Years ago while raising young children, I made a simple choice that changed my life. As the mother of twin girls, I quickly learned how little of each day would be my own. I learned that a feeling or good idea could easily fade from my mind between the spilled milk episode and the tantrum over the wrong color cup.
One night, not long after my daughters began sleeping, I decided to set my alarm for 5 am. And ever since that morning, I've been rising (and shining) early.
The morning has become my time to be — to think fully and feel at ease. This is time where I can nurture and nourish myself, so I can focus on my dreams and goals — as well as those of my daughters.
Of course, rising early isn't always the popular option. Waking up at 5 am takes effort. But it is a simple action that literally gives your days more time (personal time, at that). It breathes new life into our really busy days.
Once we commit to waking up early, there's another part of the puzzle: what do we do with this unusual window of quiet time? We need to find quiet activities that will allow others to sleep, while also being productive for us, a way to start the day "on the right side of the bed."
Here are 5 of my favorite morning rituals for all of the busy moms out there...
1. Meditate on what you've always wanted to do — but haven't.
This ritual allows you to get in the habit of setting intentions for your time, and exploring your creativity. Devote a few minutes to think about and engage in one activity you never make time for at other moments of the day. This could include any knitting project, reading or writing.
If and when you decide to implement this ritual, you might start simply by tapping into what it is you might like to do, even without initially introducing the activity itself. Meditate on your passions. Use your imagination, and use this mental space to step outside your box (at least in your thoughts). Then, eventually, you might spend your morning ritual time engaging in whatever activity you choose.
2. Get physical.
Being healthy is hard work, especially when there is little time to make it happen. This morning ritual puts your daily exercise first and foremost in your list of priorities. But like #1, you can begin by using your morning time to set your intentions. In this case, begin by simply breathing and honoring your intention to do physical activity in the morning. Be patient with yourself.
When you ultimately begin doing the ritual itself, note that you can start with exercise as simple as a 10 minute walk around the block. The morning is also a great time to practice yoga or more formal meditation.
3. Be creative with color.
If you feel a sense of inspiration and excitement first thing in the morning, you are bound to smile all day long. What's one simple way to do this? Color!
Bring out your doodle materials — pads, colored pencils, paint and brushes, colored thread and your sewing machine. Finding a simple way to be creative and add a splash of color to your morning is sure to bring a quick happiness boost.
4. Get in touch with greenery.
Being one with your natural surroundings is almost always an instant mood-booster. Stepping outside to garden or watch for birds is a fast and effective way to bring a great start to your day.
5. Dance with yourself!
Dancing to soft music is a subtle activity, but one with powerful effects (it can be done rather quietly, too). Clear out some space the night before to make room for some hip-opening moves.
Sway, nod your head, tap your feet — whatever! Just use this time to be with your body, have fun and connect with yourself.