With the arrival of colder weather and shorter days, the urge to go into hibernation mode is real and seems to set in immediately. Early mornings quickly turn into early afternoons, as I willingly give into the urge to sleep in later. There's nothing wrong with honoring our body's natural clocks and shifts during the change of seasons, but there may be an alternative to sleeping in that will contribute to feeling more refreshed and ready to take on the day.
Last year around this time, I started a "fast". Unlike your traditional fast from food, I chose to fast from oversleeping. During my fast, something in me shifted. Waking up at 5am (which is way earlier than I would naturally wake) shifted my perspective on "sleeping in", or, more likely it sparked a desire that was already there.
My "5am fast", as I called it, inspired me to adopt a new morning ritual. One with more time dedicated to connecting with myself and spirit, more time to set and sit with my intentions, and more flow as I eased into my work day.
Being a full time entrepreneur has afforded me the opportunity to realize a lifestyle and daily routine that is more sustainable for me, with a slower pace, and more aligned with my natural rhythms. Overall, leading to a more holistic way of being.
At times, this natural inclination to slow down has been silenced, or quieted by the noise of productivity, capitalism and overachievement. But the truth is that although I welcome "more" to help sustain myself and my family more comfortably, I don't need for much, and more often would prefer returning to a simpler way of living.
My practice of rising early during my 5 am fast achieved a few important things. One, it affirmed my sensibilities towards "slow / soft living". Two, it inspired a new way to start my day. And, three, it actually made me more productive, yet at a much more comfortable pace.
As we fully settle into Autumn, I invite you to consider ways to "shake up" or refresh your morning routine that will bring you more peace, more joy and leave you feeling cared for, inspired and prepared to seize each day. Here are a few of the practices that I've adopted along the way:
* Wake at 5 am (After the fast, I adjusted my waking time as needed, depending on what's going on in my life, my energy levels, and the season).
*Begin my morning with a centering activity (e.g. meditation, prayer, sound healing etc).
*Sit up, stretch, use the restroom and wash my face. I've found stretching to be very important throughout the day. I've gotten better about incorporating mindful movements to release tension in my body and to help move stagnant energy.
*Make warm lemon water as my first beverage of the day, to help detoxify the body (this has been a practice of mine for many years).
*Make a pot of tea and allow it to steep while I tend to other activities (e.g. cook, shower, get dressed, water the plants etc.). I always like to start and end my day with tea. It's a great mindfulness practice, helps me to feel unrushed, and is nourishing to my physical temple.
*Journal, while sipping my lemon water or after I've moved on to tea. Journaling has also been a practice of mine since I was young, and doing so soon after meditation allows me to capture any revealing or emerging insights or thoughts.
*Prepare and enjoy a meal. Preferably something healthy and savory. The meal may vary from simple to more intricate depending on the day, but eating something tasty and nutritious helps to fuel my day.
*Get dressed in whatever feels good and true to me that day. Adorn myself in something beautiful and colorful, or keep it simple and natural., whatever feels right! Also, take time to love on my hair and skin. This also is a fun way to care for and express myself.
*Give plants some love (e.g. sunlight, water, attention). I love my plants. They bring oxygen, green life and joy to my home, so in turn I should be intentional about reciprocating the love to them (I'm becoming a better plant mom, little by little.).
*Take a walk if have time, or hold my walk for later in the day. Perhaps just step outside for some fresh air in the morning to help wake me up. Walking is one of my favorite leisure activities, and often my preferred form of exercise and meditation.
*Do something creative each day. It could be work or non-work related, like blogging, updating website visuals, creating social media content, fluid writing, planning my podcast, drawing, rearranging things in the house etc.
These are a just a few things that have supported my well-being and helped to elevate my morning routine. I encourage you to try these practices and explore others to see what works best for you. Remember to be gentle with yourself and give yourself grace. Some days will come easy, and others may be a challenge, but what matters is that you set an intention and practice. Practice is repeated application over time, and with consistent practice, your daily rituals will eventually become healthy habits. And even if practice doesn't make perfect, it will make for an overall improved sense of wellness and better quality of life.