Ok so real talk: I have never, ever been a morning person.
I don’t naturally hop out of bed at 5:30am ready to sprint to the gym. I am not the type to be bustling around the kitchen smiling and singing. When I was younger my parents made me set loud alarms all the way across the room just to get me out of bed, and even still it was a struggle.
I just love sleep – and I have always needed a lot of it. I am not like these famous CEO’s that you read about in magazines that operate on 4-5 hours of sleep – no freaking way! I have to have my 8 hours or I get grumpy.
I guess I just cherish rest.
Fast forward past college and graduate school and into working adult life, and in more recent years my morning routine typically looked like this:
- Alarm Goes Off – Turn off and lay there, grumbling about having to get up
- Realize 15-30 minutes has gone by and I am now already behind
- Jump out of bed and turn coffee pot on
- Get in shower and get ready for the day
- Bring my breakfast with me on the way to work
- Rush in the car to get to work on time (or late)
It is no wonder that I always felt tired, rushed and agitated…I mean, look at how I started my day! There was certainly nothing calm or balanced about my morning routine.
Once I realized that this system was the absolute worst way to start my day, I began researching on the internet and talking to wellness colleagues to find the right morning routine for me. I experimented with several different types of morning routines, including:
- 1.5 hour Ashtanga Yoga Practice starting at 5.30am
- Early morning gym sessions
- Early morning walks
- Gratitude lists
However, none of this quite worked. Some was too much, some too little. And when I don’t feel like something is the right fit, I am the type that can easily fall back into my old habits.
Through Ayurveda (learn more about that here), however, I learned a lot about tuning into my body and what it needs rather than what I want it to do. I learned that my body does not do well with heavy activity early in the morning. So for example, even though I love my Ashtanga yoga practice, it was just too much for my body at that time of day. I would be exhausted by midday and was resorted to a lot of coffee to stay awake.
Yet at the same time I also found that I still need some movement to wake my body up – just doing meditation was simply not enough. Again, I still ended up needing lots of coffee to get that kick start.
But all this trial and error was worth it, because I finally created a simple, 20 minute morning routine that includes meditation, stretching, and a few yoga poses – and it is perfect! This routine now helps me start the day calmer and more focused. I am not overdoing it, but I am also not struggling to wake up. It is the perfect combination for my body and mind.
I still do these other practices, but I have found other times of the day that work better for me.
For example, I have changed my heavier cardio workouts to after work – and even though some days it is a huge push to get my butt to the gym or yoga studio, I feel so much better after I am done. Working out at that time allows me to work off all the stress of the workday.
Oh – and I finally ditched the coffee – I now drink decaf black tea. But that is a whole other story!
I simply love my new morning routine. It has really helped me combine different practices for the perfect balance that best suits my body and my needs.
So think about your routine and ask yourself these questions:
–> How do you start your day?
–> What is your current morning routine?
–> How do you think that affects the way you feel throughout the day?
I would love to hear your thoughts!