I have always been an early riser. As a teacher, I learned if I wanted to get my workout in, the morning was the only time I would do it. So waking up really early isn’t new to me.
However, over the last few months, I’ve been adding a few steps to my morning routine that have helped me get into a better headspace and be better for those around me.
My new morning routine came at a perfect time. 2016-2017 was hands down one of the hardest years of my life. Due to many circumstances, I found myself stuck in a cycle of being overly anxious followed by some severe dips into depression. Everyone around me suffered- I didn’t have patience for my kids, I would take things out on my husband, and I just couldn’t get myself to be happy. In fact, it got so bad that I had a hard time getting myself out of bed in the morning. It was easier to sleep than deal with my anxiety and depression.
The worst part for me was how out of sorts I felt all day long. If I slept in and didn’t get my workout in, it only further increased my anxiety and would lead to belittling thoughts (“You’re so lazy and fat. Why couldn’t you get up in the morning? Now you’re going to have to take MORE time away from your kids to workout.”) And, if I did manage to get up and workout, I felt like everything was so rushed that by the time I got in my car to commute, I was ALREADY tired and emotionally drained.
A friend recommended the book The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and all of a sudden things “clicked.” I started implementing this 60 minute routine every morning and it has made the world of difference in so many ways: my anxiety is decreasing, I’m feeling more like myself, and those negative thoughts that used to ruminate are being replaced by more positive ones. The morning routine requires that you wake up about 60 minutes before your day starts (more on HOW to do that later) so that you have time to take care of YOU before your day starts and gets you wrapped up. The routine follows a simple acronym: S.A.V.E.R.S. (Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, Scripting).
This has been the hardest part of the morning routine for me. I am an extremely anxious person and I typically wake up feeling behind. My inclination is to wake up, check emails/facebook and get to work; however, that always leads me down rabbit holes and only increases my anxiety. Practicing stillness is SO important. Silence helps me focus on me and what I need before I start worrying about everyone else. By tuning into my inner self, I find that I am much more productive and less stressed throughout the day. I handle little snafus with an attitude of calm and feel centered throughout the day.
1) Silence in the form of meditation or prayer can reduce stress and, as a result, improve your health. Many studies from Harvard and the National Institute of Health cite the health benefits of mediation: reduced risk of heart disease, increased gray matter in the brain (which helps you learn and memorize), and less cortisol levels throughout the body.
Silence can take any form you want. Personally, I like to sit and breathe for a couple of minutes and repeat a simple word like, “Breathe” or “breathe in joy, exhale stress.” I also love the Headspace app (free!) that walks you through 10 minute guided meditation, but only am able to do that when I have plenty of time.
In no particular order, here are a few ways to practice silence:
– Deep Breathing
Don’t get stressed about how long you are silent, just take a minute or two to tune in and connect with you before you connect with everyone else.
Have you ever noticed that some people seem to have the golden touch? Life always seems to go right for them and anything they touch turns to proverbial gold? These people glow and being around them always puts you in a better mood. The thing that separates those people from the rest of us is mindset. Our attitude and beliefs about ourselves affects EVERYTHING we do.
If we believe that we are not worthy or unorganized or a procrastinator or broke or fat or (insert negative word), we will manifest that in our lives. This programming is typically deep seeded and is influenced by what we’ve told ourselves, what others have told us, and all of our good and bad experiences. This programming shows up in EVERY area of our life and if you want to improve ANYTHING in your life, you have to start with that internal programming.
Science has proven that affirmations, when done correctly, are one of the most effective tools for becoming the person you want to be, yet many people believe that affirmations are like a skit from SNL, “I am good enough. I am smart enough. And doggone it, everybody likes me.”
Affirmations are a way of creating a new internal dialogue. Our subconscious and our limiting self-beliefs can sabotage any goal we have- even if we want to make a change. For example, if you want to lose weight, but believe deep down that you will always struggle with food, you will always struggle with food. It’s learning to replace that negative chatter with empowering chatter.
I have written out a list of affirmations for every areas in my life (health, marriage, business, parenting) and I spend 3 minutes every morning reading or reciting ones that resonate with me. Some of my affirmations have two parts, an outcome and an action. For example,
I am committed to losing 5 lbs by (insert date) so that I can fit into my favorite pair of jeans and feel confident.
And others are simple phrases like, “I am made for greatness. The universe is conspiring in my favor. There is always something to be grateful for.”
The secret to affirmations; however, is have an emotional connection to them and to truly BELIEVE in what you’re saying. You also need to recite them everyday. Anything that you repeat to yourself over and over again will eventually be programmed into your subconscious mind and will form new beliefs, actions, and attitudes.
I will continue with Part 2 and the rest of the S.A.V.E.R.S. acronym in my next post, but for now, I encourage you to start your day with some silence and affirmations. See how starting your day in this calm and empowering way can influence the rest of your day!
Do you practice affirmations?? What are some of your favorite?