Want to create more ease in your day? These simple rituals may make a morning person out of you yet!
When you think of the word “ritual,” what leaps to mind?
A ritual is simply a set of gestures, words, or actions that are performed according to a set sequence.
Rituals can be used to mark the beginning or the end of an event; they can be used to savor (think of a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, or the specific protocols in a wine tasting); they can be used to bring luck (think of athletes engaging in a huddle and cheer before heading in to the big game). Maybe you think of a religious ritual. Or the specific way your family observed a particular holiday when you were growing up. Weddings. Funerals. Graduations. Even the order in which you apply skin care products in the morning could be considered a ritual!
I’m going to show you how you can use the quiet power of ritual to bring some ease into your morning – so that you can face whatever comes your way from a place of peace and equanimity.
I discovered the benefits of a morning ritual a few years ago. Like most Americans, I had developed the habit of being awakened by an alarm, then immediately picking up my phone and scrolling through news, emails and social media. As you can imagine, that habit didn’t contribute to a peaceful start to my day – in fact, it did the opposite.
So I set up a simple morning ritual to help me. I still use my phone as my alarm clock (flipped face down so the light doesn’t wake me up). I found a peaceful ringtone to help me wake up gently. Upon waking, I start a pot of coffee. Then I feed my dog and let him out. I pour my first cup of coffee, sit in my favorite spot on the sofa, maybe wrap myself in a blanket if it’s chilly, light a candle and then light either incense or a palo santo stick to clear the energy around me. I meditate for about ten minutes. Then I go on about my day. Top to bottom, it clocks in under a half hour. But it makes ALL the difference.
This simple ritual does a few things for me. First, it ensures that I wake up easy: if I hit snooze, I might be getting a few minutes of extra sleep, but it means I have to rush around in the morning, and I find rushed energy jangling, even painful. Second, it sets a tone of quiet peace, gratitude, and reverence. Third, it helps me cultivate mindfulness and equanimity. Finally, it gives me a sense of agency over my day: no matter what happens as I move through my day, I get to decide the pace and frame of mind I bring to it. That’s empowering!
Your morning ritual doesn’t have to look like mine. It should resonate with you, it should be something you’ll actually want to do, and it should include whatever gives you a sense of peace, joy, and ease. As few as 3-5 minutes, or as long as half an hour or more – it’s up to you!
Here are five tips for creating a simple ritual you can use to bring ease and meaning into your mornings.
- Give yourself a little extra time in the morning. Even an extra 10 minutes in the morning can be more than enough time to make space for a simple ritual that will support you throughout your day.
- The idea here is to keep things low-key and quiet, limiting sensory input until you’ve had a chance to acclimate to waking. Keep lights dim, and avoid digital devices or other electronics as well as any media or messaging.
- Limit interaction with other people during this time, if possible. Take time for you.
- Feather your nest. If you enjoy coffee, tea, or warm water with lemon in the morning, consider making preparation of your beverage of choice part of your ritual. Find a comfortable place where you won’t be disturbed. Light a candle, light incense or ring a little bell to clear the energy if you choose. Roll out your yoga mat, or nestle into a favorite comfy chair. Anything that feels nurturing is fair game.
- Choose quiet activities that nourish you and give you a sense of peace. These can include meditation or prayer, journaling, yoga or other gentle movement, taking a beloved pet for a short morning walk, watching the sun rise, setting an intention for your day, practicing an instrument, reciting a mantra, or just sitting in silence. All are great ways to start a new day.
Morning isn’t the only time for ritual. The end of the work day and before bedtime are great times to incorporate rituals to support your well-being. I’ll share mine with you in future posts.
Rituals all day! Let’s do this!
Do you have a favorite morning ritual? I’d love to hear what works for you! Let me know in the comments.