Own the day or it'll own you
Absolutely no one at all:
Me: So many of you have been asking about my morning routine lately!
Yep. I’m doing it. No one has asked. But, to be fair, I share details about my life regardless of whether people have asked to hear it. More often than not, it helps someone out there! So, if you’re anything like me, you know how it feels to open your eyes and feel a burst of anxiety send your heart racing, or the heaviness of depression zap every last fragment of enthusiasm for the day, so much so, you’re counting down the hours until you can disappear in your bed again. It’s no way to live. It’s debilitating. Relentless. However, what I’ve found is the difference between the day owning me, and me owning the day, is how rigorously I stick with my morning routine. Refined over the last few months, and constantly evolving as my needs change, my ritual keeps me grounded, accountable, calm and ultimately empowered to live the life I want to live, not the life anxiety tells me I should lead. Some of these practices may work for you, some might not resonate – that’s cool. Just follow your gut and fine-tune it as you go.
One of the first things I do upon waking is boil the kettle, shot some warm water and lemon, and then brew a really nourishing cup of tea. I’m loving the adrenal blend my beautiful friend and herboloigst-in-training-slash-extrodannaire Laura made up for me. She’s such a guru, I trust her completely, I just tell her what’s wrong with me and she whips up the exact blend my body needs. Hit her up, she can custom blend for you too.
The M word can feel really intimidating for people who’ve never meditated before. It can feel really unattainable and spiritual and a practice solely reserved for people who eat a raw food diet, wear linen and practice yoga 5 times a week. I get it. However, times are changing. Western medicine now recognises it as an important tool to calm our minds and reduce stress. Doctors and psychologists prescribe a daily practice of focused breathing and/or meditation to their patients. Top CEOs are doing it. A heap of groundbreaking businesses are encouraging their staff to take breaks to meditate. It’s catching on. And everyone can do it. Yep, even you. My life coach Moni Barry taught me Vedic meditation, which entails repeating a mantra in your mind for 15 minutes. I commit to it morning and afternoon. Sometimes I hate it. I can’t settle my mind. My eyes constantly open. I’m irritated. I just want it to end. I can think of a thousand things I would rather be doing. I watch the time tick away ever so slowly. Turns out that’s totally normal. That’s your ego talking. That’s stress telling you it needs you to GO GO GO… we don’t have time to sit and do NOTHING! Get up! Now! But really, of course you have 15 minutes. I mean, I’m sure you find that time to scroll Instagram, I know I do. Other times, it brings me such a deep peace in my heart and soul, it’s like i’m on a cloud when the gong sounds and it’s time to open my eyes – a welcome change to the last 3 years of living in a state of flight or fight. I use the Insight Timer app to keep time, which is free, and seriously amazing if you haven’t downloaded it already. If that sounds intimidating, go and take a meditation class, pick a meditation on YouTube or Insight Timer that resonates with you, practice deep breathing, I assure you ANYTHING helps. I felt the benefits within a few weeks when confronted with situations that usually would’ve triggered me, I felt a sense of calm and rationality. I wasn’t bothered by traffic. I felt… happier. More content. Settled. And if 30 minutes a day with my eyes closed brings me that!? Then why the hell would I question it.
Following my meditation, while I’m still in that spacey frame of mind and my subconscious is like a sponge, I say out loud to the universe (or whatever higher being resonates with you): “thank you for taking everything you have taken and giving to me everything you are giving.”
I then say out loud a list of “I AM” affirmations I jotted down one day in my phone that feel empowering to me. My list centres around self love, acceptance, gratitude, and calling in abundance and new opportunities.
I’ve spoken before about how my inner dialogue used to be horrendous. I used to tell myself I was the reason my fiancé had an affair and left me. I used to tell myself I was fat, ugly, unworthy, stupid, irrelevant, a fuck up… the list is endless, really. What an awful way to live, right? Words are so powerful. And the result? I really believed I was those things and I wasn’t worthy of a better life. I couldn't accept compliments and I sought out validation from people who, these days, I couldn’t care less what they think. Citing affirmations has helped to rewire the dialogue in my head. Even if you don’t believe it about yourself to begin with, push through, your soul WANTS to hear those words, it WANTS you to love and respect yourself again. And I assure you, one day, the voice in your head will be nourishing, it’ll applaud you, tell you you’re worthy, you’re enough, and you’re fire. I truly believe I am all those things and more, and so should you!
Essential oil time!
I like to rub the Doterra ‘Balance’ blend into the soles of my feet as I repeat: “I ground and anchor into the present.” Feels good and smells good. Win win.
I then spend around five minutes free writing in a journal. I don’t think, I just write, whatever comes to my head, whatever guidance my higher self wants to tell me, I just let it flow. My handwriting is illegible. There are spelling mistakes everywhere. But what’s interesting is when you tap into your intuition, you receive the most incredible insight. The same themes usually pop up. Solutions to problems you’ve been mulling over suddenly seem so simple to solve. It also just feels really damn liberating to just let it all out before your day begins!
For so long, people were all like… oh you should try exercising! It’s really good for your mental health and for conditions like anxiety, and I would be like yeah I’ll consider that! And internally roll my eyes and think eh I don’t think so. I don’t have time. I used to love going to the gym and being active. But when Ollie came along, I just found excuse after excuse of why it was too hard to juggle, and then when I started single parenting, well there was my perfect out. It was too hard. I was too time poor. Not fit enough. Etc. Etc. Etc. Well, it turns out this well meaning advice is absolutely bang on, of course. So I found a local gym, and what’s even better, Ollie is allowed to come, so now I have no excuse. He sits on the pink couches and plays with his cars while I sweat out a high-intensity interval training and boxing class. The difference it’s made in my mental health has been monumental. If I start the day feeling anxious or sad, it helps shift that energy, giving me an outlet to convert that cortisol floating around my body in a really healthy, proactive way. I mean, what feels better than punching a boxing bag as hard as you can when you’re feeling angry!? Or realising you need to go up a dumbbell weight, despite the fact you woke up feeling weak and powerless? It helps shift my feelings of hopelessness, to a sense of accomplishment and empowerment. I start the day feeling strong, fit, powerful and those feelings carry out to the rest of my day and in every task I put my mind to. I go into each session with the intention of doing something really good for my mind, rather than wishing I was an Instagram model with a six pack. I can’t recommend starting the day with some form of physical activity enough - even if it’s yoga, swimming, running, pilates, whatever! Just move!
Time to eat!
The simple reason brekky is last is because I’m not hungry for a few hours after I wake. You might be different, so eat breakfast when your body tells you it’s ready! I make sure my breakfast is super nourishing, full of good stuff, and will give me heaps of energy to run after a toddler. A good breakfast really helps set the tone for the day, and leads to me making better choices for lunch and dinner. It’s true what they say – healthy body. Healthy mind. Don’t shortchange yourself and your health because you don’t think you deserve better. You do. And as soon as you start believing that, you’ll attract a life that reflects that.
And that’s it! It might seem daunting if your routine right now is groggily rolling out of bed, skipping breakfast, and rushing to work because you hit the snooze button one too many times. So create a routine that reflects you and your goals and how you want to feel about yourself. It’s okay if you skip it every now and then when life gets in the way. Don’t punish yourself. We’re only human. I do notice a huge difference if I don’t prioritise it for a few days, my anxiety creeps back and I become easily stressed and overwhelmed. Just focus back to being the best version of you and the routine will flow so effortlessly, it’ll become as integral as your morning coffee!