In an effort to manage my depression and anxiety, I’ve developed a morning routine that is focused solely on helping me clear my head and start my day with positive momentum. Getting up early isn’t really my favorite thing to do, but the benefits I get from waking up earlier than the rest of the house, having some time to myself, and working through these steps makes it completely worth it!
Before I started implementing these steps, I was very skeptical about it. I didn’t think that meditation or affirmations would make any difference, and honestly I felt really foolish doing it. It took me a long time to even give it a try, but when I kept reading over and over about these successful people I look up to, time and time again they talked about doing affirmations and meditation (or least some version of it). If all of these people that I respect were doing it, why not give it a try? Once I did this for about a week, I noticed a big difference and I became a believer in the process.
Here is how I work through my checklist; hopefully this gives you some ideas on how you can incorporate these steps into your day.
- A peaceful space: Find a spot in your house that will allow you to spend a few minutes alone, a space where you can keep your materials for your morning routine, and a space that makes you feel calm and peaceful. For me, I use a spot in my basement; it’s away from the rest of the house, it is comfortable and relaxing, and there’s a table next to my couch where I keep my Bible and journal so it’s easy to access. It really doesn’t matter where you decide to make your morning mindfulness space, as long as you feel relaxed and can be uninterrupted for at least a few minutes–your kitchen table, your living room couch, your bedroom, your porch or deck, etc.
- 10 minutes of quiet solitude: This has been huge for me! I wake up with a lot of tension–lots of thoughts swirling through my head, physical tension in my back, and stress thinking about my to-do list for the day ahead. Taking 10 minutes of quiet solitude to start my day has allowed me to get rid of that stress and start my day with a lot more peace. I use the Headspace app for their free 10-min guided meditation sessions–it doesn’t have corny background music, it doesn’t ask you to focus on anything except your breathing, and it doesn’t feel too hippy-granola to me. If meditation isn’t your thing and you want to spend the time praying alone, awesome. If you want to spend 5 minutes focusing on your breathing, fantastic. If you want to just sit at your kitchen table and sip your coffee for 10 minutes, great! The key here is to try and CLEAR your mind, not just sit quietly for 10 minutes stressing about your day or what happened yesterday. It might be helpful to try a guided meditation once or twice to give you the tools, and then you could do it on your own. I also have a list of positive affirmations about myself that I say out loud–things that help me change the negative dialogue in my own head. One of my affirmations is “I am disciplined” to help me focus on who I want to be, instead of spending my day talking down to myself. The affirmations help me change my perception of myself–when you talk negatively to yourself, you are a negative person. When you talk positively, you become more positive. It’s pretty simple, but it makes a huge impact.
- Intentional focus on spiritual development: I love doing this section right after my meditation because I’ve cleared my head, gotten rid of some tension, and I feel much more equipped to focus on my reading and prayer instead of feeling distracted by my thoughts. My spiritual development is really all about focusing on my personal relationship with God and growing in that; I read my Bible (following a specific plan), do some journaling about what I read, and spend some time praying. If you aren’t sure where to start with this, I love the She Reads Truth app–it’s free, includes a Bible in the app, and has a lot of great studies to choose from (free up to $3). There is also a He Reads Truth app for the guys, too. Focusing on this helps me keep my priorities in check, helps me have a good mindset for my day, and helps me focus on what is really important in my day instead of focusing on insignificant stressors.
- Physical activity: This one might be my favorite. I like to do a full workout in the morning with Beachbody On Demand–I usually forget that I even worked out by lunchtime and then it feels like a rest day! But even just a short and sweet workout, like some pushups and crunches, or jumping jacks and planks, even for just 5 minutes, is shown to benefit your mindset in the morning. All exercise releases endorphins and helps you get your day started with positivity. When I start my day with a workout, it helps me stay motivated to make healthy choices throughout my day, too. Whether you choose to do a full workout, a few jumping jacks, or a 5 minute yoga flow, doing some kind of physical activity will help you lower your stress levels and get in a good mood for your day.
- Personal Development: One of my favorite things about my coaching business is the focus on personal development. Being intentional about reading positive books that help me become a better person, better wife, better mom, better coach has truly made all the difference in my life. Personal development is what helped give me the confidence to leave teaching and be a stay-at-home mom, and helped me be able to identify my depression and anxiety enough to know I needed to get help. In choosing a personal development book, I think about one of my goals and what I feel like is holding me back from accomplishing that goal. For example, as I’ve been trying to lose weight, I’ve realized that I struggle with emotional eating, and I looked up some books dealing with that topic before choosing Made to Crave, which has been an amazing resource for me. Some of my business goals weren’t becoming reality and I realized I needed some help being disciplined, so I read a book called Take the Stairs that was a huge help. You can also choose a podcast to listen to–I love the God Centered Mom podcast for personal development, too. We all have aspects of our lives that we want to improve–I use personal development as a tool to become the person I want to be. Starting my day with this helps me stay focused on making better choices throughout the day instead of going on autopilot with bad habits.
I’ve included a printable version of this checklist for you to use as you create your own routine for mindfulness. There is a lot of evidence for everything included here and the benefits of putting them into practice, but the only evidence you really need is trying it out for yourself. Give it one week and see what kind of a difference it makes, and then come back and let me know how it went!
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