“How you start your day is how you live your day, and how you live your day is how you live your life.” Morning rituals give you a chance to set the tone for your day. Starting your day off with familiarity and calmness leads to a state of inner peace and harmony, which will carry throughout your day and impact upon how you respond to any later scenarios or stressors. I may even go as far to say that by incorporating morning rituals into your routine may even cure your need for a coffee buzz!
This following article will be split over 2 posts as it is quite lengthy and I feel you will benefit more from the info over 2 days rather than one big chunk. Today I will introduce you to Oil pulling, Dry Body Brushing, Hot Towel Scrub, Morning exercise and Affirmations. The next post will introduce you to the morning rituals and benefits of Bentonite Clay, Showering, Meditation, Juicing or Smoothies for Breakfast, Warm Water variation, and Journaling, check it out here!
Let’s start off with some visual imagery. Which of the following mornings would you prefer: Snoozing the alarm, rushing about in a frenzy at the last minute to get ready, grabbing a piece of toast to shove down your gob as you run for your car, only to find out later in the day that you dressed yourself like crap and you’ve forgotten something as you frantically left the house (not necessarily depicting “I’m in control of how I want my life,” nor does it mirror the kindness and love that you should be giving to yourself on a daily basis). Or would you rather get up as soon as your alarm goes off (or even earlier!) and calmly progressing through your morning at your own pace, perhaps having a quick read, meditating, exercising, planning how your day will unfold, getting to prepare and then sit down to a healthy and nutritious breakfast (and preparing lunch for work if you hadn’t the night before). It’s a no-brainer which scenario you would rather choose and I’m sure at some stage in your life you can relate to having experienced similar situations to the above, and saw how it can affect your day either negatively or positively.
So why do we not make time for morning rituals? Sometimes we prefer to sleep-in, and that is OK because sometimes our bodies are telling us they need more sleep and you should indulge in this guilt free (because guilt is counterproductive to your state of wellness). However when your sleep-in becomes a regular thing, it not only loses that specialness that comes with a cheeky extra 10 minutes of snooze time, but it can impact negatively on your sleep cycles as well as on your daily functioning.
Because of the above, I want you to try a new experiment. I takes at least 21 days to make a habit stick, so for the next 21 days I want you to get up as soon as your alarm goes off. No snoozing. No extra lying about in bed. Get up early enough to allow yourself to set your intentions and rituals for each day. Some days will be tougher than others, and some days you may still not get everything done. That happens and that is OK. Just try and repeat the process for 21 days and notice the positive changes happen.
Now, what should or could you incorporate into your morning rituals (learn even more here)? The other day I posted about starting the day with warm water and lemon. If you tried it and it worked for you stick with it. Below are some other options. Pick 2-3 to start with and see how your body responds. Pick ones that resonate with you and that you feel would be a welcome addition to your morning. Feel free to experiment with additional ones in following weeks to come as you start getting more confident and have your morning rituals in place and feel like you could add others (OR incorporate them into your night time rituals).
If you find some mornings you are really stuck for time and getting anything done seems impossible, then it is time to multi-task (however do not do this all the time as it will not give you the best practice). For example, you could use your shower time to do a quick 5 minute oil pulling, whilst repeating affirmations in your head and then visualizing how you want your day to pan out. It may not be the most relaxing morning as you multitask, but hey its better than nothing! Also, those of you who are beautiful mummies, expect frenzy sometime and truly savor when you get to have those few precious moments to yourself to really focus on just you. It is not selfish to work on yourself. In order for you to be present and be the best mother and wife/partner you can be, you need to look after yourself too. Do not forget that you are important, and do not put yourself at the end of your list.
