Tuesday, October 8, 2019

How I Use a Morning Routine to Reduce Stress

Research says that a morning routine creates greater success throughout the day. Those early-morning habits help clear your mind and the little wins of getting routine tasks done build momentum for more achievements later in the day. Some of the most successful people out there use their morning routine religiously to get the most out of their day.
You have a morning routine already, like going to the bathroom, brushing your teeth, taking a shower, etc. But those are more necessities than things geared specifically toward improving your health and making certain your day goes as smoothly as possible.

How a morning routine helps to reduce stress

I used to get up and start work right away (I worked remotely), with the thought that the sooner I started, the sooner I would finish. ; ) But before leaving my job at the end of 2018, there was a lot to wrap up, so I had some added stress. I decided I need to take some time for myself first thing, and then move on to the job.
My routine is very simple and only takes about 30 minutes. I try to stick to it every day because it grounds me and leaves me more optimistic. Right now it’s a 4-step process that I will probably add to in the future, but for now, I want to keep it easy so I can get it accomplished before the distractions kick in.

Step 1: Go to the bathroom

Experts say urine retention can lead to bladder infections and kidney stones. So if this isn’t your habit, it’s an easy one to start. While I’m in the bathroom, I also usually splash some plain water on my face.

Step 2: Drink water

Everyone is dehydrated when they wake up. Drinking a full glass of water (8-12 ounces) upon waking helps re-hydrate, and starts the wake-up process, too.

Step 3: Meditation

I used to do “regular” meditation and it was nice, but I would end up falling asleep. Now I use a form of guided visualization. Once I drink my water I hop back into bed, wrap the blankets around me (while sitting up) and put in my headphones.
As an added bonus, this practice is completely free. I downloaded the recording to my phone so I don’t have to boot up a computer or anything to get started. It’s about 15 minutes long. I find that going through this meditation usually leaves me calm and smiling by the end. It’s so uplifting!
If you want to give it a try, it’s called “6 Phase Meditation” You can visit the link to the description with option to download here: https://blog.mindvalley.com/6-phase-meditation-infographic/

Step 4: Morning Pages

According to Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way,
“Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing,
done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*–
they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about
anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes
only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and
synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put
three pages of anything on the page...and then do three more pages tomorrow.”
Because my joint problems are usually worse first thing in the morning, I type on my laptop rather than writing by hand. And I don’t necessarily do the equivalent of 3 pages, either. I write for 10-15 minutes, or as long as it takes me to get out whatever thoughts I have. When I feel like I’m done, I stop.

What do you think of this morning routine?

I think the most important aspects are its simplicity and how it makes me feel when I’m done. When I make time for it, my stress level feels much lower and the day seems to flow better. As always, my goal with everything I do and suggest to others is to make life better.
Do you have a morning routine? If not, do you think you want to try one?