Fall has a whole different energy than summer.It is a wonderful time to regroup and reset, but it is also easy to feel stressed, slammed, and exhausted from simply reentering the busier hustle and bustle of the season.
In both my personal life and my coaching practice, I am a firm believer that how you start your day dictates how the rest of your day will be.
Ever have one of those mornings? You realize that you have only 20 minutes to catch the subway and you can’t be late so you skip breakfast, tear a comb through your hair, barrel out the door forgetting your umbrella, and sprint to your stop to make it just in time. The light rain that was falling turned into a full-on deluge, you arrive at the office not only hungry and unprepared to make smart eating choices for the rest of day, but also cranky and soaking wet. Needless to say, it’s downhill from there. Sound familiar?
You don’t need an expert to tell you that this is the worst way to start the morning. Ever. Let’s face it, it’s just too easy to grab a few extra zzz’s and worry about the consequences later.
The truth is we—you—deserve much more. We deserve mornings that give us the frame of mind and the physical stamina we need to move through our complicated days with a sense of serenity and purpose. Like Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings used to sing, “be easy, baby,” we should go gentle into the morning.
Clients and friends often tell me that they’re “too tired to even think about waking up a little earlier to start their day calmly.” To which I respond, “so what you are telling me is that you not ‘too tired’ to have a totally awful, stressful, no-good, very bad day?”
My question gives them something to think about. They—and you—can have a totally kickass day by establishing a morning routine designed to take the stress and strain out of those early hours. A new routine will take some getting used to, but believe me, it’s well worth the effort.
It all begins with your state of mind.
Begin your day with mindfulness by taking time for meditation before you do anything. At the very least, sit with yourself, take some deep breaths and decide how you want your body, mind and soul to feel throughout the day. Set the intention to slow down and reset. Commit to taking care of yourself in a tender and loving way.
Making a commitment to daily meditation is one of the best investments you can make in yourself. I know this because it is one of the best investments I have ever made for myself. The benefits of meditation are astounding and include a sense of inner peace, but also an enhanced ability to concentrate, a greater capacity for creativity, a reduced stress level, and an all-round feeling of well-being. As you bring your period of quiet reflection to an end, think about five things in your life—people, places, experiences—you are grateful for. This immediately enhances your ability to be present, as well as calm you down and set you up for the day in a happy and effective way.
Set a daily healthy intention for yourself.
Start your day with purpose by setting a daily intention for yourself that serves you and your highest good. Decide how you want to feel and then make a commitment to yourself to make one healthy change that will get you there. This could be anything—have that green juice, green smoothie or salad; take a long walk and get in that natural Vitamin D from the sun; cut back on your caffeine intake. Write it down—or say it aloud while looking squarely in the mirror. Hold yourself accountable to sticking to your one healthy change. Pretty soon you have built up a new set of good-for-you habits that will contribute to your overall sense of well-being.
By now you might be thinking this all sounds great, but how do I begin to make these changes?
Fair question, so let’s talk about some practical, easy ways you can start to shift and make more mindful choices to set your day up for success:
Begin your morning the night before. Have your outfit for the day on the hanger and ready to go. Plan your meals and prep accordingly so you are healthy have fuel for your body for the long day ahead.
Set your alarm for half hour earlier than your usual time. Use the extra thirty minutes to ease into the new day.
Do light stretches and deep breathing in bed before you get up.
Skip the electronics. Put your phone on airplane mode immediately upon waking. Don’t look at email, texts, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or even Instagram until you have had time to really be with yourself. Promise yourself twenty minutes in the morning to check in with yourself, not the world by leaving the electronics off.
Close your eyes and take some long deep breaths. You can add a mantra if that helps you. Try “I am” on the inhale and “happy and well” on the exhale.
Say five things you are grateful for before your feet hit the floor.
Life is precious. Our bodies are our temples. Make sure you have the best day possible by giving yourself and your body the respect they deserve. You deserve to have the best morning ever. Just “be easy, baby!”—and set your groove for the rest day. By doing this you are setting yourself up to succeed and achieve those goals you are setting for yourself this season. Namaste!