The phrase ‘morning person’ is certainly relative. It’s a fact that some of us operate better in the wee hours of the early morning sun, and others of us feel most energized mid-day. There are even more than a select few of us who would certainly wear the label ‘night owl’ with pride. Here’s looking at you, college-age-self! ; )
While aligning with any of these notions is totally fine in my book, not to mention the 3000+ year old science of Ayurveda reaffirms that based on our unique dosha, (modern science might call that the bridge where genetics and epigenetics collide – more on that later), its quite natural to feel surges of energy and periods of needed restoration, not only throughout the day but also the month and year. Pacifying these urges, to rest when we need rest and sweat when we need to sweat, is important in order to feel our optimal self.
In a world where our level of success is measured by how productive we are or how much we’ve accomplished, it’s certainly difficult to take step back and observe that trees don’t bud in the spring without adequate rest in the winter, and the sun never rises with out setting hours prior. Ocean tides are never permanently ebbed, but they must also, flow. Humans, as natures creatures, are no different. Rest is equally as important as rising. Ahem! Let me pause for a second as I choke on my own words, exclaimed from the past 28 years of my life. I’ve certainly uttered phrases such as ‘you can sleep when you’re dead’ more times that I care to count. But hey, with age comes wisdom, right?
Adequate rest is critical for allowing what seems like mysterious milieu of hormones and neurotransmitters that control us, to align with the natural forces of nature. I know it may sound hokey, but look around your yard. Deer bed down as the sun sets, and birds start chirping as it rises. These critters aren’t walking around like zombies looking for the nearest Starbucks, and don’t require a handful of pills to keep their bodies humming along. We can learn A LOT from spending just 5 minutes a day in nature. Besides rest, we know using these bodies that house our busy minds is certainly important. However, just as exercise is great for ‘burning off stress hormones’, overexercising is even better at firing up our stress hormone production as well. Talk about a hormonal, metabolic shit storm! I digress…
So taking a nod from nature, I’ve got a few ideas as to how you can create your Best Morning Ever! And don’t stop there, go on and have the best day, week, month and life!
A little mantra I try my best to live by, is one I call RPM! Ironically, this is also the abbreviation for a measure of rotational speed, but in this case RPM stands for Rise. Pee. Meditate. or Move.
Our bodies thrive on consistency, so with this routine I try to be as consistent as possible given the situation I’m in. My wake up time may not be exactly the same each morning, although I try, and I may not wake up in the same environment each morning either, however the routine is reasonably unchanged.
Rise – My morning routine beings with a countdown the night prior. I try to start winding down by 9PM and bed by 9:30 but being human that’s sometimes hard. From whatever time I lay my head to rest, I count forward 7-9 hours to set my alarm. No lights. No TV. No dogs (sorry, pups). No artificial sounds or smells in the bedroom. Once the full 8 hours have passed and hopefully I slept well, the rise part is incredibly easier than it was having only 4, 5 or 6 hours of quality sleep. This one takes some work, strategy and planning. Even more so when you have children, I might imagine. But it’s likely they need consistency and restoration even more than you. My rise is compete with a quick little whisper of gratitude. I try to be thankful I have a warm and cozy bed, that I have meaningful work to look forward to, and that the trajectory of my day is completely and totally up to me and my outlook. Good vibes only from this point forward. Some days this goes better than others.
Pee – In Ayurveda there are 13 ‘natural urges’ that should never be suppressed for those in pursuit of optimal health. Peeing is a very important natural urge. I try to scale back on the coffee, herbal teas, infused or sparkling water a hour or so before bed as to not interrupt my sleep with this urge. A pee is complete with a quick rinse of my body, face, and mouth to help clear out what the night janitor stirred up while I was in slumber.
Meditate – This can certainly take on many different forms and I’ll over emphasize there’s no right or wrong way to do this. When I first started a medication (that was a typo I decided to leave as meditation has very much been a form of medicine for me), I relied on, and often still do, guided meditations like this one. Sometimes meditation comes after I read an excerpt from a book such as this one. And many times, it’s just me, my breath and a cup of tulsi turmeric tea. Whether I have 3 minutes or 30, this is an essential part of ‘getting my mind right’ for the day. I strive hard to avoid picking up my phone or checking my emails before meditation, so that my busy mind isn’t even more distracted by what’s happening on social media or who I need to reply to. Again, some days this happens better than others. We’re all just a work in progress.
Move – On a really lucky day, I’ll get both of my M’s in. Moving for me in the AM is critical for setting the tone of the day. I used to be of the belief that if I didn’t have a full hour or more to spend getting really sweaty and my heart racing, that it simply wasn’t worth my time to move. With age and a little research, I’ve realized how incredibly wrong I was about that. Now, if only for 5 minutes of yoga asana that I don’t even have to leave my bedroom to do, or tossing on my boots for a quick stroll outside, I know the benefits are vast. Not only have I experienced this, but apparently thousands of others have as well according to this research.
This is my little recipe for allowing every day to be worth my time. To avoid just simply ‘going through the motions’ but really embracing each encounter I have with the folks who cross my path, and to be more aware of the choices I’m making (i.e. what to eat, how long to sit, how to react to a email). It’s not stagnate or perfected and every day is a bit different, but it works for me.
I’m curious how you get your engine revved up? Do you have an RPM or similar routine that sets you up for the Best Day Ever? I hope so! Join the conversation in the Nourish Appalachia Community on Facebook.
Live each day with vigor,