When I look back on my life, I can see that each decade I’ve lived has taught me unique lessons. My 20s were a time of learning and establishing myself as a designer. My 30s encouraged me to follow my intuition and unlearn some of my workaholic tendencies. Now, in my 40s, I’m continuing that work and leaning into self-care.
I’ve always been a morning person, but the importance of those first hours in the day never truly resonated until I began being intentional about how I spend my day. Now that I’m 45, I can clearly see that slow, peaceful mornings are essential to my well being, and I always go out of my way to prioritize my own self during this time of day. This practice helps me preserve my energy and gives me the ability to work more efficiently.
While my schedule will vary a little from day to day, I try to stick to the following rituals as closely as possible:
Since adding Alexa to my home, I’ve been using her as my alarm. I typically wake up to a song I like, which puts me in a relaxed mood from the moment I open my eyes.
Tip: It’s best to sleep with your phone in another room, so if you don’t have an Amazon Echo or another smart system that can wake you up, invest in an alarm clock! There are many alarms that will play songs or even wake you up with soft light — Which is so much better than a jarring beeping noise first thing in the morning.
My cat, Lilou, is always awaiting her breakfast as soon as I wake up. And while feeding a pet may not seem like a calming ritual, it is for me. I always find fulfillment in caring for her and consider this a lovely start to my day.
Tip: Even if you don’t have a pet, considering finding a way that you can show care for someone else first thing in the morning. Greet your significant other, hug your kids, text a friend, the list goes on.
Coffee and Breakfast
Coffee and a bite to eat are an essential part of my morning, and I always do my best to enjoy my meal without the distraction of my computer or phone. I set aside this time to get grounded before the day kicks into full swing.
Tip: Whatever you do, resist the temptation to eat on the go!
Exercise + Mindfulness Practice
One of my favorite things to do in the morning is go for a long walk. Since my move back to Town & Country, I’ve established a route around my neighborhood that is full of beautiful nature and inspiring architecture. I keep my phone tucked away and do mindfulness practices as I walk. On the days I’m unable to get outside, I fit in a little exercise and intentional mindfulness at home.
Tip: If you’re short on time, consider transforming your commute into a space for mindfulness. Avoid looking at your phone on transit or drive with the radio off. Look at the world around you and soak in what you see.
Emotional Freedom Technique Tapping is a practice that uses acupressure to alleviate anxiety. Before diving into work for the day, I spent a little time doing EFT Tapping to balance my body’s energy in order to prevent anxiety and physical discomfort. I also use this practice throughout the day if I can feel my internal vibration rising too high.
Tip: If you’ve never tried EFT Tapping, there are many resources available online. It’s super easy and very effective!
My very last practice before diving into my email inbox is meditation. Once my work day officially begins around 11am/12pm, it can be hard to pull myself from my computer screen until bedtime (which is often quite late) so I always try to savor the last moments of my morning by focusing on my breath. This puts me in the optimal mindset for productivity.
Tip: Meditation doesn’t have to be fancy. Simply closing your eyes and focusing on your inhales and exhales for any length of time can help you feel more grounded and present.
While these practices are specific to my life, it’s possible to create a similar routine that suits you. Whether you prefer to have quiet mornings, peaceful afternoons, or chill evenings, carve out some special time for yourself each day. Doing so will help you nurture your inner self and physical body AND give you more energy for your work, family, and friends. I’d call that a win, win.