Do you feel like scrolling through your Instagram or Facebook feed the moment you wake up in the mornings? Do you check your WhatsApp messages and start replying even before you have got yourself out of bed? If you have answered yes to either question, don’t worry, you are in majority. Most of us have fallen prey to the allure of social media to the extent that it is the last thing we do before shut-eye and the first thing once we wake up. The process has become mechanical, mindless. We don’t even have to think before picking up the phone from the bedside table and going through our various accounts. Thereafter, we power through our days mindlessly, eating breakfast without tasting, commuting to work without really taking in what we see on the way or even parenting without feeling.
Don’t feel bad about it, though. The idea is not to get depressed or stuck in a rut but to bring joy back into our lives by breaking free of the shackles of existing as opposed to living. There is a lot of talk going on about mindfulness these days. Everywhere you turn, you are likely to meet a new age mindful guru. I am not one of them. I am just another mum, striving to always better her parenting game like most of you. And whenever I come across something that works for me, I want to share it with you lot with the hope that you too benefit from it the way I did. If it helps even one person, I’d think of it as success.
Without further ado, lets jump into the 5 tips that help me have a more mindful morning (a more mindful day, as a result) and be more involved with my daughter:
#1 Resist Temptation
The first few days of resisting screen time as soon as you wake up will make you feel pretty uneasy. You will constantly have the urge to browse through. It’s okay. You should expect it and stay prepared with a host of other things you can do instead like going for a walk, doing some breathing exercises etc. I love to open the doors, let the natural light of the morning come in. I then go stand in the balcony and take some deep breaths. I usually also take a drink along which brings me to the next point.
#2 Drink Warm Water
Drinking warm water right after waking up is a great practice. I add a spoonful of unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar to my water and sip it, taking my time to drink it all as I practice #1 and feel the morning breeze on my face, observe the blooming flowers on my neighbour’s balcony etc.
With school runs to dash off to, offices to reach and traffic to beat, our lives are full to the brim. Being busy means stress which means we feel aches and pains more than ever. This makes light stretching in the morning very important to help ease our muscles into the daily rigmarole. Some people like to do it in bed and that works great. Personally, I like to do it out in my balcony or by a large open window. I start with facial stresses to keep my stress headaches at bay and if I am feeling up to it, I do a full body stretch too.
I wish I could say I meditate every morning. I don’t. Sometimes, Gini wakes up before I have finished drinking my water, which I do without rushing, and hence, sitting down for a meditating session becomes difficult. But I manage to do it more often than not. The goal is to do it every day because I feel so much more positive, so much more hopeful on the days when I do it. I don’t have any particular way of meditating that I want to advocate. Whatever works for you is just what you need. For me, guided meditation is the way to go and my most loved app for it is Headspace. Give it a go, you won’t be sorry.
#5 EAT a healthy breakfast
It’s not enough to just get a bowl of healthy food that will nourish your body. It is equally important, if not more, to nourish your soul as you go along. One of the easiest and best ways of doing this is through food. Whatever you are eating, don’t devour it. Don’t eat it standing by the breakfast bar. Don’t swallow it down with a large gulp of juice or milk or water. Feel the texture as you bite into it, taste the warmth or the sweetness or the sharpness and cherish it. Do it even if you have to wake up 20 minutes earlier to fit it all in.
Top tip: Try to eat breakfast within an hour of waking up and more importantly, share it with your family if you can. As you relish your breakfast, connect with your partner, talk to your kids, listen to what they have to say, tell them your plans.
Changing the set ways of life can often prove difficult. It is easy to fall back to the warm familiarities to old habits even if we know them to work against us instead of for us. It is important to keep the big picture in mind and power through the hard times anyway and soon enough, new habits are formed and we begin to feel more comfortable with these newly formed ones. So go ahead and try mindfulness for yourself in the mornings. Before you know it, you will start living it without having to put any conscious effort into it.