Habit: Morning Routine

I have had a morning routine for several years now and it is probably one of the best life decisions I have ever made. I like to stay up late…at least I used to, but now I like waking up early so much that I try to avoid staying up too late. The benefits of having habits you do every morning are numerous, but here are a few.

One: You get alone time no matter what happens the rest of your day.

Moms never get privacy or alone time once everyone is awake. When I was working full time and in school full time, I would have really suffered without this morning routine. I am a firm believer that EVERYONE needs alone time and not just introverts.

Two: You are more productive.

As a new mom I didn’t think it would be possible to accomplish all I can accomplish before 7:00am. Many mornings when I finish my routine, I have time to do laundry and write blog posts, film or edit videos. When my son wakes up, it feels really good to have already addressed some things on my to do list, as well as have invested in my self care. Of course there are other mornings, especially at first when sleep was more important, but even if it took me until noon, I kept these habits up.

Three: You have time for self-care.

Busy people like new moms or full time students really have a hard time investing in self-care. I know I always put this low on my list, but I made it a goal to incorporate self-care into my morning routine. Self-care is not to be taken lightly. Audre Lorde, says that “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” What does she mean? Is massaging my shoulders or taking a bath really that serious? Well it is. Women are more stressed than men  and are often the caretakers of others, even grown men…I dare say. It is crucial to find time to care for yourself and for me the best way has been mornings. Women are usually supposed to put everyone else first, even in the most well intentioned relationships.

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So…what do I do in the mornings? This has changed throughout the years, but I have a few standards.

One: Meditation or quiet time.

This is one that I wrote about last week and again I will say it changes day to day sometimes. Today I did a traditional meditation for 10 minutes. Sometimes I journal, make art , do oracle cards or read a spiritually focused book. I really like to use this time to focus and to reflect. One thing I am trying to do is to visualize success, rather than always asking myself for direction. I think all people need time for quiet and everyday. I think it is possible for everyone to get even 5 minutes of this. I like to light a candle or two and if I am feeling really not like doing this quiet time, I put on some music and sometimes I make tea.

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Two: Brush teeth and take care of face.

I start with doing a tongue scrap, then I brush my teeth. I love the feeling of clean teeth. What happens to our mouths overnight anyway?!  I also do a compress on my face with essential oils and warm water. Lately I have been using a lavender and tangerine essential oils. Then I moisturize my face with a blend of hemp, rose and lavender oil that I made. Lastly, I massage my shoulders and wrists especially with that oil blend or coconut oil. It is kind of indulgent, but super simple at the same time.

Three: Movement.

I wake up every morning and do some movement. Usually this is my favorite activity of yoga and I do anything from one sun salutation, to five or if I am not going to a class later, a full 40 minutes. Before I had Sage, my yoga practice was 90 minutes, but that is nearly impossible now unless I leave the house. I usually wrap up my practice with savasana and breath work called pranayama.

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Three: Hydrate.

Mike, my partner and I are currently challenging ourselves to try to drink a gallon a day. I am winning, but even if I don’t get to a gallon, it is helping me hydrate more. It is important to hydrate yourself and I feel it if I don’t. Imagine you have gone 8 hours without water, so get that water and fast!

Four: Breakfast.

Usually Sage is awake by the time I get to this step. If Mike is home we eat breakfast together. Usually though I am eating on the floor with Sage as he plays. I don’t have a cooked breakfast much anymore because it just doesn’t work out to watch a baby and cook at the same time. I am beyond burnt out on smoothies so typically I eat a fruit bowl  with seeds or banana nice cream with berries and nuts. I wasn’t always good at eating breakfast, but it is an important part of my day now.

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Five: Work on most important task or write.

If Sage hasn’t woken up then I start writing unless I have something important due that day that I haven’t finished. I also like to do one load of laundry a day. We cloth diaper, so this is how we maintain that system. Anyway, I write best late at night or early in the morning. I really like to be all there with Sage, so I try not to work or exercise while he is awake. If I don’t get to work in the morning, it happens during nap time. I really like working in the early morning though because I can get more finished because I am so focused at that time of day.

