#50 Create a Morning Routine & Face Each Day with Courage, Confidence, & CalmJul 30, 2021
Let me begin by telling you that the inspiration for this post began with a request from my friend, Mike Kuczala. In short, Mike is a bestselling author, acclaimed keynote speaker, and innovative professional developer in both educational and corporate settings. He’s currently wrapping up the publication of another book titled: The Peak Performing Teacher: 5 Habits of Success, which will be out in February. A few months ago, Mike asked me to write a blurb for his book about my morning routine, so it’s here that I share with you what I’ve shared with Mike.
I’m excited to say that Mike is going to be a future guest on the show and he’ll talk more about his book and the 5 Habits of Success.
It All Begins the Night Before
Now preparing for my morning routine begins the night before. Scheduling bedtime is paramount and shutting off devices an hour before bedtime is a must. Powering down gives my brain the time it needs, and deserves, to settle down and prepare for a solid 8 hours. The sleep routine begins when I walk in the door from school. And during the summer, I’m a pretty scheduled person, so the routine begins around 5:00/5:30 pm.
Avoiding alcohol after school is another practice. Alcohol does not add to but interrupts my sleep, and I honor my sleep too much to allow that to happen. Especially if I’m tired. I’ve found that having a drink when I’m tired is the worst thing I can do. I sleep very restlessly and wake up every hour on the hour and it’s just not worth it. It’s very clear to me that my body is speaking to me, so I listen.
FULL TRANSPARENCY: THIS EXCLUDES TEACHING DURING COVID :)
I like to replace alcohol with Sleepy Time tea or anything herbal and calming. Everything I do, from the moment I walk through that door, is an intentional preparation for slipping into sleep as effortlessly as possible, which means I bathe in the evening as well. A bath or a shower at night helps to symbolically wash away the day and calm the nervous system. Then it’s three notations in my gratitude journal, seven more said in my head, as I get myself comfy under the covers preparing for my beauty sleep, but not before I read a few pages of my book!
Let the Day Unfold
All of these routines are in place because my morning routine is critical to the unfolding of my day. I wake to a natural alarm clock, which mimics a natural sunrise and gradually brightens to help me wake naturally. It’s then set to birds chirping or chimes, about 15 minutes later, because beginning my day with the sound of a jarring alarm is not an option.
Pray. Stretch. Meditate.
Automatically, the prayers begin as I run through my stretching sequence before my feet even hit the floor. The sequence is not long, and it moves my spine in all six ways, activates my abs, and gets my blood pumping. Getting the bed made is the first order of business once my feet land and then before the final pillow is set, I throw it on the floor and settle into morning meditation.
I have no set type of meditation that I practice each morning. This time is very intuitive and I go with whatever my body, mind, and spirit are asking for. I also don’t have a set amount of time for meditation. It could be 3, 5, or 10 minutes or more. I just go with it and however long it is, is however long it needs to be.
I follow up the morning meditation with a little tapping if necessary.
Eating For the Season
Caffeine is also not a part of my diet, so I begin each morning with a tall glass of warm, lemon water. Fifteen minutes later, I drink another tall glass of warm water with an Ashwagandha root extract, an adaptive herb that helps to calm the body, ease inflammation, and boost nutrition. Fifteen minutes after that, I eat my gluten-free/dairy-free breakfast which changes seasonally. Currently, it’s blueberry, chia seed pudding with cinnamon, honey, and ginger. And yes, teachers, if you’re out there, it holds me over until lunch!!
Choosing a gluten-free diet because of a sensitivity has made a huge transformation in lessening the inflammation in my body and eliminating brain fog. It really helps me to feel alive again.
Supplements are also a very important part of my morning routine. I don’t take a multivitamin. Instead, I’ve had my GP take blood work, and I’ve used those results to determine which supplements my body needs.
