Mind & Body by Samantha Nichole

Mind & Body by Samantha Nichole

Saturday, March 31, 2018

My Morning Routine

This is my 7th post since my second daughter, Annie, was born. I think that's a pretty good indication of how busy life has been for me over the past two years! I do have my methods of coping, though. If you've been following my blog, you know I like to write about habits, and ways to make life balanced. One of the simplest and most effective ways to do so is by developing a routine, which has been linked to achieving goals and being successful, overall. There has also been a recent influx of YouTube vlogs specifically aimed at morning routines, and due to their popularity, companies are eager to capitalize and reach out to individuals to promote their products.

I have a morning routine I started a couple months ago. It's imperfect, and free of any sponsorship, but it's the most important part of my day because it sets the pace for the rest of it. If I have a productive, stress-free morning, I walk into my job with a positive attitude and enough energy to meet everyday challenges.

My Morning Routine

My alarm goes off at 5:00 and then 5:10 a.m. every morning. Setting multiple alarms has helped me wake up in a gentler manner. Once I get up, I make my way to the kitchen. I fill the tea kettle with water, and I start meditation to gently wake my mind. This meditation is usually longer on days I'm more tired and my mind isn't waking as quickly as my body. The tea kettle is my cue for when to switch from meditation to movement, and while letting the water cool, I work through a few basic yoga positions.

I finish making coffee after my sequence, and I get myself ready for the day. I don't spend much time at all picking out what I'm going to wear. Since adopting a capsule wardrobe and reducing the amount of clothes I own, I spend very little time planning that. It's important for the sake of productivity that I'm ready before my husband wakes up the kids. Once the kids are awake, we both work to get them ready. I use this time to water my plants, also. After he leaves, I clean up and get the kids out the door. I drop them off at their separate daycare buildings, and if I'm lucky, I'll drink some of my coffee before leaving the house. I always eat breakfast, but it's usually once I get to work.

Realistically, my meditation and yoga routine has been happening 2-3 times per week. My goal is to make it all 5 days per week, beginning this coming work week. A morning routine is like eating breakfast. If I have it, the rest of my day falls in place. If I skip it, I feel disheveled and hungry for something. I'm irritated, and stressed, but if I take the time to care for myself, I am positive.

Living With a Commute

Credit: barefeetpoweryoga.com
Commuting is one of the most challenging parts of my day, but I have turned it into an opportunity. Years ago, when I was a new yogini, I remember instructors telling me to set my intentions for class. Initially, I would pick a physical goal or two to achieve, such as better balance and control in Vrksasana (tree pose), or following along with the teacher's breathing. It took me a couple years to focus on cognitive challenges, such as letting go of frustration built up during the day, or finding and releasing anxiety within myself. Once I reached this new height, my practice became an all-encompassing mind, body, and spiritual experience.

One recent accomplishment is using my commute to focus on the cognitive challenges I am facing, and in the same manner as my new yoga experience, I now incorporate basic stress-relievers into my routine to start the day positively. Sometimes I'll listen to music and choreograph routines in my mind. If the music brings my mind in a direction that makes me focus on negativity, I change the genre. Also, I'll sing in the car. Singing is incredibly relaxing, and it's something I do for myself. It incorporates breathing and emotion. Other times, I choose to drive in silence. I soak it in, because that is the only time during my day without noise.

Future Goals

In the future I hope to refine a post-work routine. At the end of the day, I walk through the door and am greeted eagerly by my two little girls. It's awesome. Then, my husband serves dinner (since's he's our family cook), but there's not a set routine after that point. We do a lot, like cleaning and running to gymnastics practices, but capitalizing on our time together in the evening has been a challenge. This is also prime-time during the week for a workout, so I'm looking forward to warmer weather bringing the opportunity to include the girls on bike rides, runs, et cetera. In the meantime, I'll continue to keep my morning routine as it is. This start to my day is refreshing, and proving to be beneficial for my health, mentally and physically.

How do you spend your mornings? Do you feel spending them that way is helpful, or is there room for improvement? Challenge yourself to identify areas of improvement, and set a goal to make change. 

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