Updated: May 23, 2022
Not jumping straight into our work or responsibilities for the day is an absolute lifesaver long term.
Many years ago I began incorporating meditation into my daily morning practice. Though I had studied a lot of various meditation traditions, I kept it really simple.
Sit for 10 minutes with calm music in the background - and let yourself go where ever.
I started with an alarm at the 10-minute mark.
Then, I got so used to it, that I didn’t need the alarm, and I would open my eyes naturally at exactly the ten-minute mark.
I noticed that giving myself the freedom to just be with myself, without any specific tradition like breathing, single-pointed awareness, or trying to stop my thoughts, allowed me to get farther with it (try it if you want!)
The intention was to just sit with myself and be curious about what needed to come to the surface.
I noticed I felt more energized and centered during the day, so I incorporated more morning practices like...
10 minutes of movement (free form dance)
and/or 10 minutes of self-led yoga (vinyasa or restorative)
Over the years, the practices have changed. During Covid, for example, my morning practice was an hour-long, filled with journalling, smudging, and gratitude lists.
I let myself play with what FELT good, not what I was being force-fed on the internet. I invite you to do the same.
Why? Because the second it feels like a chore, we are just doing the "doing", which is the OPPOSITE of what a morning practice is about.
Now, my morning practices vary depending on what environment I’m in and what I’m inspired to do.
Regardless, the point is that I always make time for myself in the morning. Right when I wake up, my energy is focused on my body, my mind, and my spirit... And it's been a complete game-changer.
Why not try to make the most out of your day?
Slowing down in the morning gives our brains an opportunity to actually wake up, giving our body a slow start, rather than an abrupt beginning.
We’re not meant to wake up and jump on a computer. It’s shocking to our systems after a deep sleep.
Sometimes, it feels counterproductive if we’re extremely busy. But from my experience, when I’ve skipped my morning practice (even if it’s five minutes), it affects my day.
I feel thrown off and disorganized.
Even two minutes of taking a few conscious, slow breaths, sets the tone for the day.
Why not feel good in the process of whatever responsibilities we have to show up for, regardless of our feelings towards them?
But Kelsey...I don't have time... Okay, I'm going to give you some tough love. Wake up early. Seriously. This kind of work (even slowing down) takes WORK. It's not meant to be easy, but I can promise you it makes one hell of a difference. Let me tell you why...
Why do slow mornings work? When we slow down, the things we want to accomplish come easier to us.
It’s scientifically proven that we are not machines, we are humans. Having a good night of rest, healthy food in our systems and feeling generally less stressed increases our brain function, and therefore, our productivity.
Often times when we wake up in the morning and scramble to a meeting, it’s because we feel like we need to feel stressed - as if it’s a requirement.
Of course, there are things to be stressed about, but I’ve always found that usually there’s an extra “layer” of stress that is not needed.
Corporate America and the typical office culture adds to this extra layer.
Expectations we feel we have for ourselves to be “perfect” adds to this layer.
The idea that we must work like animals to be “successful” adds to this layer.
Multi-tasking as our society's love language…add it to the layer.
Having been in a stressful environment in the past adds to this layer (even if we’ve removed ourselves from unhealthy situations). Can you think of anything else?
Making progress towards our personal, professional, or creative goals will only bring us farther when we have the mental capacity to be present with them.
When we’re bouncing from place to place, not taking the time to slow down, we are actively robbing ourselves of what could be some of our most brilliant ideas.
Ever had an amazing idea in the shower? Or on a hike? In your car?
This is because you’re being completely present. And presence is not something we can Will for without putting in the work to let our minds, bodies, and spirits know that we are ready for what’s coming to us.
You don’t need to have a 20-minute meditation to reap the benefits of a slow morning. Try it out, set an intention, and see what feels good for you - even if it’s just taking an extra 20 minutes to enjoy your coffee.
What are some of the practices you’d like to try?
For more ideas, join The Love Club Artist Membership, where every month you'll receive countless creative, freedom-focused self-care rituals & mindset hacks to help you make the most out of your days.
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