Oil Pulling is an Ayurvedic (ancient Indian alternative medicine) ritual where you take a tablespoon of high quality, cold-pressed, organic vegetable oil in your mouth and swish it around for 20 minutes. It is believed that this simple practice can help to rid the body of toxins, improve dental health and hygiene, and has been thought to cure and prevent a variety of illnesses and diseases, as well as hormonal disorders. Some of the other amazing benefits include:
- Brighter and whiter teeth
- Healthier gums
- A prevention for bad breath, and strengthens the jaw
- Clearer skin Weight Loss
- Detoxification aid
- Improves the lymphatic system
- Increased energy
- Better sleep
- A clearer mind and thought processes
- Clearer sinuses and helps to alleviate allergies and headaches
- Regulated menstrual cycles and an improvement in PMS symptoms
- Prevents dryness of the mouth, throat, and lips
To do: Take about 1 tablespoon of oil (I find that coconut is the best as it is the easiest taste to get used to) in your mouth and swish it around for 20 minutes to get the maximal affect. This can be quite tiring for the mouth so gradually build it up from a few minutes, to 5, to 10, to eventually 20 minutes. Sit down, read, have a shower, journal, make your lunch or brekkie, just do whatever you like in the meantime. You can also add a drop or two of oregano oil (as it has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties) or a drop of peppermint oil to hide the taste of the oil and give it the refreshing taste To get the most out of your oil pulling practice, do this first thing of a morning on an empty stomach and always spit out the oil when you are finished (as it is full of nasty toxins after the swishing process) into the bin or down the toilet (doing so down the drain may cause the oil to solidify and cause blockages as coconut oil solidifies below 18 degrees) and then brush your teeth to remove any remaining toxins.
Dry body brushing
The skin is the largest organ of the body, which is why we should take super special care of it! Dry body brushing is a simple process of using a dry brush on dry skin and scrubbing off the dead skin cells to help improve circulation and the body’s lymphatic system. This practice also helps to set you up for a positive day as you have consciously started the day by taking care of yourself. Some of the other benefits include:
- Removal of dead skin cells, leads to brighter, smoother, and firmer skin, and a reduction in ingrown hairs
- Improved lymphatic system and circulation, removal of toxins, reduction in cellulite, softens hard fat deposits, and can be helpful for weight loss
- Reduced muscle tension De-clogs pores Energizing and a form of stress relief Massage and self-care practice that feels nice Can help with body image issues
To do: Perform on dry skin by using a long handled natural bristle brush and working in gentle circular and smooth strokes towards the heart, beginning at the ankles for improved lymphatic flow. Be gentle over sensitive areas, and never brush over sunburnt skin, inflamed areas, or over sores/cuts. Shower after this to remove the dead skin cells, and follow up with your favourite moisturizer or oil (such as coconut oil).
Hot Towel Scrub
This morning ritual (can also be done of an evening) can be done before or after your shower. It is similar to dry body brushing however it uses a warm wash cloth dipped in hot water. This practice is designed to make you more in tune with your body and will help with strengthening your self-love practices for your body. Some of the other benefits include:
- Improved lymphatic system and circulation
- Removal of toxins
- Reduction in cellulite
- Softens hard fat deposits and potential for weight loss
- Reduced muscle tension
- Energizing and a form of stress relief
- Massage and self-care practice
- Can help with body image issues
To do: Fill the sink with hot water (can add some essential oils to the water also; try lavender for a calming and relaxing scent), dip towel in and wring out excess water. Then use the warm wash cloth to scrub all over your body anywhere from two to 20 minutes (depending on time restraints). Start with small areas of the body and scrub until the skin is warm or slightly pink before moving on to the next part. Reheat the towel as needed by placing back into the hot water and wringing it out. Do this outside of the shower as doing this act on its own strengthens the emotional and loving bond you will get with your body.
Starting your day with exercise is the perfect way to make the conscious decision to nourish and look after your body. If you cannot fit a full exercise session in before work or you aren’t a morning person, then perhaps try doing a small amount of movement. You could do a quick 5 minute yoga or stretching sequence to loosen the body up and stretch the spine out, go for a short walk around the block to get some fresh air (bonus if you get to take your pooch for some bonding time before you head out for the day), or a few reps of your favourite exercise to get the blood flowing and endorphins going. It’s all about actively choosing to look after you!
Affirmations help to restructure the way we think. Basically the theory behind using affirmations to create positive change is that “you are what you think.” Think positive things about yourself and you will see positive changes. Think bad and negative things about yourself and you will feel and become these negative thoughts. Affirmations can be used to break negative thought patterns and can be used as part of self-love practices (what this week is all about!). Every morning I want you to wake up and think positively. For example upon rising think “I am going to make the most of today,” “I am great,” “I am going to exercise today,” “Nothing will get in my way of being the best I can be,” “I love myself,” “I am beautiful,” ”my body is health,” “I am full of love, energy, and beauty,” or “I can do whatever I put my mind to.” These are just examples. Use your own intuition with what you think will benefit you the most and will help improve you day. Use them daily upon rising and throughout your day to improve your mood.
What do you think? Do you have any other morning rituals? Please share below and if you like this share via the social media tabs below