Six: Play.

Even if you don’t have a baby we should make time to play as research is showing. Brene Brown says that it is more important than us type A personalities realize. Play is unstructured and a way for us to lose track of time doing something we enjoy. I love reading and learning so as nerdy as it sounds that really is play for me, but now that I have a baby I have gotten a lot goofier and fun during my play time. I am a lucky mom because I have a laid back, happy baby and he is teaching me to be goofy. I also try to remember to play with my fur children who are also very goofy.

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Seven: Walk.

We like to go to the park on mornings when we can together as a family. It really helps us stay connected to nature and to each other. I wish we lived in a forest or near mountains, but since we don’t our connection to nature has to be intentional on our part. When it’s just me, our dog (Ceci) and Sage we still take a walk, it’s just not as pretty. Sage really loves walks and of course Ceci does.

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These are the things I do in the morning. It seems like a lot, but the first three are usually finished in less than an hour and the rest happen on good days, which is now thankfully most days. I slip into being a night owl once in a while and I always regret it. Staying up late is not as magical as waking up early to me. Hopefully this helped you out and maybe you can start doing one of these things if you don’t already. We would love to hear from you!

Find the corresponding video here.

-Rosemary Barria

 

 

 

 

 

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Habit: Demystifying Meditation

-Rosemary Barria

Meditation is often seen as one crossing their legs in lotus on a special pillow, at a special time of day and in special clothing, but meditation can be so many things. Candice defined it beautifully when we were working this weekend “Anything that can get you from thinking of the past or the future and can let you be in the now is meditation.” Some people think it best to empty your mind, some find it useful to visualize and to focus on one thing, some chant, some sing, some do any of the many variations of movement, such as yoga, tai chi or even running. Some people meditate while finding flow in their work. My friend Alison, an artist , made a piece that I thought was a beautiful visual of meditation where she knit in a performance. She called it active prayer.

I used to be strict about knowing the “best” way to meditate. I wonder now if that search for doing things just right kept me from actually meditating some days. A phrase came to me a few months ago “The practice should work for you, you should not work for the practice”  Now I think if  I wake at 5 am going directly to my mat sitting crossed legged because I am supposed to than this would defeat the purpose, so instead when I open my eyes, often times now while nursing my son I check in with myself and see what the best use of time that morning will be. I always meditate though. By this I mean that I always spend time in quiet.  Do I journal, do a guided meditation, just breathing exercises, do I chant, do I make something, do I jump right into yoga or walking, do I work with oracle cards? It depends on the day. More often than not it looks the same for a few weeks until I decide and feel that I need something else or Sage (my 6 month old) starts teething and I have to meditate with him. We did a lot of meditation together at first and laying down. I call it meditation because I wasn’t asleep.

Regardless of how you meditate,  I believe committing to some time during the day for quiet is so important. For me waking early is the best and sometimes at night too. Check in with yourself, experiment, but whatever you do make time for quiet away from your phone, away from anyone else, away from anything that isn’t giving you peace for the day. Commit to a time and make it non-negotiable. If you have to hide in your bathroom then do it! To me meditation is a way I heal myself so that I can heal others. By the way, healing is not this special thing only certain people can do. We are all healers and I believe that healing happens daily. Just as our skin regenerates, so does our soul or whatever you want to call that magic you have. You may not notice the affects of meditation right away, but you will definitely notice if you have been away from it. I know I do and I know my partner does! So find your practice, play around with it and quit being all serious with what you do, but be serious that about the commitment to do it. You deserve it! If you aren’t spiritual than do it for your brain.

We are doing an Instagram challenge. How do you find quiet? Find us on Instagram @radiantlifeproject and share a photo, tag us and we will send someone a gift basket to help you with meditation! Contest goes from today (Friday) June 10th to Monday June 13th. Winner will be announced Tuesday  June 14th!