I used to really not be a morning person. Ask anyone in my family, they will tell you that they have tried everything (singing really annoying songs *ahem.. thank you brother*, pouring water over my face, removing my comforter, etc) to try to get me up in the morning. I used to dread mornings so much. Finally, when I moved away for college, I would get up late, skip breakfast, and rush out the door to my first class. I would choose classes that start later in the day (1 pm) and I would find myself sleeping till 12:50pm. I lived this way for too long I think - because at the end of it all, I felt miserable, unmotivated, and was very irritable.
Then I decided to embark on a journey. I decided that I just didn’t want to be miserable and unmotivated anymore. I wanted to be productive and I wanted to feel GREAT at the start of each day. And in order to do this, I knew that I had to tackle my mornings head on. I had to tackle the infamous, endlessly enticing frenemy: the s n o o z e button.
The benefits of an early morning are truly innumerable and there are plenty of resources out there that explain it thoroughly (and better than me): My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired by Benjamin Spall and Michael Xander and The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and Thrive by Arianna Huffington
I am here to tell you about slow mornings. Calm mornings. The types of morning that energize you, instead of leaving you feeling exhausted and tired.
A slow morning routine is about using your mornings in a way that makes you present and focused. It’s about slowing down your routine that puts you in a good mood and allows you to have a productive day.
Here are some ways to have a peaceful, slow morning:
1. PREPARE THE NIGHT BEFORE
This can mean a lot of things. For me, this means that my dishes are in the dishwasher and not in the sink, my laundry is not on the floor and is put away, and my lunch and breakfast are prepped (or at least planned) for the next day and my cats have had a good play time and grooming. This way, when you wake up, you are not scrambling around, juggling multiple tasks at once, with your mind racing.
2. WAKE UP EARLIER THAN USUAL
If you struggle with the snooze button like I did, I would suggest that you put your alarm/phone at the opposite end of the room. This way, when the alarm goes off, you have to get out of bed and walk over to the phone to turn it off. By this point, you are already up and can immediately hop over to your bathroom, wash your face with cool water and actually wake yourself up.
Top tip: Instead of choosing from your phone alarm sounds, you can choose your favorite song or calm ambient sounds as your alarm. I personally like the songs of the pianist Ludovico Einaudi - it’s very relaxing and perfect for a peaceful morning.
3. STRETCH AND MEDITATE
I learned about Robin Sharma’s book The 5 AM Club and learned about the 20/20/20 rule. The basic idea is that the first hour of your waking period is crucial. To have the most productive day, you can divide that first hour into 3 parts: the first 20 minutes to move, then 20 minutes to reflect and the last 20 minutes to grow.
Move: you can stretch (which is what I prefer to do), walk outside, or do a body-weight workout
Reflect: you can mediate, journal, or just sit with your window open in silence - listening to the world outside
Grow: This is the best part. You can do whatever that contribute to your growth: you can read your favorite book, draw and paint, doodle, listen to music/podcast, watch a good video, plan your day, etc
Now, you don't have to wake up at 5 AM to do this. I certainly don't. But it's a good way to structure your mornings.
4. DRINK TEA (OR COFFEE!)
We are a household of tea drinkers. Whether it's authentic chaya (or chai), loose-leaf black or green teas, or some homemade ginger tea - you can bet we are starting our day off with some tea.
5. HAVE A NOURISHING SELF CARE ROUTINE
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention PAYARU in this post. I truly believe that a good self care routine can truly make a huge difference. After brushing my teeth, I wash my face with the all-natural, simple and minimal Original Mung Bean Scrub, shower, and get ready for the day.
Natural skin care is very important to us and we believe that natural products can truly nourish our skin. It keeps our skin looking fresh and have a healthy glow.
Of course, a big part of self care is taking care of your health! Drink lots of water and eat a yummy, nutritious breakfast. Typically these days, I am always making myself an avocado toast, or homemade yogurt, granola, and fruit bowl.
If you want to see what my morning routine looks like typically, you can see it in this calming video: