I am so happy to be back writing to you on all the things I love and have found, through experimentation, to help overcome anxiety and live from a place of greater ease and happiness. I was ‘off the radar’ for a good 2 months. It wasn’t planned that way, but the more time I took to create, reflect and fine-tune my passions and what I wanted to offer, I kept evolving. New ideas and directions kept revealing themselves and, well, here I am!
Of course there have been obstacles, doubts, really, really bad days and moments where I wanted to throw it all out the window. But I kept coming back, fueled by an unshakable morning routine to re-set, recharge and start again.
We all need this re-set button. Whether it is exercise, taking a deep breath, repeating a mantra/affirmation, we need to come down from the drama, the peaks of stress, over-thinking, and anchor firmly in who we truly are, beyond thoughts, opinions and feelings.
“Through regular, focussed intentional actions we can live a conscious life.”
We have to master our own lives. To do that we have to master our mornings. Set yourself up in the right direction, prepare your mind, your heart and your spirit. Take control by connecting with yourself first, then enter the day by responding from there instead of being in reaction when life starts to fly at you.
“As you live your days, so you live your life.”
To do this, I will share my routine. I encourage you to set yourself up for a grounded day with a morning routine that is a ‘win’ before you walk out the door. All my work is about making small, 1% changes every single day to produce the largest, greatest impact in the long run. This is how our brains change, our habits change, our bodies change and our lives change.
I will share with you my routine and what goes into it, not always in the same order but in some variation. I’ve added some key elements to include in your life that can make the biggest shift. For more inspiration read The 5am Club by Robin Sharma.Sleep:I go to bed between 9-10pm most nights as a priority. This allows for a good 8 hours sleep which is what I need. To do this, all technology gets turned off at least an hour before (most nights), and most nights I try not to eat or drink anything past 8pm to allow my body a real rest.
1. Get up early: On weekdays I rise between 5-6am. I love the morning quiet and stillness before everyone else wakes up. I go to the bathroom, brush my teeth and start my routine.
2. Hydrate: The first thing I do is drink a huge glass of water to re-hydrate. Sometimes it has lemon, sometimes straight up.
3. Move: I stretch, breathe, do some yoga for 20 minutes. If I know I will go to a class or walk later, I do 5-10 minutes.
4. Meditate: I now rarely start a day without it. I used to listen to guided meditations as it was difficult to sit still, or do a specific breathing practice, now I breathe and settle in and sit… sometimes for 20 minutes, sometimes an hour depending on the day. Just being and noticing is an incredible act of self-care even if you have 5 minutes, or one breath. The research now is pretty overwhelming, but I don’t need to tell you that. I know from doing it, and noticing how my day goes when I don’t.
5. Reflect/Grow: I am constantly learning from others and usually have a course on the go. Right now I am watching Kyle Cease’s Evolving Out Loud series. So, I either read or watch something inspiring to help me in my life and work. Or, I will spend 10-20 minutes writing, which I love. I reflect or imagine, or just free-hand write.
6. Set an Intention: Intentions are different than goals. When we set an intention, we set a course for the day. Naturally we go off course, but we are more likely to bring ourselves back. Research shows that setting an intention brings a higher level of energy and focus into your day. It might be something simple like ‘to be open to what comes up’ or ‘to be patient’, ‘to breathe’, ‘Love’, ‘to be present’ or an affirmation such as ‘I am here, I am free, I am confident, I am OK.. the possibilities are endless. Remember it should resonate with you and feel true, like a validation.
Then, and only then, will I check email, post on my Facebook pages or look at my day. The best way to get knocked off centre and increase anxiety and reactivity is to check email and watch the news upon wakening.
All in all, it can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes. But then I am ready. Ready for what will unfold.
Some other hints:
7. Set a reminder: through the day to breathe and return to your true self. Right now I am loving my new lotus locket and choosing an essential oil to go with it. If I want to feel grounded and calm, I choose lavender. If I want more energy, I choose citrus blend. If I want to feel clear and aligned, I choose Breathe blend. I had so many people ask about it that I now share all this on my shop page right here. I love this part of my day and pause throughout my day to smell it and remember who I truly am.
So far, if that is all you did, that is enough: Sleep, hydrate, move, reflect, intend. But let’s keep going.
8. Be in nature: Once in the morning and a few times throughout the day if you can. Even if this means just sticking your head out and breathing in the fresh (presumably) air. A short walk is fine too. Connecting with nature takes us out of ourselves and our small minds into the wider, beautiful world that keeps giving.
9. Turn off the news: How much do you need to know? Yes, it is important to be aware of what is happening in your community and the world, and avoidance is not a good tactic. However, remembering that it is pretty much all bad news on tv and the world is so much more than that, do you need to start your day with it? Try once a week and tell me if you miss much. Watching the news can be addictive, and creates anxiety. How can you best serve this world? Anxious and scared of it, or full, happy and optimistic?
10. Contribute: Ok, so this may not be a part of your morning routine, but being in connection and contributing is a known factor in happiness. As Anne Frank wrote from her hiding place in Nazi Germany “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. ” You can change someone’s life today with your presence, a call, a smile, a comment.
Everyone affects everyone else. Think of the people that made the clothes you wear, the computer you are using, grow the food you eat, clean the water you drink. You are a part of everything else. You cannot get away from it. What you do or don’t do affects everyone else and it’s wonderful.
Don’t give up after 2 days. It will take 66 days of practice to create a new habit. Make it easy by doing it as a ritual: set your alarm, get everything ready and choose your spot so you don’t back out.
Here is my lotus locket reminder to Breathe in different colours.