5 Steps to Create a Better Day
Today started at 5 am. It was one of those days where your eyes pop open and you are instantly and fully awake. This morning there was no lethargy and I knew it was time to get out of bed and start my morning ritual.
Morning Ritual for Greater Self-Awareness and Self-Care
One step in that ritual is tongue scraping. This is an oral hygiene practice that has been practiced for centuries in Africa, India, Arabia, South America. Ayurveda, a practice of traditional Indian medicine, advocated this practice as part of a daily routine to remove toxins from the body.
The second step in my ritual is to drink a mug of room temperature water. The body is the most receptive to hydration just after waking. This also helps to continue the detoxification process of the body, and aids the digestive system.
The third step in my ritual is to practice asana and pranayama (this does not always happen, but it is the goal). Asana and pranayama are two limbs of the eight limb path of yoga.
These two practices help to purify the body. The practice of yoga in its totality serves to bring the mind, body, and spirit into unity.
The fourth step in my ritual is to read a few pages of a book that encourages spiritual or self development. Recently, I have been listening to a number of audiobooks. (Being a mom of a very active 4 year old leaves little time for reading actual books!) I have also been picking up hard copy books and reading a few paragraphs each day, just because I love the smell and the feel of holding a book in my hands. Call me old school. (For a list of the books I have been reading shoot me a message. I would love to hear from you).
The fifth step in my ritual is to journal, with pen and paper. This is a technique I was introduced to in the book, The Artist Way- A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, by Julia Cameron. The concept is stream of consciousness writing. This is unedited, thought by thought, just write as fast as you can and try to capture every shifting, non-fully formed, thought.
The technique has been a very powerful tool in my life over the years. Especially during heavy emotional seasons, when healing and getting to the root of the emotional upset is needed. It is a way for my heart to communicate with my head. I find that I often lead with my analytical and logical side and that I often silence and cut off my heart and my creative side. Mostly because I am stuck in a cycle of adulting, and I feel like I really don’t have time to be bothered with such nonsense. The reality is, I really don’t have time NOT to be bothered, because when I shut my heart down, and I refuse to listen, my heart will find other ways to communicate.
My heart's mode of expression after repression is usually through a full blown temper tantrum. If you have a toddler or preschooler, or if you have ever been in a grocery store, on an airplane or basically anywhere where a toddler who is not getting their way is, you completely understand what I mean.
This tantrum of the heart may express itself as intense anger and irritation at seemingly innocuous things. Other times, it is expressed through intense, non localized pain and inflammation, that also causes intense irritation. Other times, it gets expressed through excessive behaviors. Like eating whole bags of Trader Joe’s Organic Kettle Potato Chips, (hey, at least it is organic!), or drinking too many glasses of vino, or watching a whole season of Mozart in the Jungle on Amazon Prime (because it is AWESOME). You get the point.
The ELEPHANT in the room
Now let’s address the elephant in the room. When I am feeling extremely low, or in intense all over pain, or severely irritated and anxious, how do I discipline myself to follow my 5 step ritual for self-care? The answer is, it is not easy. Some days I just do one of these things, some days I can only shoot out a text to by support team. Some days, I only have the energy to get to my yoga class, and let myself just go through the motions, knowing that just showing up, is a HUGE WIN!
This is a journey. We are all on a path. One of the things that keeps me going is the knowledge that I am not alone in this. There are millions of people who are struggling with emotional waves that can sometimes knock them over when it crests. Some of the best, most encouraging and supportive moments have come in times when people in my yoga classes, or at my local park, share that they are on a similar journey as I am, and we are able to have a meeting of the heart. I know for me, I always feel more connected, uplifted, and integrated in these moments.
So let’s keep this conversation going. Please share your self- care rituals with me.