Crafting morning rituals for everyday living (even abroad!)
This could mean making the most of the day. While trying something new and exciting would be amazing, we know that it’s not possible for us all to live like this every single day. Life happens. We have responsibilities. Kids. Pets. Spouses. Jobs. And even then, some are struggling with leaving the bed, or the house. For numerous reasons. Illness. Depression. Loneliness. Culture shock.
There are however a couple of things that we can do to ensure our day starts well. We each have our morning rituals, here I share with you the ones I have. They are easy to replicate, no matter where you are. You see, crafting those morning rituals allow me to have routine, something that keeps me firmly grounded. It gives me stability in my world of chaos – unpacking, packing, moving in between homes, being in foreign places, changing diets… Perhaps it can work for you too.
I don’t do everything listed here on a daily basis. Sometimes I do only a couple of them at a time. The idea is that you do what feels good for you.
I’ve mentioned it in a previous post before. I write all my thoughts down as soon as I wake up in my journal. They allow me to vent, rant (yes it’s not always pretty), express myself and also let out any thoughts that come to mind. Anything. They don’t have to be perfectly structured sentences, just jot down whatever comes to your mind really. The beauty of this exercise is to free your mind from negativity and from all kinds of thoughts and get more clarity and focus for the day ahead. It also helps you calm down.
I’m not the morning type so I do my walk much later in the day. It can be walking out to get the clothes that are drying in the washing line outside. It can be walking down to the nearest greenest patch and breathe fresh air. You can even meditate with the Calm app while walking. They have a special category for walking meditations. During my walks, I open myself to truly noticing things around me. The little things. The butterfly on the flower. The pretty pastel petals. The kid holding his mother’s hands. The postman. The pigeon moving its neck back and forth as it follows another pigeon.
I’d like to say yoga, but seeing that I’m far from being as flexible as a red licorice stick, the most I can manage are some neck stretches (done while still in bed), and arm and leg stretches. Just to get the blood flowing more.
Prayers vary from day to day. Most of the time they include a request to be open, open to receive direction and guidance from God, hearing God when I face decisions, setting intentions for the day and thanking God for being able to see another day, to bless this day, follows by a list various things in the world I’m thankful for today.
Vision for the day
I have some sort of outline. Some use an agenda planner, others have a board, you can decide what you want to use for this. I simply visualize it in my head and take notes if I have to. I will think of the day ahead, the tasks I would like to accomplish (a blogpost, pitching to a publisher, trying out a recipe). Anything that gets me from idea to action mode. Word of caution: go easy on yourself. Just because you don’t achieve all you visualize that morning doesn’t make you bad. You’ve done more than what you would have done if you sat there doing absolutely nothing.
My breakfast is not the same every day. Eating to me is synonymous to pleasure. So for me to enjoy my food, it will depend on what I feel like eating. Some mornings I wake up nauseated, making it hard to swallow anything. Those days I have crackers, or dry toast with honey or rice cakes with some fruits, or a yogurt with some nuts. On the days where I’m fine and feeling amazing, I will make a beautiful and delicious breakfast. Depending on where I am (read which kitchen and equipment I have at my disposal), I will make a smoothie with tahini, nuts, seeds, fruits and coconut water/water or a hot fry up. During my breakfast, I make it special by sitting in a lovely spot where it’s cosy or pretty. You don’t have to be in a luxury hotel for that, create your own lovely space. Use your best plate, your favourite cutlery, cut the fruits and display them beautifully.
A creative outlet is a great way to begin your day. Although I do write, I feel I need something more playful as writing is, well my job. In my current diary, I have the slots to schedule my weekly appointments on one side and the other is a beautiful illustration to colour. I have since then bought more colouring books as I love this practice so much!
I once had this Parisian guy couchsurf at my place and we discussed rituals. Every morning, he woke up with the sounds of classical music filling up his beautiful Paris apartment, he would then sit on his balcony, with a café au lait, a pâtisserie and a piece of chocolat. The French do know about indulging in small pleasures. We don’t need much to create an atmosphere of peace and simple luxury. I love classical music, and so, I decided to make this part of my morning ritual too. It sets the tone to my day.
I am the proud mum of two adorable rescue kittens. They adopted me after two weeks of hissing, spitting at me and hiding from me (we have come such a long way!). Whenever I’m in the same home as them, mornings are spent with lots of cuddling, petting, being cute and lots of laughs. Having pets reduce anxiety, boosts your happiness and make you live longer. Need we say more? If you don’t have pets, perhaps you have kids. Or plants. I also enjoy taking care of my bonsai and the few plants I have around the house.
An inspiring story
I like to start my day with great inspiration. For that reason, I subscribe to various podcasts that I can listen to. They are far from being deep, however they are rich in encouraging nuggets of information, as well as a fresh perspective on life. Some mornings I would listen to an interview from a writer, another would be from an inspiring business woman, and another would be from a connoisseur of life. Listening to something positive brings me hope and gets me excited for the day ahead.
Never underestimate the power of a shower. When life knocks you down it is hard to muster the energy for self care. It is no wonder, because your body is resisting to everything that’s good for you when you feel beaten down. So, starting with a mindful shower is the way to go! A mindful shower is one where you are focused on what you are doing – showering. And not thinking about a million other things about your day. Make it a delightful moment by lighting up a scented candle, your favourite music playing, get a soft towel, use your best soap or beauty product. Your body is sacred, so treat it with great care and respect. You are so worthy!
A cup of tea
While some swear by a cup of coffee, I like my tea. Again, the mood varies. Sometimes I need an Earl Grey, other times it will be a ginseng tea for a kick, other times it will be a tender camomile, and it also depends where I am. In Spain, I have manzanilla or Rojo tea, in Mauritius I love vanilla tea with a cloud of milk, in South Africa I enjoy a good Rooibos or honey bush tea. While sipping on my cup of tea, I try to be in the moment. Not rushing. Not thinking about other things. Only savouring those few minutes of this hot infusion going down my throat. This can also count as meditation, albeit an active one!
I hope you find the above useful to apply in your life as well. Perhaps you already have some rituals that you do every morning, in which case, feel free to share them with us in the comments section below. Sharing is caring 😊.