BY RACHELLE BALLARD-CLAYTON • JANUARY 22, 2021 • LIFESTYLE
What we do in our daily routine can either inhibit or enrich our life and health. The phrase that has had a profound effect on me is ‘body before business’. According to physiotherapist Michelle Lyons, we should attend to our body and mind first thing in the morning.
But how do we do that?
Some Typical Types of Morning Rituals
In our current day and age, most people keep one of the following morning rituals:
#1 Checking a mobile/iPad/computer first thing on waking. A study from IDC Research revealed that 80% of smartphone users check their mobile devices within 15 minutes of waking each morning.
#2 Turning the television or radio on first thing in the morning.
#3 Rushing around in the morning and buying a croissant and coffee on the way to work.
While we are used to our particular morning rituals, there are plenty of other ways to set ourselves up for a brilliant day ahead. Take for example the Mindful Morning Rituals, which are so much healthier than what I described above!
Let’s Begin with Morning Mindfulness Meditations
Because of the current fast pace of many people’s lives, our days may include more stress and pressure. People assume this kind of stress is simply an unavoidable part of life, but meditation can help enable us to manage our home and work lives in a more skillful manner.
A regular morning meditation practice helps create and cultivate peace of mind and happier relationships. As a result, we may become kinder and less judgmental of ourselves and others.
True peace of mind is always there, but we must let go of everything that obscures such calm and clarity – our confusion, our ruminating, our expectations, our inner chatter.
When we achieve calmness and peace of mind with morning meditation, our perspective changes and we may feel more positive about ourselves and the day ahead.
What Does a Morning Mindfulness Ritual Look Like?
As previously discussed, the practice of mindfulness meditation is one form of a morning ritual. However, there are many sorts of mindfulness practices to choose from. It is important to pick something you are happy doing consistently.
These can be anything you like. You can establish them as timeout sessions where the focus is on you and your body, with no distractions. Here are some examples:
- Exercise is a type of mindfulness. A long walk in nature has double effect, as nature provides those beautiful feel good hormonal releases in your body.
- Make your favourite healthy meal and enjoy the flavours and textures, while taking your time to eat it. To support mindfulness, put the meal on a beautiful plate and decorate the table.
- Put your bare feet on the ground and feel the sensations beneath you.
- Take deep breaths in and out to connect with your body and mind.
How to Start a Morning Mindfulness Ritual
Choose some routines that feel good for you, or you could try my challenge below.
You need to commit to the process and allow yourself the time and space to practice your ritual. Remember, this is your special time.
You might start with a minimal time frame that best fits your lifestyle and increase it if you find it insufficient. First thing in the morning is best. However, you can also do this last thing at night. The full seven minutes to yourself, without distractions, remains nonnegotiable. This is for YOU.
The 7-Minute Routine
Step #1: Drink a Glass of Water
Most of us underestimate how much water we need. Water will help with your digestive health, your mental health, and will hydrate your connective tissue and organs to help you feel less stiff and sore.
Step #2: Put Your Gratitude in Writing
Write a quick gratitude sentence, such as “Today I am grateful for………….”
Practicing gratitude daily may lower your stress response, increase immunity, and help with mental health.
Step #3: 1 Minute of Breath Work
Take a deep breath in through the nose filling your lower belly and expanding your ribs, then slowly exhale through your mouth, making your exhale longer than your inhale.
Or breathe in, as above, to the count of 4, exhale for the count of 4 and repeat for the full minute. Breathing exercises help with stress, mental health, pelvic health, better lung capacity and feelings of wellbeing.
Step #4: 5 Minutes of Mobility Exercises
Mobility/flexibility is something we lose with environmental factors, including desk work, sitting for too long, phone use, and repetitive work. It is also something we lose as we age and hormonal fluctuations occur.
However, we can help ourselves become more flexible and mobile with just a few simple moves that don’t require equipment. This assists that water you just consumed get into the connective tissue inside your body. It helps with stiffness, digestive health, mental health, and it makes you feel good!
Why These Four?
An array of different lifestyle changes and rituals is important for overall health and wellbeing. Having extensively researched the area of women’s health, I know different lifestyle factors can inhibit the physical, mental, and emotional health of women. I believe this will help cover many of the basics, so you can see and feel a difference in yourself.
What Do I Need to Do?
- Complete the 4 tasks first thing upon waking or last thing at night.
- You can also complete the 4 tasks morning and night. You could choose the same rituals or introduce others into the mix.
It takes approximately 21 days to form a new habit. I hope you continue this restorative practice beyond 21 days and make it an important part of your lifestyle.
Currently, what is your morning ritual? What do you do immediately after waking? Have you formed a working mindfulness ritual to open/close your days? Has it become a habit? Please share your story with the community!