When life is hectic, our own needs can quickly fall off the list. But taking a few minutes to care for ourselves in the morning can ensure that we start the day feeling good. It’s a wise investment – because just a few minutes well spent in the morning can have a powerful ripple effect on the day, and week, ahead. So I’m going to suggest five simple three minute morning rituals for you to try. Simply add one or more of these to your morning routine for a instant well-being boost.
When you find one you enjoy, keep it up for a week – and you’ll soon notice a positive impact.
If you can spare 15 minutes in the morning, you could even do them all at once – a quick and easy way to receive a whole raft of wellbeing benefits.
Choosing Your Morning Ritual
Establishing a morning self care ritual is easier than you think.
At its simplest, your ritual needs to be both achievable and enjoyable – a simple act that you can do consistently enough for it to become a habit.
Look for something that you can slip into your existing routine with very little effort. That you can do wherever you are, soon after you wake up.
1. Stretch before you get out of bed
Why: yoga calms the mind, releases toxins, soothes your nervous system, and helps to relieve tiredness and stress. It might even get your bowels moving more effectively…!
If you don’t have any injuries or major back issues, the easiest way to bring a yoga routine into your morning is to do it in bed, while you’re still waking up.
Yoga teacher Leif Olsen of Garbo House recommends:
“Simple lying-down yoga poses can be a lovely way to gently start your day. You could start by simply drawing your knees into your chest and rolling from side to side – a movement that gently massages your back. Then add a few of your favourite lying-down poses into the mix – I love happy baby (ananda balasana) and twists (natrajasana) – as these are both great for stretching out your lower back.”
2. Give yourself a massage in the shower
Why: Massage increases circulation, relieves tired muscles, helps you to detox, and nourishes your skin. Plus, tending to your body with affection can have a positive impact on our mental health.
Use your morning wash to lavish some extra love on your tired body and bring a little taste of mindful massage to your morning.
Listen to the sound of the water as you step into the shower. Notice how it feels on your skin. Delight all of your senses with a delicious-smelling body wash or moisturiser. For full sensation, try a vegan loofah from Peace With the Wild, or a bamboo soap bag from All Natural Soap. And for a post-shower boost, Bloom Remedies make gorgeous organic body oils to apply to your skin. I use their face cream every day as another 30 second self care ritual.
As you massage your body, notice where you’re aching. Give yourself some special attention in those areas. Bring your attention to how it feels to be massaged – and to be the one massaging. Remind yourself that you are worthy of gentle touch every day.
3. Turn your morning cuppa into a meditative ritual
Why: Meditation reduces stress, helps us focus, lowers blood pressure, improves self-awareness, and helps us sleep better.
Instead of turning the kettle on and racing off to do something else, pause and use this time to create your own tea ceremony, inspired by Japan’s Zen meditation rituals.
Choose a special mug, and quiet your mind as you wait for the kettle to boil. Pouring the hot water into your cup, bring your attention to the steam, to the changing colour of the water. Simply observe the many tiny beautiful details of this process. As your drink steeps, allow the other thoughts that enter your mind to pass on through.
As you warm your hands on your cup, you might like to visualise your drink as a gift of warmth, peace and harmony.
4. Go for a mental swim
Why: Making time for simple mindful activities lowers stress, supports us to stay calm, be more present, release guilt and judgement. It can also allow us to feel more self compassion.
You might not have the time to head to the sea right now, but you can sit down with your cuppa and soak it up – by drawing yourself a Sea Soul Blessings mindfulness card. Each day’s sea-themed message awakens your ‘blue mind’, bringing calm and a clearer focus.
Once you’ve chosen your card, take a moment to consider how you feel about the message it holds. And use these feelings as another tool to check in with yourself – What do you need today? And how can you get that for yourself?
Starting a regular practice of drawing an inspirational card every morning can gently retrain your brain – helping you to shift unhelpful thoughts, find compassion for yourself, and make positive changes in your life. You might even be able to hear the seagulls…
5. Say thank you (3 mins)
Why: Practicing gratitude regularly makes us feel more positive, forgiving and generous, gives us a stronger sense of self worth and improves our relationships.
Being grateful is a gift we offer to others – but it’s also a gift to ourselves. Before you head off to tackle the next important thing on your list, take a moment to leave a love note on the fridge. Or text someone to thank them for something they bring to your life.
Alternatively, you could pause to make a list of three things that you’re grateful for today. These don’t have to be something huge – it might simply be the fact that you have a bed to roll around in, teabags in the house, and maybe even an exotic loofah of your very own…
The more you practice gratitude, the easier it becomes – just like self care in the morning.
Keep It Up
We all need and deserve self care. Especially when we’re busy.
The more we take time to look after ourselves, the easier it becomes.
Eventually these little rituals simply become part of our usual morning routine – and inspire us to stretch towards the next self care challenge – maybe a whole twenty minutes next time…?
Pippa Best is the founder of Sea Soul Blessings. By creating simple transformative tools that combine mindfulness, self compassion and nature – and investing directly in environmental projects – Sea Soul Blessings supports sea-lovers to change our own lives, and the world around us, for the better.