My mornings used to consist of waking up at the last minute possible before rushing around to get ready for the day, and then I'd have a really long commute to work. By the time I sat down at my work desk I'd still be sleepy and worse yet, stressed out.
Now that I'm a freelancer and work from home a lot of the time, my mornings are much more relaxed––which can be both a good and a bad thing! It's nice that they're a lot more peaceful but I've learned they shouldn't slow down too much. A good balance is key. Here are some of the morning rituals that have helped set the right tone for my day––and I have to admit, some of these things I'm still working on perfecting myself.
• Wake up thankful! Sometimes I go through ruts where immediately after I wake up my mind rushes to what I expect to accomplish each day. Lately I've been in the habit of verbally listing things that I'm thankful for and it's completely changed my attitude. I've grown to realize that any burdens I feel can't be lifted until I remember to be thankful for both the big and the little things in my life.
• Make your bed. Accomplishing such a tiny task releases a sense of achievement, subconsciously encouraging a strong work ethic for the day. And practice makes perfect––solid habits roughly take thirty to forty days to set.
• Stretch, sweat, and drink water. Rejuvenate your sleepy mind and body by taking a little time to move each morning. Andy and I have been completing 30 minute pilates workouts together in our living room after spending some time stretching. It's nice to release stress and feel those endorphins! Drinking water is another refreshing habit to incorporate into your mornings which sets a strong reminder to consistently drink more throughout the day.
• Eat a healthy breakfast. I know we've all heard it a million times and some days it's harder than others to fit it into the schedule; but I've found that if I prepare my breakfast the evening prior (like filling my blender with ingredients for a smoothie) I greatly increase my chances of having a stress-free morning. I truly believe that what we eat acts as a part of our identity and often changes our mood. Better to start the morning without regret!
• Have some alone time. I like to read, pray, or meditate each morning––even for 10 minutes or so. It's nice to reflect alone and in complete silence, and helps me to start my day with more energy.
• Make a list of to-dos. I absolutely love making daily lists because it not only feels a bit therapeutic, but it helps me to stay focused and stress free throughout the work day as well.
Again, I don't have all of these down perfectly, but I've been enjoying the process of figuring out what works best for me. For more morning inspiration, consider reading or listening to What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. This book really triggered the notion that mornings really are the most valuable time of my day and to take them more seriously!