Finally, before I walk out the door, I lay down to do my 7-minute healing breathwork meditation, and that is what seals the deal for the day! The world could literally fall apart around me, as it had during COVID, and I can withstand it. Please give this meditation a try at shiftforwellness.com/services/. It’s an active breathwork meditation technique, with a three-part breath done through an open mouth. It’s very transformational and facilitates great release. On the website, you will find a video tutorial there, where I guide you through the meditation.
Sunday Is Prep Day
It’s important to note here that I use Sunday to prep for the week in terms of outfits, lunches, and dinners because it saves me tons of time in the morning. I choose five outfits that I think I’d like to wear and iron them all if needed. I select the jewelry and shoes and hang them in a certain section of the closet so I don’t have to think about what I’m wearing when I get up in the morning. This is the perfect time to listen to my audiobook! I listen and I iron. I listen and I pick jewelry. I listen and select outfits and it makes the experience really pleasurable.
In the past, thinking about what to wear used to make me not want to get out of bed. This is how I beat that mindset! I’m faced with 5 ready-to-go outfits in the morning, rather than a closet full of clothes that need tending before wearing out in public.
Additionally, I’ll bag salad lunches in advance so they’re all set to pop into my lunch bag each morning, or I’ll make a warm dish on Sunday that I can separate into 5 glass containers to grab and go! All quick. All healthy.
One final thing to add to the morning routine is my hot water for the day. I boil water to fill two thermoses that I’m sure to drink all day long. Bringing an actual glass from the cabinet adds to the experience. I don’t enjoy drinking out of a thermos or a plastic bottle of water, nor do I want to contribute to the plastic dilemma. These two thermoses give me the water intake I need for the day and keep me hydrated and healthy.
Now, if you’re saying, “SHE’S NUTS! She’s got nothing but time on her hands!” you’d be VERY mistaken.
This routine is something that started small and increased over time. It wasn’t easy for me at first, and sometimes it can still be a challenge, but I don’t even think about these things anymore. They’re a natural part of my day. They’ve been integrated into my daily habits. I can be out of the house in an hour with all of these things in place, but I prefer not to rush, and I give myself an hour and a half. I could also be out of the house in ten minutes, but I know I’ll only suffer as a result. I’ve been there and it’s not a happy place. This is a practice, a lifestyle, and it’s what I choose to do each day in order to live my very best life and show up for MYSELF in the best way I know how.
Why do I do this?
It’s imperative to be my absolute best each day for myself first, and then for my family, friends, and students, colleagues, parents, and administrators.
I do this to quiet my mind, heal my body, and nourish my soul.
What benefit do I get from this?
What I get is what I intended: a quiet mind, a healthy body, and a nourished soul. In turn, this brings others into my world who are also calm, healthy, and nourishing. It also will bring in others who are in need of calm, healing, and nourishment, which allows me the opportunity and the blessing, to be able to work with them as their coach and healing facilitator, teaching them how to heal themselves. The energy that I create for myself each day directly transfers over those that share my space, particularly, my students. If I’m grounded, they’re grounded.
How long have I been doing this?
I’ve been on this path since 2007, purposefully and intentionally working it, after a journey through cancer.
What about you?
So what’s your morning routine? Do you have one? Are you thinking about establishing one? Where will you start? I suggest you start with scheduling your bedtime.
This week’s Shift work that I have for you consists of three things:
1) Schedule your bedtime & shut your devices off an hour before you head to bed
2) Make your lunch and lay out your clothes the night before
3) Consider what you’re conditioned to do when you first open your eyes and make it richer by reading a few pages in a book, writing in a journal, stretching, meditating, or just being still and silent.
Thanks for reading today. Check back next week and if you haven’t already listened to the podcast version of this blog, I'd love for you to give it a try. You can subscribe so you don’t miss another episode, and I would love it if you would please rate and review the show while you’re there.
It’s not about being perfect; it’s about being easy with your practice.
I wish for you peace, ease, joy, and love. You deserve to be well. xo