Every morning I sip my coffee from a mug that belonged to my mother wearing a bathrobe she gave me. The bathrobe feels like a hug from my mom. She passed away in 2010 from breast cancer.
This little ritual is the cornerstone of my attitude of gratitude and an essential part of my morning routine. I like to call it my bathrobe karma.
It reminds me to take nothing for granted. Each day is a gift, and life can be a complicated and demanding sport. In a world where much is out of our control, we can still choose to take a moment to set our day in motion in a positive way.
Having a powerful morning routine is one of those practices worth cultivating. Most overachievers and the happiest people have them. The best part of a powerful morning routine is that it costs you nothing. That's right, it's absolutely free, and you are already doing it. Once you know how to tweak and harness it, you can turn it into a superpower.
The morning routine I teach contains four core pillars; hydration, intention, breath, and movement.
I like to start with water because it sets the daily intention for our body by helping us rehydrate. When we are asleep, our body is fasting to allow our organs to go through their circadian cycle and detox. Our bodies are composed of 60-80% water, with our brain and muscles 75% water. Water is an essential nutrient. We can't survive without it, and we need to get it from an external source because our body cannot make it.
A hydration practice does many things; one is helping the lymphatic system move metabolic waste collected when our organs are detoxing during sleep. 8-10 ounces of warm or room temperature water is all we need before that first cup of coffee. We can also boost our water with the juice of half a lemon or lime, a pinch of Himalayan pink sea salt, or some electrolyte drops.
Sipping 8-10 ounces of water every hour for 8-10 hours is best to practice hydration. The trick is to provide consistent water intake for our bodies and brains, not to chug 100oz at 4PM.
Setting an intention for the day is the next pillar of a powerful morning routine. Too often, we jump into our email, social media, or a to-do list before taking a moment to set an intention for ourselves.
It can be a word, such as joy or focus. You can write it in a journal, calendar, or notepad. Write something like "I will look for joy in little things" or "I will focus only on what I must get done today." When we write it down, it is 33% more likely to happen. An intention is different from a to-do list and helps our conscious and subconscious minds align with our bigger life goals.
Affirmations are another way to get a positive energy flow and make sure the universe has your back. Here are a few that I like to say in my head before my feet hit the ground.
-All that I need comes to me at the right time and place in this life.
-My ability to conquer my challenges is limitless; my potential to succeed is infinite.
-I feel joy and contentment at this moment right now.
If we aren't listening to ourselves, who are we listening to?
It's essential to be the gatekeeper of our bodies and minds, carefully and thoughtfully controlling the input.
Breath is one of the most overlooked wellness tools. Most of us are not using our total lung capacity and making the most of oxygen. Like water and hydration, oxygen is an essential element that our bodies rely on to function but do not produce.
This is a simple breathing exercise that can be done anywhere and delivers significant benefits. It's called Pranayama breathing, or alternate nostril breathing. When practiced regularly, it helps us dial down stress, be more present, get back to sleep at 2AM, and improve heart and lung function. Take a minute to practice this simple breathing exercise.
-Sit up straight in a chair and take a deep breath through both nostrils, exhale slowly.
-Now, place your right forefinger on your right nostril holding it closed.
-Inhale through the open left nostril bringing air deep into the lungs.
-Place your left forefinger against your left nostril, closing it, now release your right forefinger, exhale slowly and entirely through the right nostril.
Do this several times alternating nostrils. I taught my 88-year-old father how to do this, and he uses it to help him when he feels stressed about the challenges he faces with Parkinson's Disease.
The last pillar of a powerful morning routine is movement. This can be simple stretching and neck rolls, a walk, or even a morning workout. Just be sure to incorporate some form of movement or gentle massage into the first hour of each day.
Remember the lymphatic system I mentioned earlier? It's located between our muscles and our dermis, and it is essentially the trash can of our body. Because it can't actually move, it relies on motion and gentle touch to remove the collected metabolic waste and basically "take-the-trash-out." This is just one of the many benefits of exercise, which I might add helps us stay younger at a cellular level.
That's it. The four pillars of a powerful morning routine are hydration, intention, breath, and movement. The entire practice takes about 15 minutes and can be done quickly and easily with no special equipment.
October is the perfect time to create a powerful morning routine to support our physical, spiritual, and emotional health. It is also Breast Cancer Awareness month and an excellent time to double down on the habit of self-breast exams and schedule an annual mammogram.
Think of the powerful morning routine as a part of your wellness arsenal and some good bathrobe karma.