If you are struggling with addressing lifestyle habits that are undermining your vitality and health, then a good place to start is with a healthy morning ritual.
The quality of our morning routine experience can have a profound effect on how the rest of our day unfolds!
I am a great believer that making small, incremental changes over a long period of time is much more beneficial than taking giant leaps into a rigid regime that is unsustainable, and often counterproductive.
Soooooo, I am going to share a few little routines that help focus my mind and emotions for the day ahead, with the hope that it may inspire you to develop something similar.
We are all guilty of staying in bed for as long as possible, leaving us only enough time to kick-start the day at the speed of lighting.
However, if you are experiencing stress-related health challenges, or you need to push the ‘reset’ self-care button, I cannot overestimate the importance of a SLOW morning routine to ground your energy and set you up for a calmer day, as well as support your body to do the job of keeping you well and strong.
Doing that little bit of extra self-care in the morning is one of the essential building blocks for good health, fitness & longevity. And, surprisingly, you will find that taking time, actually makes more time…
Integrating a mindfulness routine into your daily life will help support your immune system through the winter flu season, reduce inflammation, help manage pain, stimulate the body’s natural healing process, and significantly help you remain more balanced throughout the day - which is really important if you have a demanding job or stressful lifestyle.
Life’s Little Essentials:
Without fail - the first thing I do is drink a glass of lukewarm water to flush out toxins and give my body essential hydration. A significant amount of our body is made up of water, so we need plenty of hydration to help us function properly. When we sleep our body is also taking time to restore, rebalance and begin the detoxification process. So, it’s important that we aid this process in the morning with filtered water.
After water, I usually wait for about 20 mins before I eat my breakfast, which is the perfect amount of time to practice my mindful meditation & breathwork routine.
Importantly, even if you feel that you don’t have time to put in 20 minutes of mediation, every minute counts and helps!
Try 2 minutes | Work up to 5mins.
Soon you will find yourself wanting to sit for longer & longer, until it becomes so much part of who you are that you actually find yourself drawn to the practice (See my blog how mindfulness helps to reduce stress).
Throughout my life I have always used oils, sage, incense, candles & music to support my meditation practice.
Currently, I am enjoying my new Kotanical Lavender Essential Oil in a diffuser. I vary the essences, depending on the season and my mood; but at the moment I’m smitten with this Irish distilled, organic botanical, as I find it both uplifting and grounding at the same time. The perfect balance!
The Art of Living a Mindful Life is about seeking out those precious mindful moments that are actually part of our everyday experience.
I follow my meditation with a shower. Even standing in the shower can be another opportunity for some special moments of peace and tranquility.
I have had so many students say to me:
“I just don’t have time in the morning for meditation Anna; I’m too busy.”
I say: “Do you shower? If so, this is the perfect time to practice the art of living a mindful life: focus your attention entirely on the sensation of the water running over your skin. Be aware of your breath, the sounds, the warmth… and even imagine that the water is like a waterfall washing away all your worries and stress.
It’s a little bit of morning magic!”
Breaking our fast:
Breakfast is literally about breaking our fast after sleep. Mealtime is another wonderful opportunity to practice the art of mindful living (see my comprehensive mindful eating blog for lots more detail on this).
We all have different dietary needs, so I am not advocating any kind of nutrients here (see your healthcare provider or nutritionist).
Personally, I have spent many years trying out different diets and herbs, and my favourite by far is to eat fresh, seasonal and preferably things that are native to the environment that I live. This isn’t always possible, but there are some fruits that I relish for my breakfast, such as seasonal berries: blueberries (native Irish ones are called bilberrys) & blackberries. We have just had an amazing season of blackberries, so I have been loading these little beauties onto my porridge.
Fresh herbs are also a fantastic addition to our diet, not only because they taste gorgeous and have medicinal qualities, but because they are natures natural power foods, packed with essential nutrients, vitamins & vitality.
Other seasonal morning delights are foraged nettles (for tea) in the early summer, rose hip tea (late summer), dandelion root coffee (all year, because I dry it), mint water, & rosemary & thyme tea (I’m just about to harvest this now).
One of my absolutely essential morning shots is unfortunately not home grown… Turmeric. I have to make an exception here!
For me turmeric is the golden elixir of health and wellness. Every day, just before breakfast, I take a shot of organic turmeric powder with a splash of warm water, olive or coconut oil.
I have taken this for many years. It’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties have nursed me through a serious knee injury and it has helped ward off many a flu virus, when the hubby was conked on the couch.
My other non-native morning herbal tea favourite is green tea!
So after hydration, meditation, brekkie, I spend a couple more moments with a cup of deep, dark, aromatic freshly brewed coffee, while watching the crows dart around in the garden, as they compete with the robin and wagtail for the food we have put out.
Morning Skin Care Essentials
In terms of a skin care routine, things have changed quite dramatically for me. When I was younger, I just used Dr. Hauschka Quince Cream - but, now I am finding that it is important to use something more therapeutic to help with the aging process, as well as really nourish my skin from the inside out with foods such as avocado, walnuts & sweet potatoes.
So, I am using a a blend suggested by my good friend Natasa from www.liveempowerednow.com that is helping reduce inflammation from hormonal changes, as well as counteract dryness & loss of elasticity.
So my morning skin care is a rich, earthy, sweet & warming combination of Yarrow Pom by Doterra (which has pomegranate oil in) combined with Frankincense. I am finding that my skin is responding really quickly! I can see the difference almost immediately after application. These oils really seem to enliven my skin, even when it feels dull and tired.
So, my friends, this is about it for my morning routine.
If I end up having a busy day, I know wholeheartedly that just taking that little bit of extra time in the morning to nourish my body and soul really does support me on a very deep level.
Good luck with your sweet little morning rituals, and please comment below on what kind of practices you have in the morning.
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PS: I will be sharing lots of practical tips on the Art of Living a Mindful Life, at my NEW Autumn Wellness Morning Retreat Experience, on October 20th - 10.30am - 2pm. If you are interested in finding out more click on the button below: