I went into this fall with a full calendar and not a strong plan to manage it. With a new job, two new grad school courses, the launch of a new brand, and my little ones by my side through it all, I exhausted quickly. However, this experience taught me so much about time management, balance, and the essentialness of self-care.
As I explored life/work/school balance more, I saw two words again and again: morning ritual. This month, I created one and enjoyed amazing benefits as a result! My days start stronger, more focused, and present, and I believe yours can, too!
If you’re wondering what a morning ritual is, as I did until a few weeks ago, a morning ritual is a collection of positive habits that you carry out each morning to start your day on the right foot. They should be personal, meaningful, and help you feel refreshed before the day begins. There are many different options. However, I found these five to be the most beneficial and I’d love for you to try them!
ELEMENT 1: UNPLUG
It is so tempting to check the phone first thing in the morning. However, this is distracting and can cause stress before the day even begins. I love what Catherine at The Blissful Mind says about this: “When I make the choice to scroll mindlessly through Facebook or Instagram or any other social media network, I allow the energy of others to affect my own energy before my day has even started.”
Unplugging can feel challenging at first. Here are a few ways to set yourself up for success:
- Turn off your phone at night before bed and back on when your morning ritual is complete, or
- Keep your phone on and place it in another room of your house so you can recharge while it recharges, too.
- If you feel like you need to have your phone at your bedside, set it to Airplane Mode or Do Not Disturb at night. The Do Not Disturb setting allows you to select calls you’d like to come through (from your children, for example) in case you may truly be needed during the night. I love this option and set mine from 10:00pm to 8:00am every day.
ELEMENT 2: PREPARE YOUR BREAKFAST FIRST
Putting yourself first in the morning enables you to put others first for the rest of the day. Something as simple as a hot bowl of oatmeal, your favorite cup of tea, or a slice of toast with fresh butter and a layer of preserves can do wonders for bringing balance to your day. This month, I made a habit of feeding myself first in the mornings, and am happy to say no one went hungry or felt slighted. When we show our children we matter through simple acts of self-care, they learn the importance of self-advocacy, which is essential for a joyful life.
If you feel like you don’t have time for breakfast, try these tips to help your morning meal go more smoothly:
- Decide what you’re going to eat the night before. Write it down or say it out loud to your partner so you remember.
- If you eat dry cereal or oatmeal for breakfast, lay out the container and tableware the night before so everything’s ready to go.
- Ask your spouse if he would make your children’s breakfast or help with preparation the night before.
ELEMENT 3: CONTROL THE CONTROLLABLES
Tsh Oxenreider and Erin Loechner had a great podcast episode last week about creating home where you are and taking control of the controllables in your environment. If you are a highly sensitive person (like yours truly) this is an especially important element of your morning ritual.
If our senses are bombarded with disruptive sights, sounds, and smells first thing in the morning, it can set a sour tone for the day. Set a positive tone instead by incorporating your favorite scents, music, candles, or any sensory-based element that brings you joy.
Here are a few ideas to wake up your senses in a soothing way:
- Create a calming music playlist.
- Keep essential oils by your bed and use them when you wake up in the morning.
- Have a candle on your desk to light while you write or gather your thoughts for the day.
ELEMENT 4: WRITE MORNING PAGES
This is by far the most therapeutic, calming part of my morning. You can approach morning pages a number of ways. I recommend one of two approaches to start.
The first way is to free write for five minutes about whatever is on your mind. Don’t stop or edit, just write. Free writing declutters the mind and frees up space to process the present moment. I find this practice so helpful in letting go of yesterday to fully embrace today.
The second is to use a guided journal. I love The Five Minute Journal by Alex Ikonn and UJ Ramdas, which you can purchase here. Alex’s passion for living a joyful life is evident in his work, and shines through in this journal.
New to morning pages? Here are few great resources to help you get started:
- 5 Ways to Use Your Journal for Self-Care by Jennifer of Simply + Fiercely
- Change Your Life with Morning Pages by Caylee of Caylee Grey
- Feeling lost? Write to Your Intuition by Jess Lively
ELEMENT 5: SHOWER
While this may sound obvious, silly even, think how many times you’ve set aside showering to take care of your children, the laundry, the dishes, etc. and lived in PJs as a result. When we live the day in PJs, we are subconsciously telling ourselves we’re not ready for the day.
You may be thinking “I love my PJs! I can’t let them go!” As a former and avid PJ day-wearer, I’m with you. I SO get it. I also know how much more alive I feel when I get dressed, put on my favorite pair of boots, and greet the day clean and dressed.
If you’re struggling to find time to shower in the mornings, here are a few tips:
- Make showering the first thing you do in the morning. Once it falls to number three or four on the agenda, it gets lost in the shuffle.
- Choose and lay out your outfit the night before. Pick something you love and enjoy wearing!
- Practice waking up before your children. While this may not always be possible, it can be a big help in carving out time for a shower.
I’d love to learn about your morning and how these tips helped you! What will you do to create a strong morning ritual?
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