Sometimes our days can seem hurried, chaotic, frustrating, scattered, and really bring us down. It can be hard to have a good day when everything seems out of sorts.
But the truth is, we often set ourselves up for a bad day without even realizing it. When we start our days off with poor habits and bad-mood-makers, we’re unwittingly setting ourselves up for failure.
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There are some things you can do, though, to help you start your day off right, get into a positive mindset, and create a mental environment that encourages joy and peace throughout your day!
Establishing a morning ritual can make every day a good day.
First Things First, What Not To Do
Let’s just get this out of the way right from the start. If you want to start your day well and create a positive environment, there are a few things you definitely need to eliminate from your morning routine, like, right now.
I don’t know about you, but I have a bad habit of picking up my phone before I even get out of bed in the morning. I scroll through Facebook, check my notifications and my email and generally waste a lot of time.
The problem, though, is that when I do this – I’m already starting my day off worrying about what everyone else is doing instead of focusing on my own priorities.
Not to mention, it can be a real downer if the first thing you see in the morning is a negative comment on social media or an email that isn’t so pleasant. So just leave your phone alone.
Don’t even acknowledge it for at least the first 30 minutes to an hour of your day. Also, avoid turning on the TV – especially the news. These days, it’s almost all disappointing. No need to start your day off that way.
And don’t even bother looking in the mirror first thing. Most of us don’t roll out of bed looking our best. Go ahead and take a shower and comb your hair before approaching any reflective surface. 😜
Establish A Healthy Morning Ritual
At this point you might be wondering what the difference is between a routine and ritual. In some ways they are the same – they’re both essentially a sequence of actions or events that you go through at specific times.
But rituals go a little bit deeper. They are about being tuned in to your environment and your own needs and emotions. Rituals involve more intuition and are based in mindfulness.
There are no hard and fast rules for what a ritual needs to include. It’s more about what helps you feel the most at peace and the most centered in your day. What is it that helps you start well?
The answer will be different for everyone, and it might take some experimentation to find out what works best for you.
Here I’ll share some ideas you could consider adding to your morning ritual – but you certainly don’t have to do all of these things and you can definitely add other things that you enjoy as well!
What better way to start off your day than by reflecting on all of the things you have to be grateful for? This is something we often forget to do on a day-to-day basis. We get so busy and we begin to take things for granted.
It’s so easy to forget that nothing in life is guaranteed. But when you take just a few minutes each morning to stop and really notice everything you have – both material and non-material things, it really helps you stay grounded and positive throughout your day.
I’m gonna be honest with you. I hate exercise and it’s not something I’ve made a habit of yet. But it is something that can be really therapeutic for some people.
Even doctors and psychologists recommend exercise to help those who struggle with depression and anxiety. Something about it just really calms the mind and centers the body.
Maybe it’s that it forces you to focus more on your breathing and how your body feels. Or maybe it’s that it helps you release built up tension.
Whatever the case may be, a good exercise routine is a great thing to include in your morning ritual. Even just a 30 minute walk around your neighborhood can make a huge difference in your day.
Take a Shower
This one small act of self care seems so simple and inconsequential, but it can make all the difference.
Just the act of taking care of your body and putting on real clothes (instead of staying in your jammies all day) can do a lot to boost your mood! When we look and feel better physically, we feel better mentally, too.
For me, it helps really wake me up and it gives me 10 minutes just for myself, without my kids or my husband in my space or anyone needing anything. It’s just me, alone with my thoughts.
I can pray. I can think. I can meditate. I can clear my mind. It’s one moment in time where everything else doesn’t matter and I can just be.
Do A Beauty Routine
You don’t have to put a full face of makeup on or spend an hour doing your hair. But it’s nice to take a few minutes to put on real clothes, brush your teeth and hair, maybe put on a little foundation or mascara.
Whatever beauty routines you enjoy and have time for are great! I typically don’t wear makeup. It’s just not really something I care a lot about.
But lately I’ve been spending more time on my hair as I’m trying to get my natural waves back. I also take the time to be thoughtful about what clothes I decide to wear.
I’ll be honest and say there are days when it’s totally sweats and a t-shirt all day long. But as often as I can, I try to choose clothes I look and feel good in even if I’m not planning to go anywhere.
The simple act of meditation has literally changed my life. I struggle with major depressive disorder and intermittent explosive disorder.
Basically that means I can go into a rage over nothing and then sink into a depression because I feel bad for my actions and words during my rage. It’s not a pretty picture.
About three years ago, I finally decided to see a doctor and was able to get on medication, which helped a ton. But it’s meditation that has truly helped me really work through my struggles.
