Ever had a cup of tea while working, only to look at your empty cup and wonder what happened to it?
That my dear is doing things on auto-pilot.
It is a necessary skill and without it, we would have to relearn to make that same cup of tea every day!
The problem lies in when we do most things on auto-pilot, it is here that we don’t always ‘hear’ the feedback from our bodies, maybe pushing through hunger, sadness or discomfort only to wonder later why were exhausted, moody or in agony.
Practising mindfulness is not only about sitting in formal practice, but it’s also about applying the skill of being more mindful in everyday life, noticing what’s present in the most mundane circumstances.
A perfect example of this is our morning routines, if sleep was interrupted due to night sweats, insomnia or a snoring partner, you may not be in the happiest of moods.
You may be worried about a deadline at work and the added pressure of homeschooling and feeling tired can set up a cascade of thoughts, feelings and emotions that makes you feel helpless, anxious and more overwhelmed.
Starting the day in auto-pilot leaves little unnecessary mistakes.
I’d love to share these three simple ways of being more mindful in the morning so that even if you’re sleep deprived or grumpy, you can still intend to be kind and caring towards yourself, knowing that if you start on this foot rather then the other one, the next moments of your day may be quite different!
1. Greet your most loyal companion
Maybe that’s a dog or cat, but I’m talking about your incredible body!
So many of us check our phones first thing in the morning, I think we all know what that can do to our mood, energy and sense of self-worth if we happen to land on friends perfectly curated Instagram feed, when we’re feeling a bit below par.
Why not make it part of your morning routine to firstly greet your body. Swiftly moving from feet to head and saying hi to the various body parts. It doesn’t hurt to do this playfully and animated.
Notice the heaviness of your body, the exhaustion, the discomforts, the areas of comfort or warmth and just be with your body as it is right now.
End with adding a bit of care to yourself, maybe saying something like ‘It’s been a restless night, there is exhaustion, frustration and irritation present, so today I will take extra care of my wellbeing’
This doesn’t have to take more than five minutes, but it’s a wonderful way to start the day.
2. Thank gravity
I’m not talking about how gravity affects our perfectly pert boobies. (who has those?)
Imagine trying to get out of bed, but you float into the air. Not that productive unless you’re a spacewoman!
As you step out of bed, instead of reaching for your slippers and stumbling to the bathroom, take a moment and feel the earth beneath your feet. Notice the texture of the floor, your sleeping socks or the air on your bare feet. Notice the sensations in the feet, maybe there’s stiffness or tingling.
Allow yourself to just be with your feet for a few moments before you take the first step into your new day.
3. Set an intention
Today I will mostly….
Notice for yourself the difference between these statements:
Today I will mostly be grumpy, irritated and impatient
Today I will be patient with myself and others even though I am exhausted.
Now you may say to me, I don’t wake up thinking I’m going to be grumpy and irritated, it’s just the way it is, anyone would be moody if they had the night you had.
Here’s the thing, you absolutely have control over this and it’s a decision you make. It may feel fake to start off with but what I encourage you to do is just play with it and see how you FEEL after setting the intention to have a different attitude towards yourself, others and your day.
At the end of the day, it may dawn on you that you were indeed impatient with yourself and others and that is wonderful.
Why, because you remembered, maybe not at the moment, but you now have the choice to start over.
Remember, you’re human, and no one functions well on being tired.Self-compassion and kindness goes a very long way!