Many of my clients rush through their mornings scattered, no time for breakfast, running to catch the bus or get to the car so they’re not late for work. The first thing they grab in the morning is their iPhone to check messages, email, and facebook. They slurp down breakfast on the go. By the time they get to work, they’re frazzled, jacked on coffee, and remembering that they forgot to pack lunch. Does this sound like you? If so, I want to share with you how to change your routine so you’re focused, centered, and grounded all day.
A morning routine is also beneficial if you struggle with anxiety, panic attacks, depression, addiction, or trouble focusing during the day. One reason we’re stressed as a nation is that we hit the ground running with a million racing thoughts, never hitting the off switch and running ourselves ragged.
(Please note: many of the above conditions also represent underlying neurotransmitter imbalances or stress hormone imbalance, so make sure you work with a practitioner alongside adopting this morning routine. See the resources section at the end of the post for more info.)
I’ve designed my morning grounding ritual to be 30 minutes, but if that seems outrageous to you, start with 10. Or even 5. The point is, carve out at least 5 minutes for yourself every morning.
I can hear you saying, “30 minutes?! I don’t even have an extra FIVE minutes in the morning!” Hear me out here. Are your mornings tight because you’re not getting enough sleep and you’re hitting the snooze? Click here for tips to get better zzzzzs. Could you get in bed an hour earlier and wake up 5, 10, or 30 minutes earlier? Or if you’re juggling kids in the morning, maybe start with just 10 minutes to yourself while your partner lends a hand or even after you get your kids off to school? Or take 5 minutes to yourself before they’re up. If 30 minutes seems too daunting at first, start with less and work up. Trust me, you’ll want to.
Be Focused, Grounded and Centered All Day
- cleansing breath
- hot or warm water with lemon
- journaling and/or yoga if you have the time
When the alarm goes off, or when you wake up and your feet hit the floor, don’t reach for your phone to start checking your messages. Sit quietly on the edge of the bed and take 3 good cleansing breaths. Then get up, go to the bathroom, drink a glass of room temperature or hot water with lemon to cleanse and rehydrate. It’s great for skin and digestion, too.
Then begin clearing your mind with meditation to get your day started with clarity. If you’re new to meditating, there are several options you can try. I focus on my breath, clear my mind, scan my body, quiet the inner chatter, and when my mind starts to wander, I see cluttering thoughts as clouds that are passing by. I sometimes focus on a mantra (“I am centered, grounded, and focused”). I sometimes use meditations from one of my favorite little books, 5 Good Minutes in the Morning. Here are some tips to help you begin a meditation practice. My girl Holly is a meditation guru and has tons of resources on her site. I also love this book, which teaches us alignment with the seasons and includes some great seasonal meditations, too. You can also listen to guided meditations.
I meditate in a kneeling position in front of my simple “altar.” It’s just a small corner in my room that’s peaceful, on which I’ve placed items meaningful to me.
Before I meditate, I apply essential oils to help ground me. My favorite is Frankincense, an often used oil for meditation, and I like the Believe and Grounding blends from Young Living. These blends are grounding, calming, inspiring, and empowering. Apply to your temples and the middle of your forehead, the crown chakra. The Crown Chakra is said to be the center of spirituality, enlightenment and dynamic thought and energy. I also inhale deeply from the bottle.
I started with just 5 minutes of mind clearing meditation, and I’ve worked my way up from there. If 5 minutes is all you got, great. That’s a good start. If you have 10 minutes, try doing some stream of consciousness journaling post-meditation to get everything in your head down on paper. Or, make a list of 3 things you’re grateful for. Or just journal post-meditation for 5-10 minutes.
If you have additional time, do some gentle yoga to align movement with breath. Here is a great morning meditation yoga sequence to follow. Some days all I have time for is water with lemon and meditation. If you have more time on the weekends, do some journaling and yoga.
You’re done! You’re grounded and focused and ready to take on your day. I’ve found that since I started this routine, I am much more adapted to handle whatever life throws at me during the day. I feel calmer and less flighty over all. And better focus. Meditation really improves your health, too: lower blood pressure and more balanced stress hormones. I recommend it to all my stressed clients, because I know that even the best protocol in the world won’t heal a person if their stress levels are unchecked.
If you have 30 minutes in the morning, awesome. Or even if you can make just 5 minutes, start there. If you absolutely can’t make time in the morning, you can do this routine during your lunch break or before bed too, but I like the way it prepares me for the day.
Mary Vance is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and author specializing in digestive health. She combines a science-based approach with natural therapies to rebalance the body. In addition to her 1:1 coaching, she offers courses to help you heal your gut and improve your health. Mary lives in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in Northern California. Read more about her coaching practice here and her background here.