It is February, and there is no better time than now to love…yourself. Move aside couples walking down the Love Lock Bridge with a box of hand-crafted chocolates, I am dating myself this Valentine’s Day!
Besides the month notorious for oversaturated fine-dining reservations, I think of February as the month sandwiched right in the middle of winter. You have braved January with stamina and gumption. Good for you! March is the final stretch before we see some post-flurry floral bloom. And then there is February or, single’s awareness month. Do you remember the dumpster fire that was 2020? Partner or multiple partners or single and ready to mingle, it really is okay to celebrate you this month.
With so many of us working from home and readjusting what normal looks like, the days can so easily blend into one. Staring at a screen and separating sleep pajamas and work pajamas can make us feel stir crazy. I have noticed how much of an internal chase I begin from the time I get up, to the time I go to bed. It is as if a voice inside my head gets me up to tell me I have things to do, and I don’t take the time to reassure that voice just how I am going to conquer the day.
Until I started to structure my morning routine. It is amazing just how much better I have felt throughout the day when I structure my morning routine with even a smidge more intentionality.
I like to classify my morning routine into three categories; waking up my body, connecting with myself, and then getting in my body. Each of these have varied throughout the week, however I have found this consistency to be really beneficial.
Wake Up Your Body
The first thing you see every morning when you wake up is the inside of your eyelids, and then the day begins. For some people, the next thing they see is the coffee machine brewing their favorite way to start the day. I hear you. For those of us with more sensitive nervous systems, coffee is more harmful than helpful and there are many ways to wake up without it. From having an orgasm before you get out of bed, to going for a walk, or drinking a bottle of water to get your system going, there are many habitual ways to mark the start of your day. Here have been my two favorites:
Feeding your body a nutrient-dense meal can help you wake up and give your body the energy it needs to begin your day. Grabbing even a banana instead of coffee has helped mark the start of my day lately. Looking forward to something simple and satisfying has been a good motivator for me in the morning. I have even started to make coffee alternatives, like a turmeric latte or an adaptogenic tea, which entice me out of bed and into the kitchen.
Many people consider this a normal part of their routine, and for those that avoid coffee, this could be a great way to wake up without caffeine. Let’s go a step further; cold showers can be a simple way to positively impact your mental health. Of course the quick shock can shock your nervous system, but it has been also known to minimize symptoms of anxiety and depression. Even a cold splash on your face can make the difference in separation from sleeping to getting your day started.
Connect With Yourself
If we wake up from an alarm every day, it can jolt our bodies into a fast paced rhythm which can be stressful. Once I am awake, it is important for me to take a moment before I charge the day ahead by spending a bit of time connecting with myself. I have found this intentional time in a few different ways.
I have found this time in the morning to be quite sacred. I pull out my art notebook, some charcoals and let whatever creative itch flow. I have found this intentional connection with myself as a great way to process emotions. Processing emotions in this way can set a precedence for a more mindful and connected day.
Journaling is another way to give what I consider congested emotions a way to come up for air before you dive into your day. Whether it is thought dumping, or being more calculated about what you write, journaling can give you the space to connect with yourself.
Get In Your Body
Getting in your body can increase your blood flow and relieve lingering sleep tension. There are so many ways to get into your body in a gentle and inviting way. While some people prefer an intense morning workout to start their day, I enjoy a meditative workout, if you will. The last two points on the list are some of my favorite ways to get in my body in the morning.
Meditation or Breath Work
Deep breathing and meditation has been one of my top ways to get in my body. I set the stage outside, and usually only set aside a few minutes as I let go of thoughts and breathe diaphragmatically. I keep a piece of paper and a pen next to me to jot down things I need to do that pop up during this time.
Stretching, rolling around, or taking five minutes to raise each ankle in downward dog has been another way I get in my body. Some days I am lying face up with my limbs in the air as I move each joint in a circular motion. Other times I am stretching and in cat pose, or setting a timer for ten minutes of tai chi with my feet on the grass.
Whether it is a fifteen minute routine, or a two hour, slow-cooked morning getup, a routine will promote better health, more productivity, and an overall happier self. Today I splashed water on my face, sketched a charcoal tree, and did five minutes of tai chi. While tomorrow may be a different variation, the consistency has been the red carpet rolling out before my day. It has helped me work from home more productively and feel more structured and less stressed. Move aside chocolate hearts, you may just need to get yourself a morning routine.