When you have a two small children and a dog that needs to go out at 7am, it is not simple to create a morning routine that would start a productive, relaxing day. Over the last few years as an entrepreneur, I have been able to take on some habits that help me to focus on the coming day.
1. Good Sleep
Waking up after a night well slept makes a huge difference to my day, more than any of the morning routines. I used to go to bed too late, exhausted still in the morning, jumping under a warm shower to wake up. Then rushing to work with small eyes and drinking cups of coffee to stay energized!
I have been measuring my sleep with Ouraring for more than a year and have learnt what it takes to sleep well. It is important that the day has been active and I am feeling tired when going to bed (latest at 11pm). Anything between 6 to 8 hours of sleep is enough as long as I get enough (ca.1 hour) of restorative deep sleep. Bad for good sleep are: late heavy dinner, alcohol, stress or other concerns in mind.
I have been changing my breakfast menu many times: all my childhood in Finland we had porridge with berries accompanied by an egg. During the years in Germany, I learnt to start my day with yoghurt, Müsli and some multivitamin juice. Moving to Southern Europe the breakfast became sweeter: sometimes a croissant, sometimes cholocate cereal, always with sweet fruit juice and often accompanied by a cappucino.
Recently, for health reasons, we changed our breakfast again: a slice of toasted rye bread, some walnuts and hot ginger/lemon water. And a small espresso to open the eyes! Fibers from the bread, good energy from the nuts combined with the cleansing effect of ginger and lemon really does you good in the morning.
When the family leaves the house, I roll out my yoga mat and do a 20-30 minute yoga routine. I select one class from Gotta Joga and do the same exercise for 3 mornings in a row. Sometimes I will just do10 sun salutations and some stretching depending on what kind of stimulation my body and mind are in need of.
Some postures I do every single day are: downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), a squat (Malasana) and hipopening deep lunge pose (Spiderman).
After the asana yoga practice I like to do a pranayama breathing exercise called square (equal) breathing exercise. I do it either seated on a yoga block or still lying on my back in savasana.
I exhale counting to 5, hold my breath counting to 5, inhale counting to 5 and hold again 5, then start all over again. Try out which rhythm fits you, leaving out the retentions if they don’t suit you. Without forcing.
5. Writing “Morning Pages”
Sometimes instead of yoga and breathing, I write “Morning Pages”. I learnt the habit from “Artist’s Way” book by Julia Cameron.
Before beginning work, I write 3 pages of longhand morning writing, without thinking. Often it is pretty much a to-do list for the day. It can be a list of things list I feel gratitude for, sometimes a list of complaints, or whatever comes into my mind about life and the environment we are living in.
These morning routines have helped me to have more consciousness as I pass through the day.
What about you?
How do you start your day?
What habit gives you a good mood in the morning?