For any ritual to become habitual, it has to be something you look forward to and consistently enjoy. Experiment until you find your groove and switch it up with the seasons, weather, and how much time you have.
Here’s a buffet of 20 steps for morning and evening bliss that will drastically change your life. Remember, take what you like, and leave the rest!
The Morning Buffet:
1. Practice gratitude.
Starting the day with gratitude and intention will make your entire morning better and seep into the rest of your day. (This works great in the evening, too.) Write down five things for which you are grateful. It seems simple, but it’s a game changer. Focus on the good; abundance breeds abundance.
2. Try oil pulling.
Sometimes I oil pull, sometimes I don’t. I used to be real dogmatic about this, beating myself up if I didn’t do it for one day. I try to make sure I do it at least a few times a week, but I don’t stress if I’m traveling or have to be up super early.
3. Drink warm lemon water.
Hydration first thing in the morning will drastically change your day. We all know we should drink water, but we’re busy and we forget. So at least hydrate in the morning—that way if all else fails later in the day, at least you’ll have done that.
Taking a few moments to cleanse the mind can be as beneficial as taking a shower. Perhaps just listen to a favorite song, close your eyes, and breathe in the morning. Maybe it’s one minute, maybe it’s 20, just do it.
5. Get moving!
Moving your body first thing in the morning will be energizing and signal to your body it’s time to be awake. This doesn’t need to be a tough workout each day; it could be as simple as a few yoga poses, some stretching or twists, a brisk walk outside acquainting yourself to the temperature of the air, or just dancing to your favorite song.
6. Eat breakfast.
Make breakfast a mindful practice regardless of what you’re eating. Eat whatever you feel like, but take the time to sit and enjoy it, because nourishing yourself for a successful day is key. Eating on-the-go is unavoidable sometimes, but as much as possible take time to be present and enjoy.
7. Get dressed.
Sounds simple, but for me putting on real clothes (not just yoga clothes), even if you’re working from home will automatically make you feel more put together and help you be more productive.
8. Make your bed like you're Martha Stewart.
Really get into it with the throw-pillows and enjoying every little part of it. I do this every morning and this practice reminds me everyday to approach everything with a “beginner’s mind.” The sets the tone for the rest of my day and I try to infuse that same intention into every act.
Getting the thoughts you wake up with out of your mind clears space so you have room for new creative ones. Whether it’s fears you woke up with, an abundance of ideas, or a funky dream, getting it out on paper is simple yet revolutionary. The Artist’s Way suggests three pages every morning, just write and see what comes out.
10. Make your first task a creative one.
When you begin your work day, try to start with the task that you’re looking forward to the most. Perhaps sending an email to someone you’re mentoring or answering comments on your blog.
The Evening Buffet:
By getting ahead, packing your lunch, setting out your clothes or creating a to-do list, you’ll set yourself up for success and not have to rush in the morning, leaving time for other things (ie. from the above list).
2. Light candles.
There is something really soothing and relaxing about candles that can really calm us down, and by dimming the lights, it signals to your body that it's bedtime.
3. Give yourself an electronic curfew.
Set a time a few hours before bed when you won’t check email, Instagram, or even TV. In addition to the blue light from those gadgets being stimulating and messing with your sleep patterns, it’s so easy to get sucked into work or emails if you’re on your phone, which can cause extra stress or keep you up late.
4. Treat yourself to a late night snack.
This can be a good idea, especially if you had an early dinner and it’s a few hours before bed. Going to bed starving is never fun. Just have something that digests super easily; chia pudding is the perfect evening snack and I’ve even read that chia has been known to induce lucid dreaming. (Nice!)
5. Listen to music.
Music can calm you down or amp you up. Choose the right tunes, something relaxing that you love and that will wind you down. I listen to the same album nightly and it's a signal to my body that it’s evening and time to chill-out.
While watching TV can be super-stimulating and may negatively affect your dreams, reading a book is an ideal way to fill the hours before bed. Preferably something so you’re not thinking too hard, but able to mindlessly enjoy the writing and get lost in a good story.
7. Make washing up like a spa date.
I used to dread getting ready for bed and I'd put it off until the last moment, until I changed my mind and decided to enjoy this routine. Now I brush my teeth with intention, cleanse my face in a soothing, massaging way with beautiful smelling natural products, and put a warm towel over my skin, which simultaneously pulls out toxins and calms the mind. On some nights, taking a warm bath or shower will really do the trick.
8. Make a nourishing nightcap.
End the evening with a bedtime tonic sans alcohol and caffeine, perhaps right in your bed. Enjoy some warm water with lemon, ginger (helps with digestion) and cayenne, chamomile tea, or warm almond milk with vanilla, cinnamon, and stevia. Something you like that will warm you up and calm you down.
9. Write a To-Feel list rather than a To-Do list.
To-do lists are overwhelming! If you want to feel whelmed with intention, excitement, and childlike joy, try ending the evening by writing down how you want to feel the following day. Just write down the first word that comes to mind: loved, supported, happy, joyful, productive, spirited, intuitive.