I love mornings.
For as long as I can remember I've been a morning person. I love waking up to the soft sunlight and the quiet streets, knowing that a whole day is stretched out before me. The period of time between 6 and 8 is what I like to call the 'golden time'. It's not so early that it feels disruptive, but it's not so late that you feel as if you're letting the morning escape you. If I had it my way, I'd wake up slowly every day.
Stuff needs to get done, though, eh?
Self-care is often associated with pampering yourself, taking a chunk of time to make yourself feel better for whatever reason, but it's more than that - it comprises the little things, too, and sometimes these little things can be just as powerful if you embed them into your daily routine. It's possible to practice self-care as a busy person.
Think about how you start your day.
- Do you tend to start your day the same way?
- Do you find yourself rushing in the mornings?
- Do you like to take things slow?
- Do you get straight out of bed or linger for a little while?
- What are you like when it comes to snoozing your alarm?
- How do your mornings compare to the rest of your day?
Here are some self-care non-negotiables:
Always try to get up as soon as your alarm goes off. The reason I say this is because you obviously set your alarm at that particular time for a reason. If you're snoozing it consistently then it means you could, theoretically, allow yourself more time in bed; if this is the case, change your alarm. Snoozing simply ends up becoming a habit that is incredibly difficult to shake, and it's a waste of energy, plus it can sometimes cause you to start your morning with a less optimistic mindset - you can end up beating yourself up for spending so long in bed. If it helps, put your phone or alarm clock on the other side of the room so you are forced to get out of bed and walk over to turn it off.
Breakfast. I'm always horrified to hear about people who don't eat breakfast. Whether or not you believe it to be the most important meal of the day, it's still incredibly important. Your body has just gone without food for at least 8 hours and you are about to embark upon another 24-hour-long adventure - you need something in your stomach (and not just fluid or a cigarette.) It doesn't have to be fancy (as a self-professed porridge queen I say this through gritted teeth) but you will feel so much better.
Tend to your surroundings. Make your bed. Draw back the curtains. Open your window to let in some fresh air. Look outside. You're alive! You're breathing! Don't crawl back into bed. Allow yourself to mumble, 'it's so goddamn early.' You can feel grouchy. The grouchiness will wear off. And at least you'll come back to a tidy bedroom later.
Don't let your phone be the first thing you reach for. Look, I'm guilty of this, as are most people, but that's just because checking notifications has become second nature to me. Having been dead to the world for the best part of 8 hours means I'm more than curious to find out if anyone actually wants to hear my voice. However. This doesn't need to be the priority. This may sound a bit wishy-washy, but I think the simple act of waking up from sleep is very much synonymous with the natural world. It's an example of how in tune we are to the rhythms of the earth, and we should honour that by taking time to just be when we first get out of bed. Thrusting yourself into the virtual world of social media is not really what you need at 7am.
All of these things are really, really simple. I like to think these constitute a good morning routine, but there are other ways you can practice self-care, too.
I like to get up, go to the loo, make a cup of green tea and sit in bed and read for at least twenty minutes. This is my way of allowing myself to wake up gradually. I read in order to keep up the habit and to have something to focus on that allows my brain to start ticking.
If, like me, you can allow yourself some time to wake up slowly, these are other things you can do: jot down / think about reasons why you are grateful.
jot down / think about your intentions for the day ahead.
a form of exercise to get your body moving.
listen to some music or a podcast.
You might want to do some of these things while you are getting ready. If I'm putting on make-up, I leave myself a good amount of time to do so as I don't like to rush through it (and I also want to be able to sip my tea at the same time!) Other ways you can empower yourself in the morning:
have a shower.
put on something that makes you feel like an absolute boss.
spray yourself with something nice. Smells are powerful.
cut your nails. Trimmed nails are healthy nails.
talk to yourself (not crazy, I promise. Well, maybe you are, I don't know.)
I honestly believe that setting yourself up for the day is the best thing you can do. Even if your day goes to absolute sh*t, at least you started off with a positive mindset, and this has the potential to affect how you move through the setbacks.
There are some things I try to avoid in the morning, such as watching or listening to the news, and engaging in too much deep debate with family whilst I'm still waking up etc. I've found that these things don't set me up well for the day. There may also be things that you want to avoid in the morning too (and don't say work, ha.) Don't let them invade your space.
Start off with the people in your household on a positive note. It's a fresh day, and a fresh start. I don't usually talk to my family much first thing in the morning (if I did I'd end up getting frustrated!) That's just me. Maybe for you, good conversation is key to set you up for the day.
Finally, getting enough sleep the night before is always something I strive to do, and if I can do that then there's no reason why I can't get up early and subsequently allow myself to carry out some of these practices, which to some may seem indulgent. It's figuring out whatever works for you.
Thanks for reading! I hope you took some inspiration from this, and have a great rest of your week.