I’ve always been an early riser. I was a competitive swimmer and practiced at 5:30am in my teens and throughout university.
When my swimming career ended, and I joined the adult world, I still woke early to exercise before going into work. There was something about movement that helped me clear my head and get focused first thing. It was a routine I enjoyed and I was very aware that I felt off-kilter all day if I diverted from it.
Fast forward, and I still enjoy my mornings – in fact I relish in them. Given the option and I would choose a 6am wake-up over an 11am lie-in any day. I know this may sound strange to some, but as I evolved my routines I noticed the added value to my personal well-being, physically, mentally and spiritually.
What began as routines to be accomplished are now cherished rituals. These symbolic actions set me on a calm and positive path that permeates through the rest of my day.
So, here they are in sequential order.
I generally wake around 6am (weekends may be a bit later).
I follow a simple, but effective skincare routine using Ringana products starting with Milk Cleanser, which I use following the Hot Clothe method. I spritz the Pure Tonic on my face and allow it to absorb before layering on a pump each Hydro Serum and Moisturiser. Ringana is a gorgeous Austrian brand that is completely sustainable and uses fresh ingredients. Even the packaging makes me smile.
I tend to my mouth and teeth with a Tongue Tingler and Ringana Tooth Oil, which uses cold pressed mint and eucalyptus oils leaving my mouth super fresh. If you don’t know about oil pulling, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique that involves swishing oil in your mouth for up to 20 minutes on an empty stomach. Bizarre I know, but once I tried it I was hooked. In addition to fresh breath, there are so many benefits from reducing inflammation, killing bacteria, preventing cavities and whitening teeth.
I head downstairs as quietly as possible and prepare my Morning Tonic of fresh squeezed lemon juice, local honey (I used to use manuka but I’ve found local just as effective and much less expensive), apple cider vinegar, tumeric, ginger and topped with hot water. I’ve been making this for years, but only just swapped out cayenne pepper for turmeric, which is anti-inflammatory (and tastes a bit better in my opinion).
I move into our sitting room, aka my Home Yoga Studio, to practice for about 15 -20 minutes. In the past few months, I have developed a self-practice and focus on gentle stretching and flexibility to wake up my body and ease me into the day. When I was working full time I would do a much more strenuous exercise routine, but now that I have time to do a full practice later in the day when my body is warmer I’ve found a simple self-practice to be a really nice way to connect with my body in the morning, feeling into to what it needs.
I transition into a cosy armchair and meditate for about 20 minutes. I practice Vedic meditation and have a mantra, a sound that I repeat silently to myself to draw me into the practice.
My teacher recommends taking a few minutes to come out of the meditation so I tend to think about what I’m grateful for and when I emerge I write those things in my gratitude journal. The act of writing them down makes my gratitude stronger and I can look back at what I’ve written from time to time.
My morning rituals finish with reading a page in The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday. The daily messages are insightful and give me something to reflect on as I move into the day.
It’s taken a few years for these rituals to evolve and embed. They work for me, but we are all unique individuals on slightly different paths with different tastes and temperaments. Maybe my rituals aren’t yours, but I do hope there is something here that helps you discover yours.
Start with one act and turn it into a ceremony, like the art of making your morning coffee.
Try layering in some time for some physical movement and contemplation.
Don’t forget that positive morning habits start the night before so get to bed early enough to wake feeling well.
If you’re interested in more on morning habits check out The 5AM Club by Robin Sharma, which is an amusing tale to share how the greats of this world use their mornings to produce amazing achievements.