Power of a Morning Ritual

Ever reach the end of the day and wonder where it went? Do you feel exhausted by lunchtime? Or feel like all you do is run around catering for others when you get home from work? Family, school, work and extracurricular activities fall top of the priority for most of us. But what about you? Shouldn’t YOU be at the top of YOUR list too?

How are you meeting your self-care needs?

 “I don’t have time,” or “I guess I never really thought about it,” are the top answers I hear the most with my students and clients.

My immediate response?

“If you aren’t taking care of yourself, how well you are really taking care of everyone else?”

Constantly going, working from a never-ending to do list without any rest is taxing on the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Our bodies are beautifully designed to achieve balance and the ANS is a fine example of it. On one side is the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) which elicits a 'rest and digest' response, and the opposite is the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), aka the "fight or flight" response that automatically kicks in during an emergency or a crisis. Unfortunately, in our Western culture, many of us constantly live in the “crisis mode,” (SNS) with our never ending cycle of pushing our limits -to get more, do more, be more.

Are you tired yet?

As we acknowledge this, ask yourself the following questions:  What is the one thing that you can control? How can you begin today?

The answer I've discovered is to stay mindful of the morning. Implementing a positive, wellness-oriented morning ritual can provide a system reset for each new day. Often, it's the impetus for more. It may mean rising 20 minutes to an hour earlier or committing to not checking your phone, email and/or social media until a particular time each day. 

Beginning each day with a morning routine can make your days much more productive and improve the quality of your life throughout the day.

Morning routines, or rituals, can be as simple or elaborate as you like. For me, they often are reflective of the season, weather and time of year. The key is to give yourself at least 15 minutes (and hopefully more) just for you as you begin your day. Here are some ideas to get you started in creating your own morning ritual:

•   Stretch and consciously breathe before jumping straight out of bed.

•   Commit to a devotional reading from one or several books each morning.

•   Take a walk or hike as the sun comes up if time allows.

•   Practice yoga. Seriously, just 15 minutes per day IS enough, if that's all you've got. It's better than zero!

•   If you live alone, spend time in silence as you are making your morning coffee or tea.

•   Meditate

•   Commit to a healthy breakfast or homemade juice each morning.

Discover what you love, what calms and centers you, and commit just ten to twenty minutes a day to it. Acknowledge that some mornings it may just not happen. Be gentle with yourself. If you already have a lot going on, self deprecation will not help. Miss a day? Come back the next. In exchange, take a few extra minutes to yourself on your lunch break.

Each day we begin again.

“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”  ~ Eleanor Brown

Written By: Heather Church
Heather is a yoga educator, writer and online media consultant from SE Ohio. She specializes in writing for the yoga and holistic health communities, is an adjunct teacher for Ohio University, offers small group and individual sessions in her hOMe studio and around the rural area, along with volunteer teaching to cancer patients and survivors at a local hospital.  Forever a student, Heather completed 200 hour YTT in 2007, has taken numerous intensives since then, and is currently working toward RYT 500 and c-IAYT simultaneously. She loves and lives the quiet simple life in the middle of the woods on 19 acres; and is happiest at home with her husband, daughter, and two little dogs - along with many chickens and a few goats (soon) on their small family farm. www.helloheatherchurch.com