Have you ever arrived to a destination, to have no recollection of how you got there? Somehow, through auto pilot instincts, we navigated while our mind focused on something else, either reflecting on the past or fast forwarding ahead. Sound familiar?
Our minds race backwards and forwards all day long and seldom do we actually allow them be in the present. As a born worrier and someone who has worked through bouts of anxiety, I’ve faithfully adopted trying (and I emphasize trying) to be mindful and in the present as much as possible throughout my day.
What is Mindfulness?
“Mindfulness is a natural quality that we all have. It’s available to us in every moment if we take the time to appreciate it. When we practice mindfulness, we’re practicing the art of creating space for ourselves – to think, to breathe, and to keep time between ourselves and our reactions.”
This time of being quiet, and focusing on being present, has been critical on my journey back to “self” since the incident I experienced mid-December. In the days following, my mind would continuously replay what happened (taking me to the worst case what if’s) or race ahead, placing pressure on myself as to when would I feel myself again. All unhealthy mind spaces to be in.
Mindful Morning Routine
In “First We Make The Beast Beautiful“, Sarah Wilson reminds her readers of the importance of mindfulness and morning routines:
“When I was interviewing all those successful life-bettering folk I would ask, at the end of the interview, for their favourite hack, the one they personally live by. In all but a few cases they’d reply, I have a morning routine.”
As we’ve heard many times over in publications, TED Talks, television and podcast interviews, morning routines and the art of being present are critical in setting direction and anchoring one’s day ahead.
For those of us who no longer have to run around juggling work, business travel, child care and school drop off, and extracurricular activities, this is the perfect time to create routines for ourselves: to create some extra space to think and breathe each morning before heading out the door to work. And for those still in the throws of child rearing priorities and the demands of others’ schedules, I encourage you to carve a few minutes each morning to escape and be present (mindful). And…take up the opportunity again when in the car pool pick up line!
What Works For Me
You know the Folgers jingle, “The best part of waking up….”? Besides the coffee in my cup, it is my mindful morning routine that keeps me well. It’s as much a ritual as my night time bath.
Here’s what works for me:
- Minimum 20 minute meditation (on weekends I take advantage of 30 minutes). This includes setting an intention for the day followed by deep breathing (my favourite is the Box Breathing technique).
- 15 minute stretch. I have a favorite series of stretches and yoga poses.
- Cup of coffee while I read for 20 minutes. My books at this time of the day are inspirational or wellness focused.
- I then head to get ready and while doing so, play a podcast (with a second cup of coffee). The podcast topic is usually one of wellness and inspiration or business motivation.
Responding to texts and emails comes after the above, and I do not read any news feed in the morning.
Create Your Own Routine
Based on where you are in your daily commitments of life, I encourage you to define a simple morning routine. Whether it includes prayer, exercise, meditation, a walk, journalling, yoga, or simply drinking a glass of lemon water, try it faithfully for 30 days (the time it takes to create a habit). Evaluate along the way the difference it makes in your daily journey. Who knows, you might just arrive to your destination safe and sound, AND remember the journey! Enjoy the ride and stay present. Because life isn’t meant to be a blur, and should be wholly felt and experienced along the way. And…because we can!
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Photos: Casey Nolin Photography
Such a great post. I noticed when I retired from a very busy career that I was at loose ends in the morning. The lack of a routine started to affect my entire day. I now make sure I have a plan for the day which includes making sure I am “dressed” for the day. This includes my hair and makeup done (just minimal makeup) so I am presenting to the world the best version of myself. I also have incorporated regular exercise into my week so it is a “must do” for me.
Your post has reminded me that I do want to incorporate meditation into my routine. Thank you! I enjoy your blog so much!
Thank you for sharing! I wish you well incorporating meditation into your routine. Two apps I have used in the past are “Headspace” and “Calm”. They may be worth checking out as a means to get your practice started. Thank you for your ongoing support. I wish you a great day! Denise