Mindfulness Hack 6: Wake Up on the Right Side of the Bed

February 21, 2019

This hack is NOT about having a positive attitude,

as the phrase “waking up on the right side of the bed” is typically known for. It’s more about developing a solid morning routine that not only puts you in a mindfully good mood, but sets you up for success that day. In my perfect life, my morning routine looks something like this:

  1. Meditate
  2. Walk my dogs
  3. Take the girls to school
  4. Go to the gym or a yoga class
  5. Go home, shower, get dressed for the day
  6. Set my plan for the day or do some journaling (or both using The High Performance Planner by Brendon Burchard)
  7. Get to Work!

When I’ve been able to follow this routine...goodness the productivity I’ve had! Not only am I super productive on these days, but I am super happy and in love with life. This glorious and most magnificent morning ritual can take up to three hours, and to be honest, I am not currently in a situation where this can be my everyday routine. It is what I’m working towards, though. Mark my words, y’all! By this time next year, this WILL be my Monday - Friday morning routine! So, what am I doing in the meantime? It’s a super condensed version of the above - still gives me that jolt of inspiration that I need, keeps me energized, and keeps me physical. Here’s a couple different condensed versions of the dream routine:

When I commute early on the train:

  1. Meditate on the way into work with my fav guided meditations.
  2. Get into my office and do some movements and stretches, like squats, wall sits, a plank or yoga poses that quickly get the blood pumping after that long-ass commute and then stretch it out.
  3. Do some breathing and centering, like a few slow half sun salutations.
  4. Say a quiet prayer.
  5. Get my music going.
  6. Check my calendar to see what’s ahead for me in the day.

When I head into the office a little later in the morning:

  1. Meditate before anyone in the house wakes up.
  2. Get ready for work.
  3. Walk or do training exercises with the poochies.
  4. Take my girls to school and ask them what they’re excited about for the day ahead.
  5. Listen to my favorite podcasts or Audible books that help ground and center me.
  6. Stretch it out and do some simple movement when I get into the office.
  7. Get my music going.
  8. Check my calendar to see what’s ahead for me in the day.

I may not have three hours to live out my dream routine right now, but I’ve figured out how to incorporate my mindfulness practices into the reality of my current schedule. And it works - for the most part - in fulfilling those pieces of me that long for quiet, meditative time, movement, and spiritual growth. It’s not perfect, but it does satisfy!

Try this:

For people who have NO morning routine beyond drinking their coffee and getting dressed and maybe driving somewhere to either work or take care of kids/parents/animals/etc., I suggest you start small by deciding on 1-2 things you’d like to incorporate into your mornings before the day really starts.

Think first about what usually helps you get centered or focused and/or what you really wish you would spend more time doing. Is it movement, journal writing, prayer, sitting on your back patio and watching the sun rise, playing fetch with your dog, drinking a full glass of water, preparing a delicious breakfast and eating it, savoring every bite? Notice how none of these options included other people. Many of us are givers and nurturers and we struggle with self-worth. A you-focused morning routine is a good way to remedy that - or at least start to - because you are carving out time to do something that brings YOU joy and satisfaction, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.

What can you incorporate into your morning that will uplift you, impact your mood, or bring you some peace and calming before the day gets crazy?

On the other hand, if you are someone who already has a bit of a morning routine that maybe involves something like exercise and a peaceful cup of morning brew, how can you up your game a lil’ bit? If it’s hardcore exercise that’s push-push-push, maybe incorporate some quiet stretching or a 5 minute savasana before you shower and get dressed for the day. If you already meditate, maybe add in some journal writing after to log what came up for you during the meditation, or try taking a walking meditation.

Wherever you are at with this though, you cannot go into it with the attitude that it’s just another thing to do or add to your tapestry of daily chores. This is special time for YOU, so try out some different things that you enjoy. The point is to experiment! Try a few things for a week and see how you feel at the end of it. Then try something else the next week or so and do another assessment. Have fun with it and see what brings you the most joy, energy and satisfaction! Then commit to it - and watch how it impacts your life!

For My Educators (and Parents!):

What do you do to establish mindfulness routines with the kids in your life? When I was an ELA teacher, my students always walked into the room with a writing prompt already projected on the board. Sometimes the prompts were personal, sometimes they were content related, sometimes it was a free write. But it was how we started EVERY day. It was much more than a chance to practice getting comfortable writing - it was a way to decompress from whatever baggage they were carrying into the classroom, to remind them where they were in the moment, and a chance to switch gears to our classroom culture and content. Whether you are a math teacher or school psychologist, what initial routine can you incorporate into your interactions with students? Sometimes it can be as simple as a “how are you?” or “what’s good about life?” Sadly, so many of our kids are never asked questions like that.

For my parents out there, a simple yet critical morning routine that could potentially impact the rest of your sweet ones’ lives is...making the bed!! Making the bed every morning takes only a few minutes but can have big impacts because it: requires discipline; provides a sense of accomplishment; encourages other good habits to form; can foster pride in one’s work; supports intentionality; and the list goes on! But here’s the thing...YOU have to be an everyday bed-maker, too! :)

Game Changers:

I’m going to focus this Game Changer section on my fav podcasts that are perfect for my drive or while I’m getting ready for work in the morning. These podcasts have completely shifted my mood, helped me get centered, or have given me a big wake up call. For a mind-blowing and/or deep centering practice, check these out:

I love Bodhi Spiritual Center’s podcast - new episodes every Monday recorded at the Sunday service the day before. Bodhi Spiritual Center is a Chicago-based Center for Spiritual Living that takes bold steps toward inclusivity, awakening, connectedness, and spiritual growth.

My darling friend, Shazia Imam, has a great podcast called Feminine and Fulfilled. Episode 50 is a great intro into the podcast and her beautifully sweet perspective on life.

I have also found great value in the Tony Robbins podcast. So many great topics are covered here - from sports and endurance, to working in a team, to self-realization, to business success - but all really focused on mindset more than anything else. It’s a one-stop shop!

And I’ve listed this one in another hack (or a few), but Christy Harrison’s Food Psych has been a serious life saver for me on those really rough, dark days of self-loathing.

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