8 Mindful Ways To Start Your Day
Here are eight ways to switch off autopilot and start living each day with intent
Don't Reach For Your Phone
We're all guilty of it. Our alarm goes off, and we reach for our phones to see a sea of notifications we've received overnight. For many, it's instinctive to respond to emails or messages immediately.
It starts with checking our notifications, then browsing social media, then catching up on the news. Before you know it, your brain is dealing with information overload before it's had a chance to wake up.
We're here to remind you that the world can wait.
We suggest turning your phone on airplane mode overnight to avoid a flurry of morning notifications, or better yet, leave your phone in a different room and invest in a good old-fashioned alarm clock.
Create A Ritual
Put on some music and work through your routine mindfully, taking the time to enjoy the sensations of cool water and luxurious products against your skin. Indulge in a light face massage, even - there are plenty of easy-to-follow tutorials on YouTube.
Eat With Intent
We're not saying to indulge in a leisurely hour-long breakfast every morning (though if you can, that's great, and we envy you), but similar to your skincare routine, breakfast should be enjoyed as an act of self-care rather than something to be rushed.
Take your time to savour your food and drink, giving thought to what you are putting into your body and practicing gratitude for the nourishment you're receiving.
The practice of slowing down and becoming conscious of our actions goes far beyond grooming and eating. Ultimately, it helps us break the habit of moving through our days mindlessly, and allows us to begin living with intent.
Get Out In Nature
Here in Hong Kong we're lucky to have a myriad of natural landscapes, from islands and beaches to beautiful mountains and forest. Better still, they're usually no more than 15-20 minutes drive from most neighbourhoods.
Studies have proven that spending time in nature reduces feelings of stress, fear and anger, while increasing feelings of joy and euphoria. So take advantage and take a moment to ground yourself in nature, even if it's just a breezy stroll through your local park.
Try to stay off your phone, and just observe the world waking up around you while taking deep, conscious breaths... which brings us to our next point.
When was the last time you paid attention to how you breathe? It's one of our most vital functions, yet so many of us breathe on autopilot, often leading to shallow or inconsistent breaths, which can increase stress and anxiety over time.
Taking the time to become aware of your breath and taking deep controlled breaths is a great way to create a sense of grounding first thing in the morning. This will help to increase focus, clarity and confidence.
Wake Your Body Up
This can be in the form of your favourite workout, or if you're not big on exercising in the morning, a simple body scan will do. A body scan is a gentle meditative practice, and a great way to activate and connect with your body.
Here's how to do it: Close your eyes, and use your breath to tense and then release individual muscle groups and body parts. The easiest way is to start with your face and move down to your toes.
Take a deep inhale, then as you slowly exhale, completely relax the eyelids. Repeat this technique with different areas of your body: cheeks, jaw, neck, shoulders, chest, abdomen, arms, hands, buttocks, legs, feet.
Mornings can be stressful as we run through the tasks we need to do, the conversations we will have, the plans we've made et cetera.
Rather than throwing ourselves into "to do", it's important to remember just "to be". Allow yourself a small window of time to write down a list of three to five things that you are grateful for, or three to five things that inspire you. Heck, do both.
It's a small but powerful tool for shifting your mind into a positive and motivated headspace.
Get A Head Start
Sometimes, starting the day right begins the night before. This can be something as simple as preparing your food for work, choosing tomorrow's outfit or writing a to-do list of tasks for the day.
Being prepared means freeing your mind from having to make these decisions in the morning, and therefore allowing yourself the time and space to start the day as you please.
Also, if you've had a few drinks, be sure to drink plenty of water before bed, and maybe even have a light snack so you can wake up feeling decent the next morning. It's hard to practice mindfulness when your head is pounding.