In my last blog post, I wrote about The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, and how I use it to work on my mindset, my mental health.
Spending this time on myself is personal development. I’m really blown away by how much I benefit from having this time to myself in the morning, and my family reaps the benefits too, because they get a mom and wife that is more centered, calmer, and less stressed out.
My usual morning routine is the five tasks described in The Miracle Morning. I would wake up about 30 minutes before the kids to read, journal and do some stretching. I would to try to calm my mind enough to do some meditation, which is really hard for me, and try to set my intentions for the day. Then, I would take the dogs for a walk. What is great about The Miracle Morning is that you can adapt it to your current season in life. If you have kids, for example, you may not be able to take the full hour that Hal Elrod recommends but whatever time you can take has benefits. As I do with the dog-walking, you can combine the tasks with your household obligations. There are lots of ways to make it work for you!
So, I was making it work for me, for about a month. Then, I started having terrible insomnia, waking up at 2AM in pain, and I didn’t know what was going on with me. Having an autoimmune disease means that you are always paying attention to your body, and trying to figure out how your body reacts to different things, but it can be really confusing! Things are cruising along, and then all of sudden, you’re not feeling as great as you were. Of course, this insomnia and pain during the night basically tanked my miracle morning routine. I just didn’t have the energy, and I was experiencing a lot of anxiety.
It turned out that I was pregnant, which really threw me for a loop. That was a SURPRISE, but my insomnia and anxiety made sense then. I also got really sick. My first trimester was a mess. I was throwing up a lot, I was dizzy, I wasn’t able to eat. So, my morning routine really went out the window. I could barely drag myself out of bed to get my kids ready for school.
Now that I’m further along in my pregnancy (only a few weeks to go?!), I’m starting to feel a little better, and I’m desperate to have this “me time,” again. I understand more than ever that taking of my needs has to come first, in order to have the energy to take care of THREE kids (I think I’m still in shock…).
However, I had to adapt my morning routine now that my body has different needs, and feels different with a huge, big belly.
One thing I’m doing different is that I read for about 20 minutes in bed, before I get up. It helps me wake up, and helps to hold off that internal chatter– like running through that day’s to-do list in your head and thinking about all the things that have to get done before you go to bed that night. I used to do this to myself in morning, and it would kind of ruin my day because I was starting out with a negative mindset before I even got out of bed. That negativity made it harder to get out of bed and start my day, just totally sapped my motivation. So reading in bed before I get up really helps to push all that negativity out of the way. I give myself time to readjust, and wake up slowly. It means I have to wake up earlier, but that’s okay. It’s totally worth it.
When I’m done reading, I get up and make my bed, slowly and intentionally. I really focus on that task, and thank my bed for being there all night. It sounds weird but do you ever do that? Just think about how much time you spend in your bed, and what a beautiful thing it is to have a comfortable place to rest your head at night. I’m very grateful for it.
Let’s talk about making the bed for a minute. I wasn’t always a bed-maker. Then I saw this video about the habits of successful people, and one thing successful people have in common is making the bed! You see, when you start the day by making your bed, you’re starting day with a win, a feeling of accomplishment. It’s a little thing but it’s amazing what it does for your mindset. You make the bed, it says made, and when you go to bed at night, you have a reminder that your day started with an accomplishment–the bed is made. What a great way to end your day, right? When you go through that mental checklist of what you did today, you can start with that small success, no matter what else happened that day.
After that, I do my stretching. I do what is comfortable for me, and not overdo it. It’s really amazing how tight our body gets in our sleep, from being in one position for such a long time. It can feel a little painful at first, but it’s a good pain– noticing that your back is tight or your legs are tight. It feels so good to loosen up those tight, tense muscles. I’ve noticed that when I don’t stretch, I carry that tension around with me all day.
The benefits of stretching was such a revelation to me. I know people get out of bed and do yoga first thing in the morning, and my friends would tell me to stretch for a little bit everyday, but I just wasn’t doing it. It’s mind-blowing how this simple thing can release so much tension and really set the tone for your day. We spend a lot of our day in positions that are not great for our posture and health, like sitting in a car going to work or sitting at a desk all day.
I also added a 15 minute meditation to my morning. It really helps me to set the intention for the day before I start the real hustle and bustle.
This whole process takes about 40 minutes, and I haven’t even left the bedroom yet. I do all of this between 6:30 and 7:30, and I don’t really need to “clock in” for the day until 7:30. So, this is time that isn’t being taken away from anything or anyone else. It’s just time for me, and there’s no guilt involved.
How often do you roll over in bed, and pick up your phone first thing? You get lost in scrolling through emails, checking Facebook or Instagram. All of a sudden, 20 or 30 minutes have gone by in which you were taking information that isn’t necessarily what you needed to know first thing in the morning– maybe you read some distressing news, or even good news, and your emotions are all over the place. You don’t feel centered at all, and you could’ve used that time to focus on your own well-being.
Try this: Instead of reaching for your phone, reach for your book or your Kindle. Do something good for your brain, for your mental health. Instead of filling your mind with other people’s news, fill it up with something you’ve learned, or feed your imagination.
When I first started my Miracle Morning routine, there was rigidity to it. Even though you can do whatever you want, it’s still a routine, and it should be done in the morning because it sets the tone for your whole day.
Not everyone can get up first thing in the morning, or set an alarm for earlier than they used to wake up. When I started having trouble sleeping, and found out I was pregnant, I realized that morning routines, even though they are inherently rigid, can still be adapted to the season of life you’re in. It change and grow with us, as our lives change and grow. It took me six months to get back to doing a morning routine. Now, I’ve been able to reclaim that time, and do the things that are important to me, like meditation and reading and stretching.
During those six months, when I was feeling so terrible, I didn’t do anything for myself. I didn’t understand that I could adapt my morning routine to make it work for me. I kept putting off things like reading and journaling, and walking the dogs because I was stuck on this idea that I needed to do it in the morning, that when I felt better in the mornings, I would resume my morning routine.
It’s silly, now that I think back. I was too rigid about it. Even just fifteen minutes a day making the bed, doing some light stretching and setting my intentions for the day would’ve been doable for me. So, my advice to you is, don’t do that. Don’t get yourself stuck in a trap where you think you have to stick to this plan, and there’s no flexibility. Make it work for you, even if it’s just five or ten minutes in the morning. Then, as the day goes on, you may find little pockets of the day where you can read a book, or do some journaling. That time you spend mindlessly scrolling through Facebook is a great time to do some reading or journaling instead.
This month, I will be doing a challenge all about adapting your routine! I’ll be releasing a few videos later this month, which will be available on the website. Fill out the form below to get notified when the videos become available. In the meantime, I’d love to learn more about what your morning routine looks like!
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