If like most of us, you find yourself rushing through the working week in a blur, you most likely breathe a sigh of relief when the weekend rolls around. But are you making the most of it?
Have you ever wondered if you should have a morning routine, but can’t find the time? Do you wish you could just hit the pause button and reset, allowing the stresses and strains of the week to melt away?
If this is you, then you’d undoubtedly benefit from creating a slow morning routine for the weekend.
I confess, I have fallen off the Monday to Friday morning routine wagon recently, I’m not gonna lie… there have been times when having a strong, daily morning routine has absolutely saved me. Early rising rituals can help you feel in control, more productive, healthier and more energetic.
But as I mentioned in my post on morning routines:
A slow shift
I believe there’s a certain ebb and flow to life’s cycles, and I am by no means immune to phases where less action and more rest is called for. Listening to our bodies is an essential part of the balance. Rising early every day can be wonderful, and I still stand by my earlier post, as I know the tide will turn and again I will crave an energising early start. But recently I have been leaning towards a slower morning ritual. This can, of course, be performed whenever suits – so if you are an early bird (or aspiring to be so) then this is a beautifully serene way to begin your day every day. If you can’t bring yourself to rise daily at an hour that allows for a slower start, then this is a beautiful habit to work into your weekend, a weekly reset to set you up for the week ahead.
I’m a big advocate of slow living. Connecting to the world and being present in the moment is the sincerest way I can think to honour myself and my time on earth. By choosing to start my morning slowly I feel I am setting a pace by which to measure the rest of my day. A gentle nudge and reminder of what is important.
Allow yourself the time, even if only once a week, to spend the morning leaning into your experience, savouring your time, not rushing through it to the next thing on your to-do list.
Pause. Breathe. Feel. Be.
When you allow yourself to be present, to slow your pace and connect to your inner world, you start to create a space to slip into which you can return to again and again, whatever the rest of the week has in store for you.
Ideas for slow starts
Don’t set an alarm
Rise when your body is rested and you naturally awaken. You could consider sleeping with the curtains open to allow the soft morning light to slowly rouse you. Sleeping and waking with the sun is wonderful for helping to reset your circadian rhythms.
Make a warm drink
Focus on the act of making. Of busying your hands. Honour the moment, expressing gratitude for a new day. Brew your coffee with freshly ground beans, or make Turmeric Golden milk. Aysegul from foolproofliving.com has a great post on the benefits of this drink, along with 3 different ways of making it. Sip it slowly and appreciatively, linger on the flavours.
Connect to your senses
Sit in silence and listen to the birdsong or sounds of your neighbourhood. Allow your senses to connect to your surroundings as fully as you can. Feel the warmth of the mug in your hands, smell the aroma rising from within, listen to all the sounds around you, really pay attention to that first sip – the first flavour of the day. Look around you, notice everything that is blue. Then do it again, this time maybe searching for only the things in the shadows, or perhaps those in a sunbeam. The point is to notice things. Really study where you are and activate your senses.
Take some time to record some thoughts in a journal. You could try morning pages, a process where you write about whatever comes to mind for 3 pages, without editing or second-guessing yourself. (Liz from becrumbled.com has an in-depth post on why morning pages rock if you’re interested in this journalling technique). Alternatively, you could simply record what you are grateful for today, or what you are looking forward to.
Tend your garden
I mean this literally and metaphorically. If you have plants (and you really should!) then water them. Take the time to appreciate the clean air they provide. Speak to them, nourish them, be grateful for life and growth.
But also, become aware of your own, inner garden:
Consider yourself as a landscape, what grows within? What seeds have you sown with your thoughts and actions, and how have you tended to this inner growth? Is your garden wild, vibrant and blooming? Clipped, neat and cultivated? Or maybe tangled and abandoned. And which “garden” would you prefer?
“Your life is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds, if your life isn’t awesome, you’ve been watering the weeds”
Are there areas you have been neglecting? Are you watering weeds?
Cook a nourishing breakfast
The most important meal of the day! Whatever your pattern Monday to Friday, there can be no excuse for not making the most of your morning meal at the weekend (or whatever your usual day off is if you don’t work Mon – Fri) Plan ahead and source what you need to make your favourite morning meal. Fresh mushroom omelette with crusty bread, fluffy pancakes with fresh fruit and maple syrup, a Full English – whatever it is that speaks to your senses.
Think hearty, delicious and filling, to be eaten slowly and savoured. Too often we rush down our meals, without taking the time to truly taste what we are eating. (I am currently travelling through France, and the attitude to food here is inspiring! Everywhere seems close for at least 2 hours in the middle of the day, a stark contrast to the 30-minute lunch breaks we are used to back home!)
You could even arrange to meet up with friends and go out for breakfast or brunch. Checking in and spending time with loved ones is just as nourishing for the soul as food is for the body.
A slow and gentle series of stretches awakens the body and fills it with subtle energy.
Try Yoga with Adriene ‘Morning Yoga’:
Even just spending 5 minutes lying down with your legs up against the wall will relieve stress and tensions and encourage deep relaxation.
I personally like to start every day with a deep lungful of fresh air. Open your window and breathe in the world around you. I do this before all the other items suggested. If you only manage this much it could change your life! But ideally, actually get outdoors. Go out into the world, go for a walk. Apply the same sense of being, of connecting, that we discussed with regards to awakening the senses, to your walk. Be present, pay attention to the familiarity of your local environment, then see what things you can spot which you hadn’t previously noticed.
Take a bath
Bathe or have a shower, using your favourite cleansing products, allow the water to ease your muscles and soak away your stresses. The healing and therapeutic properties of water should not be overlooked. Sometimes the simplest acts are the most powerful.
Starting your day with any or all of the above ideas can help boost your mood, reset your system, realign your intentions and just put you in touch with yourself. Make time to do this for yourself at least once a week, or more if time allows!
How do you like to start your day?