To these words my usual response is an unintelligible grunt as I pull the covers over my face.
I am not a morning person.
Thankfully at this point in my life, I have the luxury of making my own schedule which I assure you does not pull me out of bed for anything before 8am. This is in stark contrast to the many years I spent conditioning myself to get up before 6am to practice and teach yoga.
Still, I know that many of you probably need to be awake much earlier than you would like to be, so I want to share with you my personal morning habits that will benefit you whenever you rise. If you are ready to wake up and be a kinder more productive human being read on.
1. Practice Meditation
This month in the Expansion Experiment, we are focusing on meditation as a tool for stress reduction and expanding our awareness. While meditation has numerous positive side effects, one of my favourites is mental clarity. Meditation is like an invigorating shower for the mind and a perfect way to set the tone for the day. A short session of even just ten minutes can make all the difference between feeling groggy and feeling fantastic.
2. Fifteen Minutes of Yoga
The body needs it's warm up as much as the mind. Yoga is my method of choice to start breathing more deeply and work out the cobwebs in my body. You may have experienced days that you wake up stiff and sore to the point that even the smallest task feels like pushing a boulder up a hill. Anyone who practices regularily knows, it directly affects not only the body, but the mood. If you need inspiration for your morning yoga routine, I have created a set of fifteen minute audios to help you (and they happen to be on sale this weekend). Check out the Morning Mini Yoga Pack.
3. Just Say No (to Screens Before Bed)
If you really want to feel more chipper in the morning, help yourself out the night before. Cut out computer and phone usage at least one hour before bed. My guess is you probably spend enough time in front of a screen as it is. Your brain and your eyes will thank you.
4. Be Accountable
I will level with you. In the years I taught yoga early in the morning, the true motivator to get out of bed was knowing that people were counting on me to show up. Their practice and the way their day unfolded mattered to me. My care always overrode my lethargy.
Once you take the daily choice out of whether to get up, it becomes much easier. You can take this one step further by finding an accountability buddy to keep you focused.
Try this for one week:
- Pick a reliable friend who can do a 5-10 minute early morning check in with you each day.
- Get on the phone first thing in the morning (after your practice of meditation/ yoga).
- Take a turn telling one another your main actionable step for that day. Avoid things like "Today I will write a script to sell for a million dollars" and instead try "Today I will develop the back story for my main character". It is easy to become overwhelmed and stall if you make the goal too big. Help one another pair down your big goals into working steps.
- Once you achieve your goal, shoot your friend a text or email letting them know (and probably inspiring them to get moving).
There are many fantastic articles and resources out there about different ways to rise and shine, but the four I have given you work perfectly for me whether alone or in combination with one another. Now I want to hear your tricks for brightening the morning in the comments below.