It’s not unusual these days to identify with multiple roles - for example, I am a yoga instructor, a student of ayurveda, a writer, a shop manager, dog mama, partner, arts and crafts hobbyist, etc. The list can go on and I’m sure yours can as well. While it makes us live interesting lives, the downside is overwhelm, stressful, and creates anxiety. As a control freak, I am calling myself out. Somedays, the only constant that I can control is my morning and evening routine.
We’ve all heard the importance of a morning routine by now and if you haven’t, I highly recommend implementing one. Mornings are sacred to me. Personally, it sets the tone for the day, though I do my best not to get bogged down if things go wrong. This act of incorporating things that are good for me mentally, emotionally, physically, and even spiritually revs up my motivation for the day so that I don’t go on autopilot and just live for the weekend. What this means is you can engineer it all you’d like in the way that best speaks to the best version of you for that day, week, or month. As someone who wears multiple hats, having a peaceful morning is imperative to me not losing my shit and getting so lost in the details of my day that my productivity and overall wellbeing isn’t impaired. Also, these daily healthy habits are what help me from reaching to quick fixes that I know over time will be more detrimental to my well-being.
One of my ayurvedic instructors once mentioned, our most optimal morning routine actually starts the night before - with your evening routine (mosey over here to check out mine). Priming yourself with the best quality sleep is imperative to waking up refreshed and ready for the day. (You can check out general sleep hygiene tips here). Aside from the more well known tips such as, blue blocking glasses or having that red filter on your screens, dimming overhead lights, sleeping at a reasonable hour, and not having too late of a dinner, I will usually turn on do not disturb mode on my phone around 8 or 9pm and avoid doom scrolling on instagram or check my emails until the next morning.
Some days I start my work day later and so I have a little bit more quality time to spend with myself, so I will touch on the ideal routine that I carve for myself in the morning:
7:00 am: Wake up and morning walk with Nala, our 11 year old Australian shepherd. I wear my glasses out before I put my contacts on because I like to feel the crisp air and the morning sun rays naturally on my eyeballs and pupils. Also, there is nothing like breathing in the crisp, (hopefully) clean air in the morning that really rejuvenates the body! It’s my form of walking meditation, turning all my 5 senses online. It gets my body moving and blood flowing and I already feel pretty accomplished for having walked about a mile-ish.
7:20 am: Back home: Oil pull, scrape my tongue, and brush my teeth, and lastly, if needed, neti pot. Oil pulling with sesame or coconut oil and tongue scraping is one of the practices in my “dinacharya,” the sanskrit word for daily routine. It is said to clear toxins and bacteria in the mouth, improves oral and digestive health, and promotes healthy gums and sinuses, to name a few. I love using my neti pot. It’s been especially helpful during the pandemic to give me peace of mind to rinse my sinuses. Plus, clear breathing, sans boogers or congestion is one of those simple joys of life. Yogic theory says that being able to breathe easily between the two nostrils helps bring balance to our nervous system and for clarity of mind as it allows freer breathing.
7:45 am: I make myself a hot tea that consists of 1 freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of a liver cleanser and a few drops of a mushroom tonic. I chose hot lemon water because through Ayurvedic teachings, I've learned that it is alkalizing for your digestive system. I wanted to incorporate something that is very supportive to the liver because I believe that it is one of the most under-appreciated organs in your body. You might be familiar with how the liver is affected by alcohol from those early days of adulthood, but it actually has over 500 functions including the removal of toxins from blood, regulation of hormones, processing nutrients and synthesizing cholesterol and bile. I’ve found that I generally have more sustained energy throughout the day, my mood and digestion don’t feel sluggish, and my skin health has improved. I generally will not have coffee on an empty stomach or eat anything until after I finish drinking it.
8:10 am: Morning chores around the house, feed the pets, and do my skincare routine. While I drink the tea, I’ll sip and enjoy, while getting dressed for the day.
8:30 am: Leave for work.
If I have more time to spare, I would enjoy a quick morning meditation or stretch. If there is a new habit that I’m trying to implement, I find that doing this as part of my morning routine before work is the best way to start making the habit. I feel that I am most present in the morning and least likely to shove things off onto the back burner.
The morning is the most fertile part of our day, in my opinion. Your morning routine is a daily practice that builds structure around how you want to live your life. Before getting pulled into social media, work emails, bank statements, and even difficult conversations or decision making, it is that potent time for your awareness to be directed on daily maintenance of your body in all aspects - mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually so that living your honest self becomes second nature. I don’t necessarily subscribe to the huge list of things, even just one or two simple habits that you know are achievable that you can fully sink your awareness into without tripping over the past or the future is going to fuel miles in your tank.