries, concerns and plans for the day right here. The goal is to get it out of your mind and onto paper. Make room in your head to be available for what's to come during the day. When complete, leave the journal at home and move forward in your morning.

Clutter cleared: confusion, chaos, cloudiness

4. Say Thanks

Keep a gratitude log. Every morning, close out your journaling session by jotting down five things you're grateful for. Family, home, airplanes, safety, flowers, love, whatever it is, note it on paper. By writing them down, one by one, we allow ourselves to savor that feeling of gratitude for these many things (often overlooked). We begin to see all the beauty that surrounds us already. It sets the day off positively to start gratefully. In the spirit of gratitude, we open up to life, releasing comparison thinking and wishing things were different. When we see all that we have to be grateful for, we invite into our lenses more to be grateful for.

Clutter cleared: comparisons

5. Hydrate

Immediately upon waking, hydrate! Drink one half liter (.5L) of filtered, lukewarm water to get your organs flushed out and joints lubricated. Add nothing to the water, keep it pure. Wait 30 minutes from your last gulp before eating breakfast.

Clutter cleared: chaos, confusion, cloudiness


Would you be able to adopt these five things into your morning as part of your morning ritual? Share with us in the comments below what you currently do when you wake up that helps you get going in the morning?

Tips above taken from "The Declutter Code: 10 Simple Steps to Clarity." See the book here.

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