Let’s face it, everyday is not going to be perfect. Or even okay for that matter. Some days are really going to S-U-C-K! And when you have a chronic illness, a lot of days can feel like the end of the world.
This year I’ve been working hard to create a morning routine that either 1) puts me in a good mood, 2) gets me going in the morning, 3) relieves some of the tension I woke up with, or 4) makes me feel like I did something for the day if all I can do is get up, drink some water, and crawl back into bed.
I always thought “morning routines” were pointless. Changing little habits in the morning isn’t going to suddenly turn my life around! But, it could… Wait, hear me out! I have found that creating a morning routine, and not just any morning routine, has helped me cope with my health issues a little better (at least on some days) and work to change my overall mindset. So, today I’m going to share my tips on how to start YOUR day on a better note.
1. Breathing: It’s not as simple as you think. I don’t just mean breath. I mean take 1-5 minutes to do some specific breathing. I always thought breathing was dumb. It never did what it was “supposed” to do. Deep breathing to calm my mind? HA. Focus on my breath to ease anxiety? You’ve got to be kidding me, my anxiety is bigger then my breath! But I’ve found that breathing TAKES PRACTICE. At the start of the year I told myself I would practice breathing every morning for the month of January whether I felt like it was helping or not. As I did it more (practiced), I learned how to focus on my breath better and found that it actually could lessen my anxiety sometimes. I’ve found breathing first thing in the morning is a way to try and ground myself before I even step out of my bed.
I have a few different breathing options for you to try. The first is just to lay or sit comfortably in your bed and take some deep breaths, trying to bring your focus to your inhales and exhales instead of having your mind wander. I mean literally, focus on your inhales and exhales by telling your mind inhale (and notice what that feels like as you inhale) and the same as you exhale.
Option two is my favorite- 4/7/8 breathing. You inhale for 4 counts, hold for 7, and exhale for 8. I really enjoy this because it forces me to focus on my breathing (I have to count the inhales and exhales). I like to do anywhere from 3-10 rounds but I suggest a minimum of 3 rounds. Start with 1 if that’s all you can mentally handle.
The third technique can be combined with either of the first 2. Place one hand on your heart and one anywhere else you feel is in pain or needs love (I usually do my heart and gut). As you breath focus on those areas and send the energy of your breath there.
Now, I have to give some credit to my therapist for introducing me to these breathing methods!
If you feel up to it, you can take this time to set an intention for your day as well as verbally embrace your bodies strength in fighting whatever health issues you may have. It’s important to take a moment out of your day to remind your body that you are proud of the work it is doing (whether you truly feel that way or not. Fake it till you make it!).
2. Stretching/Yoga: I recently posted my favorite morning stretching routine to my YouTube channel. I encourage you to go check it out and give it a try. I’ve found that stretching in the morning gets my blood and lymphatic system moving, as well as my body and mind in general. Movement is SO important even for those healing from illness (a whole post on this to come). Completing even just a couple of minutes of stretching or yoga poses in the morning can be beneficial.
If you don’t know where to start I highly encourage you to give my routine a shot, even if you just do a couple minutes of it. The whole video is posted below! (Be sure to head over to YouTube to like and subscribe 😉 [shameless plug!])
3. Water/Lemon Water: Do I really have to go into detail about this one? How Many times have you heard it?! Really though, lemon water is great in the morning because it helps get your digestive system flowing, to detox and alkalize your body, and to hydrate your system after 7+ hours without water. So grab a glass of room temperature or warm water and squeeze some or all of a lemon into it. Even if you just drink a glass of plain water, Drink up!
4. Wash Your Face: I have to say, I don’t really know anyone who doesn’t wash their face in the morning, but if you don’t you better start! If you’re not a morning shower person, make sure to wash your face every AM. Not only does it get the sleepy’s out of your eyes but it cleans your skin from the debris your pillows collect (from your hair, clothes, skin, and animals, if you let them in the bed). I suggest warm water and your favorite toxin-free soup/face wash and then finishing off with a splash of cold water to really wake you up and tighten your pores after cleansing.
5. Get On With Your Day: You’ve completed the first 4 tips? Great, now do your thing! Get ready, eat breakfast, go to work, or get back in bed for Netflix and a nap. Either way, I highly suggest creating a morning routine to both mentally and physically prepare for the day, especially if you are battling a chronic health condition. Creating not just any routine, but one specifically designed to support my mind and body in handling illness has been vital in my ability to mentally manage my current situation. And guess what? You may not complete your morning routine every morning or it may not help that day, but trust me when I say, in time it will make a difference (and you won’t necessarily notice it until one day you wake up and crave your routine because it really does help). FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT, PEOPLE!
I hope you found these tips helpful and I’d love to hear what your morning routines look like, what you do to get your day started on the right foot, or what tips you use to help manage being sick! Sending love and healing ❤