How often do you feel energized, grounded, and excited for the day when you finish your morning routine?

And what is your morning routine?

Are you one of those people who sleep as late as possible, pound some coffee and a processed breakfast, and then rush to get into work on time? (No judgment—I’ve been there! Gas station java and pop tarts for the win!)

Or do you leave yourself a cushion of time so you can ease into your day feeling centered and invigorated, through some combination of self-care activities?

In recent years I’ve leaned toward the latter because I know the way I spend my morning sets the tone for the rest of my day.


                          


1. Mindful check-in

I imagine a lot of us hop out of bed and get into the morning without really checking in with ourselves to see how we’re feeling.

Check in to see how your body feels—if you’re holding tension anywhere or if any part of your body needs a little extra love, whether that means stretching your legs or giving yourself a hand massage.

Check in to see how you feel mentally and emotionally—if you feel anxious about anything that’s coming or you’re holding onto any thoughts or regrets about yesterday and could maybe work through them with a little journaling.

2. Mindful morning mantra

Because I want my son to feel excited about his days, and to know that he’s a valuable human being, I’ve gotten into the habit of telling him, right after he wakes up, “Welcome to the day, the day is lucky to have you!” (I probably sound like the teacher from Peanuts right now, cause, you know, he’s one and a half, but in time he’ll understand!)

Recently it occurred to me that I could just easily say this to myself, either looking in the mirror or just in my head when I first open my eyes. So I tell myself this, then take a few deep breaths and let these words marinate in my brain.

3. Mindful shower

Our morning shower is a perfect opportunity to engage with our senses, clear our mind, and visualize our worries washing away down the drain. This is why I included a free bonus titled How to Make Your Morning Shower Mindful, Blissful, and Rejuvenating in my new Mindfulness Kit. It’s also why I included a lavender shower gel.

Whenever we engage our senses we’re pulled into the present moment, and there’s no sense more powerful than the sense of smell. The part of the brain that processes smells is linked to the part of the brain associated with memory and emotion. Which means the right scent can provide comfort, calm, and healing. And lavender in particular isn’t just relaxing, it’s also scientifically proven to help with anxiety and a number of physical ailments.


4. Intention-setting practice

Many of us go into our days with lengthy to-do lists, and it can easily create a sense of overwhelm.

I like to set a morning intention based on both something to do and something to be, because this reminds me of what’s truly important, and takes the focus off productivity. And I like to do this while practicing deep breathing and watching the flame dance on my favorite candle.


5. Mindful breakfast

Particularly in the morning, when we have a lot to do, and perhaps get into quickly, it’s easy to scarf down our food without even really tasting it. And it always occurs to me how silly this is. It’s not like savoring our food takes much time. It literally adds seconds to the experience—a few extra minutes at most.

In my family we joke that we don’t chew our food, we just kind of gulp it down. So this is where I start. I chew more. I fully taste what I’m eating. I close my eyes as if it’s a super decadent chocolate.

6. Yoga or stretching

If I could take an hour-long yoga class every morning, I would, because nothing feels as good for my mind and body as yoga. It’s like a mental cleanse and a really good full body yawn-stretch all at once. (Do you that too—yawn-stretch?) It releases tension both in the mind and body and creates a feeling of lightness all over.

7. Gratitude journaling

You probably see this suggestion a lot, and for good reason: identifying our blessings boosts our mood, increases our overall life satisfaction, and makes us feel more optimistic. When you find things to appreciate, even when life feels hard or stressful, it’s like shining a spotlight on all the reasons life is worth living and deemphasizing everything that hurts.

But you don’t need to put pen to paper to reap the benefits. You could write one thing down and put it in a gratitude jar so you can pull a random blessing out any time you need a pick-me-up. You could share a morning blessing on social media, to connect with other people in the process