There’s just something about taking the time to calm the mind and refocus your thoughts on the good and positive in your life. It even helps me stay calmer in triggering situations when I’m not meditating.
Just the practice of meditation has helped kind of rewire my brain and my natural responses over time.
Reviewing Your Activities For The Day
Taking 10 or 15 minutes each morning to review your plans for the day and make any last minute adjustments can really help you stay calm and in control.
Knowing what’s in front of you helps to eliminate the feeling of chaos and uncertainty. You can go through your day confident that you’re doing the right things.
And if something comes up that you hadn’t planned for, you’ll know what you can rearrange or change to work it out.
Read A Book
Set aside some quiet time each morning to read. Read your favorite book. Do a devotional. Read the Bible. Whatever it is that brings you joy.
Do this while you have a nice hot drink of your choosing (I prefer hot cocoa, but you might prefer tea or coffee). Sit outside if it’s warm and sunny – the sunshine is good for you.
If you don’t want to read an actual book, choose an audiobook to listen to or listen to the Bible on the YouVersion app.
The point is to spend a few minutes in quiet thought as you absorb information or escape into another world in your favorite fiction story or connect with God through worshipful reading of Scripture.
Journal Your Thoughts
Sometimes just writing down what’s on your mind and getting it out of your head and onto paper can really help clear your mind so you can focus on more important things.
Journaling can also bring clarity and organization to your scattered thoughts. Maybe you have thoughts and questions about what you have read. Or perhaps you have ideas that you need to write down before you forget.
It can also help you work through anything that’s been bothering you and think about it with your logical brain rather than your emotions.
Writing really helps solidify things in your mind and brings order to chaotic and jumbled thoughts.
It’s also a great way to see how far you’ve come in life when you can look back on previous journal entries and see how things have changed in ways you probably couldn’t have even imagined when you wrote those entries.
Spend Some Time In Prayer
Talking to God about whatever is on your mind, pouring out your heart to him, telling him about your worries, fears, needs, and your victories – it’s all wonderful.
When I used to work 35 minutes from my home, I’d often spend the drive just talking to God. I was alone and had quiet time to think and get all my anxious thoughts out of my head and lay them in God’s hands.
Sometimes I didn’t really have much to say so I’d blast the Christian radio station and just sing along. Like my own little worship moment alone with God.
It really put me in the right frame of mind before starting my day at work and it made all the difference.
Get Into Nature
Getting outside and breathing in fresh air, feeling the sun on your skin, engaging with all the sites and smells and sounds around you. This can be delightful and joy-inducing if you let it.
Even if it’s cold or rainy or just not a nice day, just sitting on your front porch for five minutes and taking in the everything around you can really put you in a good mood.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes a good spring rain or a summer thunderstorm is the perfect time for me to sit outside and just soak it all in. I find it relaxing.
On a warm sunny day, the light and warmth just brings a smile to my face.
I’m sure you’ve seen the videos of parents standing in front of the mirror with their children repeating uplifting and encouraging things to themselves (and the children repeating after them).
It’s adorable and encouraging to watch. But it’s even more encouraging to do it yourself! Take 30 minutes and write down all the things you want to feel about yourself, even if you don’t currently feel that way.
How do you want to see yourself? Maybe you include things like, I am smart, I am beautiful, I am strong, I have what it takes to create the life I want, I have everything that I need, I get to decide the kind of person I am, my past does not define me.
Once you have a list, repeat those things back to yourself in the mirror every.dang.day. Seriously.
You’ll feel totally silly the first few times, but after you do it for a little while, it will become something you really look forward to. It’ll feel empowering and you’ll feel ready to conquer the day.
Eat A Healthy Breakfast
This one often gets overlooked in our busy lives. We’re always rushing off to the next important thing and we grab a poptart or a breakfast bar on the way out the door.
Or we stop at Starbucks and pick up a coffee and a pastry on the way to work. But taking the few extra minutes to stop and eat – not just eat, but savor – a good, healthy breakfast is a game changer.
You don’t have to make a three course meal. Just grab your favorite fruit or a cup of yogurt. Try to avoid sugary and carb loaded foods and drinks, as these tend to cause a sugar crash a few hours later, which is not ideal.
If you’re finding it difficult to find time for breakfast, try getting up 10 or 15 minutes earlier in the morning.
Our moods can quickly go south when we start the day off on the wrong foot.
The good news is that there are some things you can add to your daily morning ritual that will help you get into a positive mindset and set you up for a day of joy and peace!
Try adding these rituals to your mornings and see what a difference they can make! What’s your favorite morning ritual?