Craft Your Morning Ritual

How delectable would it be to wake up every morning, and immediately nourish your mind, body and spirit with everything they need to greet the day ahead? How would it feel to finally call yourself a morning person? (Read on and learn how to power up your morning with self-love!)

Y’all, it has taken me a minute, but I finally feel I have crafted my ideal morning ritual.

I begrudgingly became a morning showerer last year when I made the switch to wearing my hair naturally curly, and the changes in my morning routine snowballed from there. I went from having a 30-minute crazed morning routine to 1 hour, to now – I believe I’ve found the sweet spot with a 2 hour morning.

Now, I know dedicating 2 hours to yourself before being anything for anyone else might seem like a lot, but hear me out…

Imagine the life you dream of. Take some deep breaths. Who you are when you are fulfilling your utmost potential. Really sink into it – close your eyes, and paint a picture of this scene.

Who are you? What is different about your life? The way you move? Your energy level? Your routine?

It might seem silly, but these manifesting practices set the bar for our self-care routines. To get from point A (where you currently are) to point B (the picture in your head of your ideal self), more often than not, what is standing in your way is your habits and routines.

The most productive and happy people build self-care into their mornings to ensure it gets done before anything else.

Why mornings? Our circadian rhythms work in 24-hour cycles, and our willpower is the most effective after a restful night’s sleep.

If you haven’t yet, read this post on the importance of sleep and how to craft a wind-down ritual. Sleep is the foundation for your morning routine, so start there!

When I hear stories of people skipping out on sleep in order to have a more “productive” morning – e.g. hitting the gym, writing to stimulate the creative flow, etc – I am baffled! What good is a productive morning routine if you burn out by lunchtime?

Besides, productivity for productivity’s sake is the sure recipe for disaster. When you connect to your desire to care for yourself genuinely, is it so that you can increase a bottom line? No!

It’s so you can live a more abundant, fulfilled, radiant life. In many ways, this is the most productivity we can ever hope to accomplish – because by being the best versions of ourselves (i.e. the most aligned, self-compassionate versions), we signal to others that it’s okay to do the same, thereby creating a more loving world.

I created this wake-up ritual freebie to help you craft your ideal morning routine! I think you’ll quickly find yourself becoming a morning person like I did!

1. First things first.

I don’t know about you, but the first thing I need to do when I wake up is go to the bathroom! Nothing glamorous about it, but it’s just a fact. After that, my cat is usually begging for some attention and food.

Finally, I must water my plants – or they’ll die. Truly though, I’ve come to love these morning moments in my garden – seeing how my tomatoes are producing, refilling the hummingbird feeder, breathing the fresh air. You gotta do what you gotta do, might as well inject some mindfulness into it!

2. Don’t forget to feed your body.

Some people can’t eat early in the morning, because they get nauseous. Others are ravenous and can’t hardly think of anything else until they’ve satisfied that hunger. I am of the latter category. You probably know by now when you need to eat. Is it once you’ve gotten to work? Or after you’ve gotten dressed?

Reflect on what feels best for your unique body. I eat after watering my plants and before starting my self-care ritual. I’m usually making coffee while watering the plants, so it’s ready to go.

3. Build in some learning and inspiration.

Because we’ve had a restful night’s sleep (again, see this post!), we are primed to do some of our best learning in the mornings. We can also set the tone for the rest of our day, if we get inspired and set an intention.

Since I like to be entertained while I eat (I know this isn’t the most mindful), I read during breakfast. This satisfies my urge to turn on the TV, and – since I choose to read more spiritual or inspirational texts in the morning – it has the double effect of inspiring me and teaching me.

I am usually reading something inspirational (non-fiction) and something fictional (like a yummy travel novel) at any given time. I try to save the fiction for just before bed, and find myself more willing to reach for the non-fiction in the mornings!

4. Start with gentle movement.

Even if you know your body needs a 5 mile run first thing in the morning, start gently. Or maybe you prefer to exercise on your lunch break or after work. I still would recommend trying some light movement to get your blood flowing before the day ahead. The type and duration is up to you! Perhaps with abhyanga (ayurvedic self-massage) or light stretching.

