Switch to 'positive mode' before you get up, and the new day feels a lot lighter. How to do that? Find the morning ritual that works for you.
There are days when you don’t have to make any effort for it. You wake up feeling great, well rested, ready for a new day. And then there are days when the alarm clock rings far too early and you jump out of bed tight as a drum. OK, it happens, such is life sometimes. But a ‘false start’ like this affects your entire day. That is why it’s a good idea to create your own morning ritual, a way to make getting up as pleasant as possible. It might not be feasible every day, but if you have a ritual that works for you, it gives you something to hold onto. Perhaps you’ll need to set the clock a little earlier, but it’s worth your while – trust us.
Tip 1: Good preparation
A good start of the day starts the night before. It’s wise to shut off the television or the computer some time before you go to sleep; the bright lights of the screen disrupt the production of melatonine, the ‘sleeping hormone’. The best time to go to bed, is when you feel that you’re tired enough to fall asleep (which isn’t necessarily when the film ends!).
Tip 2: Waking up to daylight
Some say the same goes for getting up: the best time is when you’ve just waken up naturally (unless that is at 2 AM, of course). The time depends on your week routine and your commitments, but waking up with nature has its advantages. According to the ancient Indian medicine system Ayurveda, the lively vata energy is at its highest during the hours before sunrise. By getting up at that time, you can use the energy.
Don’t like the sound of your alarm clock? You can teach yourself to wake up without a clock. Just before bed time, resolve to wake up at a certain time – it’s easiest to use the same time for a while, even if you don’t necessarily have to get up at that time every day. To be sure, you can set your alarm fifteen minutes after that time (for the time being). Whatever you do, don’t use the snooze button. The restless catnaps in between beeps usually does more harm than good.
Tip 3: Relax
Starting the day as soon as you’re awake is the motto – but do it the relaxed way. It helps to be in a comfortable environment, if the first thing you see in the morning is a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a picture of a loved one or an inspiring painting. Perhaps you love waking up to music, or you like to listen to the twittering and singing of birds. You can do a couple of simple stretches to warm up your body in a gentle way - while you're still in bed.
Tip 4: Meditate for a few minutes
The peace and quiet of the morning is a good time for meditation. Together with your body, your mind wakes up. Our thinking machine gets into worrying mode quickly: what’s on the programme for today? Meditating keeps your mind calm and balanced. It doesn’t have to take long, a couple of minutes make a big difference.
This, too, is possible in bed. Focus on what you want to achieve or experience today: love, harmony, rest, decisiveness, energy, cooperation. Think happy thoughts! By meditating, your body produces endorphins, and that’s exactly what we’re looking for: happy hormones.
Tip 5: Hugging and moving
Another way of getting your body to produce endorphins is physical exercise (and touching: giving your lover a big morning hug is not a bad idea at all).
According to Ayurveda, kapha’s energy takes over as soon as it’s light outside. Among other things, kapha is about using your muscles, so in the East, the morning is seen as the perfect time of day to exercise.
Tip 6: Clean and content
After that, it’s time for cleansing. Brush your teeth, have a nice shower or a bath. An ayurvedic custom is to rinse your mouth with some olive oil or sesame oil for two or three minutes (don’t swallow, spit it out afterwards), to strengthen your teeth.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, you can give your digestion a boost by drinking a glass of lukewarm water before breakfast, preferably with a little lemon juice. Between seven and nine, your stomach has its peak moment of the day – it’s the ultimate time for a healthy breakfast. Important: take your time, don’t gobble your food standing at the kitchen counter. Sit at the table to eat and do it mindfully.
Photo: Guillaume Bolduc