Photo: Author supplied
Establishing robust rituals first thing in the morning is like training to run an ultra-marathon. It sets you up for the long haul for a productive and positive day.
When I was an ultra-marathon runner, I used to get up anywhere between 2am – 5am to get my kilometres in before I started work. There wasn’t time to hit the snooze button and to keep me accountable I mostly ran with my running buddy Marty.
These days I don’t do those crazy runs, but the lessons I learned, and the habits created have been invaluable and are still part of my morning ritual minus the gruelling hours on the trails in the dark. We’re all running an ultra-marathon called life. Just like running and training for marathons there are days you feel like you can run for miles, then there are days you struggle to get your sneakers on.
The last few months have felt like running a marathon on the beach, at night, in a storm. I know this because I’ve done it! It’s tested us in many ways, making the marathon more gruelling as we’ve had to navigate our way along rocky trails, long isolating stretches on boggy sand, in darkness with the seasons of our minds.
As we gradually enter our new normal, many of you may be feeling like I did when I stepped away from the comfort and safety of my home and returned to the outside world and workforce, apprehensive and vulnerable.
I thought it was a great time to share my 10 morning rituals that help keep me going when things get tough.
Get straight out of bed
It can be tempting to hit the snooze button multiple times for that extra 10 minutes before getting up but the sleep you get between the snoozes isn’t quality sleep and can leave you feeling groggy, tired and frustrated. In addition to this, the snooze habit becomes confusing as you have to go through the process of deciding if it’s time to get up. By doing this, there is no clear signal on when to get up and out of bed.
Set the tone for the way you intend to go about your day, set your alarm for the time you need to rise and get straight out of bed.
When I was doing my hideously early runs, I’d lay my running clothes out beside my alarm, which was kept in the bathroom, so I had to get up to turn it off.
This habit proved to be successful as it took away any procrastinating, saved precious minutes in the morning and made the start of my day simple. It’s a habit I still do now, it keeps things simple.
While everyone is different and the only “right” time to exercise is the one that works best for you, there are many benefits of doing a workout first thing.These include:
- Less distractions
- It sets you up to make healthier food choices throughout the day
- Improves your energy
- Increases your alertness
- Improves your focus and concentration
- Improves your mood
- Beats the heat (if you’re like me and live/work in hot climates)
- Increases your overall activity throughout the day
- Improves your sleep
Get your gratitude on
It’s easy to get caught up in the things that aren’t going well in your life. This negative loop is a source of suffering and unhappiness. By cultivating an attitude of gratitude, it trains your brain to look for the positives in life instead of the negatives.
You can express your gratitude in many ways including:
- Thinking of or writing down 3 things you’re grateful for
- Expressing thanks to someone
- Acknowledge yourself for 3 things you’ve achieved, overcome or accomplished
- Acknowledge other people and thank them for their support, inspiration or help
Starting your day with gratitude helps you go about your day with grace and ease.
Get grounded and centred
Morning is a sacred time of day. Instead of reaching for your phone to check emails or social media (avoid doing this for the first few hours of waking) try spending 5 – 10 minutes in silence observing your breath, your surroundings and your feelings without judging or labelling, just observe. Find it hard to sit still? You may like to try one of my guided meditations here.
Nature heals, it lifts your spirits and has many health benefits including reducing anger, fear and stress. A recent study found that those who spend 2 hours a week in nature experience significant health and wellbeing benefits.
To stay at peak performance, it’s vital to be hydrated, this is overlooked by many. Dehydration is a culprit for headaches, lack of concentration, fatigue and dry mouth. Start your day by drinking a glass of water first thing and keep drinking throughout the day.
You can’t run the ultra-marathon of life when you’re poorly nourished. In this convenience obsessed world it’s easy to grab and run with the quickest and easiest food available. These foods don’t have the nutritional value to help you make the distance. A diet rich in whole foods (foods from their natural source) will sustain you and keep you at peak performance.
Plan your day, start by writing out a list of the things you’d like to achieve for the day, the calls you need to make or return along with breaks and buffer time to catch up or allow for meetings that run over time.
From here pick your most unpalatable task and do that first thing, this sets you up for success and keeps your day flowing. Then highlight your top 3 priorities so they’re completed first.
Any tasks that don’t get done, simply get carried over to the next day without judgement.
If you’re keen to build motivation and momentum and are ready for a habit breaking, energy building challenge that helps you be more accountable, more productive and inspired to go the distance, purchase my book The 30-day Momentum Maker Challenge here.
“The way you start your day determines how well you live your day,” Robin Sharma.
StayWELL and Happy Moving, Shaking…Momentum Making
Rebecca Hannan is known as The Momentum Maker.
Your workplace wellness expert. Specialising in working with organisations and whole communities to take back control of your life so you can live and work WELL.
Rebeca’s passion and enthusiasm for living and working well is infectious. Her mission is to educate, inspire and empower you to take back control of your life so you can live and lead a life of wellness.
She is the author of The 30 Day Momentum Maker Challenge workbook. A book crafted with love to help you get out of your funk and into your flow.
Wife, mother, entrepreneur, runner, yoga lover, salad queen, chaos buster………The Momentum Maker