The Ritual.

Let me preface this by saying, I am not a morning person. I need at least a cup of coffee and ideally a cup of tea before I have to become too involved in any major tasks of the day. Sadly my work doesn’t always allow me to give in to my night owl tendencies and sometimes forces me to join those of the pre-sunrise. In that I always struggled.

Just because I don’t like the harrowing sound of a shrill alarm ringing before the sun has even burst across the horizon though, doesn’t mean I can’t modify my mornings to make it a little less of a begrudging awakening each morning.

Enter the ritual.

The time of morning I have to wake up varies, which wreaks havoc on my body clock. I always envied those in the world who could awaken at 5am and immediately be a functioning and productive human being, oh how I envied them. So I made a change, and dare I say, I’m nearly one of those early morning functioning humans… Nearly.

These days my morning goes a little differently. Gone are the days of snoozing my alarm 6 or 7 times, only to wake up in a panic because I’m running 45 minutes late. Actually, gone are the mornings where I had to set my alarm 45 minutes early because I knew I would snooze the alarm 6 or 7 times. No longer do I skip a morning meal that would tide me over for the day. No more do I wake up and jump in the shower, only to jump out as soon as possible. Gone are the days of not having time to make my morning coffee in peace, and instead having to spend $5 at the local coffee shop on the way to work.

It all seems a lifetime ago when my mornings were filled with stress, panic and rush. Thinking back makes me feel so much more at ease with my new peaceful, purposeful and steady mornings. No more being late, no more being worried.

Enough babbling about the past, how did it change?

Quite simply, I always get up early these days – regardless of necessity. For the simple reason that I have the ritual to perform. The best part is that the ritual only adds 20-30 minutes to my mornings – the time I would normally spend dragging myself in and out of sleep with the aid of a ‘snooze’ button. Let me just say – The snooze button is a terrible addition to an alarm.

My mornings are now simple. I set my alarm and hour and a half before I need to wake up – because I don’t like having to rush; life is too short to run everywhere in a panic.

The first step of the ritual is out of bed and into the spare room for 10 minutes of restorative yoga. Personally I use the “Down Dog” app which has always been brilliant and easy to follow as well as a peaceful experience. In 10 minutes of the “restorative” setting I get to do a variety of simple stretches, without too much exertion, to wake me up gradually as well as warm my body up, no more hobbling around the house in the morning.

Once I have finished my yoga I start phase 2 – Meditation. Currently I am undertaking mindfulness meditation through the “Headspace” app. Another brilliant and welcoming app for the beginner. This allows me to warm my mind up as well as my body; Meditation always finds a way to let me start the day in peace and happiness. In this way I can aim to start each day without the burden of any negative subject matter that may be fogging my mind.

Now in 20 minutes I have awoken my body and mind peacefully, that shrill alarm doesn’t seem so malicious as it used to. This allows me to properly wake to the day. The ritual is merely the bridge, across which I travel from the realm of sleep to the realm of wake. I make my coffee and my breakfast, walk the dog; all in high spirits. Then with my body and mind at peace and awake I can jump on my bicycle, grinning from ear to ear as I cycle to my day at work.

Because life is also to short not to have a smile on your face as you go to work.

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