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I love early mornings.
I always have.
My dad has told me many times about how I used to jump out of bed when I was little and put on my little red snowsuit in winters so I could stand outside with him while he shoveled in the morning. I also liked to walk with him.
I love the time, the spaciousness, and the quiet of the early mornings. I love starting my day slowly, intentionally, and with things that I love—things that energize me, ground me, that help me connect to me.
To be honest, I’ve never been someone to sleep in or wait until the last possible moment to wake up and then rush to wherever I have to go—so I can’t relate to people who are like that. Even in high school, I can remember waking up early and eating breakfast and taking my time to get ready.
What I’ve learned throughout the years, though, is that what we do in the mornings, how we spend our time, will shift and change. The things we love and crave and need at one point may change completely, or they may not, but the way we do them may.
When I was in college, I blasted hip hop or upbeat pop music while I got ready; now if I tried that, I think my brain would cry because I yearn for quiet, silent mornings.
As we shift over the years, we also shift on a daily basis. This has been one of my most immediate experiences of impermanence and lessons in needing to understand that we cannot control everything.
I have a tendency to be rigid and I dislike when my plans don’t go as planned—but I’ve realized how we cannot control everything. This is especially true with how we feel each day! Sometimes we’re tired; sometimes we have energy. Sometimes we may feel like intense workouts and sometimes we may have to remind ourselves that we like walking.
I used to stick to workout routines and daily wake-up times no matter what. If I had a run planned, I ran—it didn’t matter if my body was tired. If I had a strength workout on the schedule, I did it—it didn’t matter if every fiber of my being was dreading it. If I had a plan to wake up at 4 a.m., I did it—it didn’t matter how late I went to bed.
With time, though, I’ve learned that it’s better to have a general idea of what we like—to know the things we like, that we love, the things we want to include, and then feel into how we feel each day and do what feels right to us in the moment—to flow with our mood, with how we truly feel.
For example, I love exercising in the mornings. I love running and walking and yoga and stretching and (sometimes) strength workouts—but when it comes to deciding what I do each day, I feel into what I want in the moment. If I want to walk, I walk. If I’d wanted to run, but I’m tired, I don’t force the run—I walk and stretch instead. If I wake up and feel like writing or meditating, I write or meditate and then exercise later in the day.
I also know the difference between not feeling like working out but knowing I’ll feel better once I get started, and knowing that I genuinely do not want to do something (and then not forcing it).
I also love meditating in the mornings but have found that lately, I like doing it later in the day instead.
What do you love? How do you want to feel? Energized? Awake? Alive? Inspired? Peaceful? Grounded?
What makes you feel that way?
How do you connect to you?
Think about what you like—how you’d like to spend your mornings—and start to play with tuning in each day to see how you feel, to determine what you do, to figure out what works for you.
A thing to remember is that what works for others may not work for us, and what we like, others may not. So, the most important thing is to figure out what we like, what works for us, and then do those things—in the ways that feel right each day, in each moment.
Here are 11 ideas of what we can include in our morning routine:
5. Nature time
7. Inspiring podcasts or audiobooks
8. Taking the time to mindfully drink coffee or tea or another morning beverage
9. Writing affirmations or setting intentions
10. Writing or creating art or studying something we love
11. Organizing our to-do list
Maybe play with a few things on this list or try something else and see how it feels.
Allow yourself space to tune in each day and in each moment with how you feel. And allow yourself to honor that feeling.
How do you connect to you?
What do you include in your morning routine?