I prefer at least 15 minutes of yoga every morning – sometimes I take it up to an hour. I work my cardio in most regularly in the afternoons – this is when I find the most motivation and needed release. I like cooking dinner right after a work out while listening to podcasts, it signals to my brain that it’s time to unwind for the evening. It’s taken me a while to figure this flow out, but now that I have, it’s so freeing! Find what movement works best for you at different points in your day.

5. Clear your mind.

Y’all know I gotta preach about meditation a little bit here, right? My meditation practice without a doubt sparked my spiritual transformation, my career change, and self-compassionate attitude. The turning point was when it changed from being a task I had to check off every morning to something I craved and couldn’t wait to practice.

Now I feel off on days I don’t meditate, and I look forward to it every morning. But it had to begin as a task to check off my list – this is how habits are formed.

If you don’t currently have a meditation practice, I encourage your to give it a try. You can check out my guided meditations here or download a free meditation app like Insight Timer. My husband prefers Headspace (even though I’m not a teacher there… whatever – ha!). There are so many ways to get started, but I challenge you to start today.

Research shows that people with a consistent meditation routine are less likely to be depressed or anxious, and more likely to have compassion for others and themselves. And, for all my Type A peeps out there, it can even boost your productivity at work. Now I know you love that. 🙂

If you already have a consistent practice, I urge you to increase and track it! Journal about what you notice, what you are learning, and how you feel after meditating.

6. Get ready.

It takes everyone a routine amount of time to get ready in the morning, so start tracking yours. Set the timer and try to get ready as usual. Stop the timer when you’re totally done, and voila! Now you know how long it takes you to get ready. Allow yourself maybe 5-10 minutes of wiggle room just in case something comes up last-minute.

7. Factor in your commute.

Do the same steps above to get an average commute time. If you work from home, skip this step, you lucky dog. And if your commute varies significantly, track it for a week or longer to find the sweet spot you’d like to allow yourself.

Bonus points: build more self-care into your commute! Driving? Listen to an inspiring podcast. Metro-ing? Keep the meditation and journaling going. Walking? Try a walking meditation! No matter how you get there, using the time just before work for self-care can super-charge your attitude and work ethic. Try it!

8. Work backwards to calculate your wake-up time.

It might seem like a no-brainer, but it shocks me how few people set their alarm based on their ideal morning routine. More likely, they set it as they go to bed, probably exhausted and trying to soak up every last possible second of sleep for their morning.

If you’ve already crafted your wind-down ritual here, you already know what time you should consistently go to sleep each night and how much sleep you need to meet your ultimate potential each day. Now is the time to put it altogether and make sure all 4 line up: your wind-down ritual, bedtime, wake-up time, and morning ritual.

If not, push back on your wind-down ritual and start it even earlier. Your sleep is not the place to sacrifice, but neither is your morning routine. If you need to, start smaller with a pared down version of your ideal morning routine. Over time, work your way up to your goal in 15-minute increments.

Most importantly, Dear Ones, give yourself grace! Self-care is certainly not an area of your life where judgment, perfectionism, or control are beneficial (dare I challenge you to find an are of your life that is?). These tendencies are 100% natural, though, and it takes some neurological re-pathing to kick them to the curb (with love).

Go slowly, track your progress, enlist an accountability buddy – do whatever it takes to infuse self-compassion and fun into your morning! This time is so precious, treat is as such. You are so worthy of a good morning.

Create your dream morning ritual with my freebie here!

Let me know how it goes in the comments below:

What is your morning intention?

What is one word to describe your intended feeling of mornings?

What is your biggest takeaway from this post, and how can you take action on it today?

Until next time, Dear Ones…

Posted by

I started Luminous Leanings to share my passions of meditation & self-care. As a self-care coach, I'm really just a holder! I hold space for busy people on their self-care journey. Then I hold them accountable as they integrate self-care into their lives. If you want to develop more self-compassion, but aren't sure where to start, you've come to the right place. Be sure to check out my guided meditations & journal freebies, & sign up for the Letter to keep in touch. You don't have to self-care alone - I'm in your corner!

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