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Every day is different, but if you look at the most successful entrepreneurs, life coaches and “at peace” individuals, they usually have one thing locked down: their morning routine. I’ll be the first to admit - I am not a morning person. I’ve tried setting my alarm back, opening the blinds, putting my phone across the room, lots of things, but nothing has really helped me and my need of an hour in the morning to wake up.
The more I researched the more I really tried to put a routine in action and I somewhat got there after college when I started working full-time, but I wanted to take it a step further and really see if it helped. During my research I found the five things below that have helped me get to a more mindful, restful place in the morning. While I don’t do all of these every single morning, when done I always felt ready for the day, so here we go!
The Morning Pages
I briefly talked about The Morning Pages in this blog post, but wanted to dive a little deeper and talk about why I find it so useful. As a creative, it can be difficult to always tap into that creativity when I need to and usually is even harder when trying to force it. I was in a creative rut last year and needed something to push myself out of it. I wasn’t feeling inspired to paint, write or even blog - it all just felt unimportant. I was on one of my favorite blogger’s Instagram Stories and she was talking about her morning routine and how it has really changed her days. One of the components of her very specific routine is called Morning Pages.
Growing up I would go through phases where I loved journaling and then I wouldn’t touch said journal for months. What I liked about the Morning Pages was that there wasn’t a structure. You are actually not supposed to think when doing the exercise. So what is it? Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing that you do first thing in the morning for 6 weeks or as long as needed. You just write what is on your mind and can’t edit. There is no erasing, rewriting, grammar police or judging yourself for what you write down.
There are a few rules to this exercise:
Do it every day, no matter what. Even if you write “I have no idea what to write” for the entire 3 pages. Just write.
You aren’t allowed to re-read it or share it with anyone. These pages are meant just for you. Don’t hinder your process by looking back at what you wrote about previously. Just keep writing.
When I sat down to do this the first morning it was actually very difficult. I was finding myself holding back, thinking, “I shouldn’t write that”, or “ugh that’s stupid.” But that is the entire point of Morning Pages. If you’re feeling those things or doubting yourself you’re actually supposed to dive deeper and write about why you’re thinking that way. Put. It. All. On. The. Page.
The Morning Pages was created by Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, a book designed to help blocked creatives get unblocked that includes morning pages as a daily exercise to the overall project. The book has helped millions of readers to embark on a creative journey and find a deeper connection to process and purpose. Julia Cameron's novel approach guides readers in uncovering problems areas and pressure points that may be restricting their creative flow and offers techniques to free up any areas where they might be stuck, opening up opportunities for self-growth and self-discovery, including me! I’ve linked it below if you want to check it out along with my favorite pens & the best notebook ever.
Taking a Walk
This seems like a really simple idea and no-brainer, but I found it helped me get to a good head space before my day. Kollin and I used to switch off in the mornings taking Wrigley out and as much as I dreaded getting up to do it, once I was outside and thinking about something else, I always felt better (minus the polar vortex week in January- no good thoughts there lol). Taking even a few minutes to step outside, breathe in some fresh air and enjoy the quiet morning was very calming. You could use this time to walk and get coffee, grab the mail, enjoy your breakfast outside or even take your morning pages to an outside destination.
We all go through a period or several periods of life where we complain a lot. Typically, this is when we are teenagers and nothing is going right or we didn’t have enough money to go to the movies with friends that weekend and your parents are ruining your life. Sound familiar? Now that most of us are a bit older, this can happen less often, but when it does it can really impact your mental state.
I remember complaining about something at work or even the thought of having nothing to wear and I read a post online that took common “problems” people complain about like laundry, dirty dishes and sitting in traffic. The post flipped the script on looking at those things differently. For example, having piles of laundry to do means you have places to go to wear them and warm clothes in the winter. Dirty dishes means having food to eat and a full family. Sitting in traffic is usually annoying, but you have somewhere to be and usually a job to report to. These are all things to be grateful for and are easily forgotten in the busyness of life. I started writing down what I was grateful for each day during my Morning Pages and it really put into perspective how blessed I am - even on the days when all I want to do is complain.
Podcasts are not anything new to most of the population, but Kollin and I just started really listening to them this year. What I love about them is that you are actively listening. When we watch TV or are on our phone we are usually multi-tasking. I personally find that when I’m listening to a podcast, I have a greater pull to what I’m hearing and get more out of the conversation, especially when the topic is thought-provoking or inspiring. Here are some of my favorite current podcasts:
Living Fully with Mallory Ervin
A fellow Kentucky girl, Mallory grew up the oldest of 23 cousins and went on to become Miss Kentucky, runner up in Miss America and a three time contestant and runner up on The Amazing Race with her father. Living by her mantra of Living Fully, she discusses topics such as relationships, her personal journey with health, addiction, being a mom and finding happiness everyday. Truly positive and refreshing I love listening to this podcast when it comes out at the beginning of the week on Mondays as a great way to start the week.
The Skinny Confidential: Him & Her Podcast
The creator behind the blog and brand, The Skinny Confidential, Lauryn Evarts Bosstick and her husband, Michael Bosstick, team up for this funny and honest podcast revolving around wellness, business, beauty and brands. With guests including Jessica Alba, Chriselle Lim, Whitney Port of The Hills, and other lifestyle based guests, they cover a range of topics in a positive and almost brutally honest way. I’m always surprised on how a surface-level topic always dives deeper and they have really thought-provoking conversations.
Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness
As it sounds, this weekly podcast covers a range of topics on things that Jonathan is curious about including immigration, How to Find Your Voice, Why Stress is Toxic, The Difference Between Shia and Sunni Muslims. Obviously a wide variety of things to choose from, these episodes take the topics and break them down to a level that is approachable, but also informative.
This is something I started doing in 2018 and have really seen it change my outlook on things. Along with writing what I was grateful for, I would write about things I wanted to happen or things that I just needed to remind myself. When typing that I can see how our internal system of doubt would label this as a insecurity. Who needs to be reminded or told things about themselves? Shouldn’t you just know or feel it? Well, if you do then props to you, but I’d say 99% of us at least doubt ourselves once a day. Affirmations are positive statements that can help you to challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. When you repeat them often, and believe in them, you can start to make positive changes. There is a saying about this that goes, “think it into existence, write it into existence, speak it into existence, work it into existence.” Whatever your method of delivery, give it a try. I personally like thinking and writing, but if you’re the kind that likes to look in the mirror for a daily pep talk from yourself, more power to you!
These are just some of the things I’ve been doing to lead a more positive, mindful lifestyle. The more I’ve grown up the more I’ve realized the importance of our mental health and the way we approach life. There are so many more mindful practices out there and I would love to hear from you about yours or ones you want to try! Leave me a comment below letting me know what you’ve been doing or want to do. Thanks so much for reading!
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