Sunday, February 18, 2018

My Morning Self-Care Routine

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My morning routine started about a year ago. I was never a morning person and hated waking up early unless I absolutely had to. If you told me I would actually enjoy waking up early and watching the sunrise I wouldn't have believed you. There is a certain quiet about waking up early and getting something warm to drink. My favorites are coffee, tea, and water with lemon first thing in the morning. If I don't take mornings for myself I notice a difference in my whole day. I just feel more peaceful and productive when I wake up early and take that time for myself. Two things are what started me on the path of waking up early and doing my sadhana or daily spiritual practice in the morning. The First was I started studying Kundalini yoga and sadhana is very important. If you can only take 20 minutes to do a kriya( a series of poses.) That is better than getting nothing in. And getting in at night is better than doing nothing. When I started my practice I did do it in the evening. But, when I read about the ambrosial hours as the best time to do the practice I decided I would get up earlier. The ambrosial hours are near sunrise or sunset. So, obviously, this will differ depending on where you live. In the winter I wake up at about 6AM and the summer is usually around 5:30. I haven't made it to 5AM yet. There is a peacefulness to doing my practice as the sun is rising. Right before sunset is also a great time for your evening practices as well. preferably, before eating dinner.

The second thing that made me decide to wake up early and keep it up was reading The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM).   
I've read this book two or three times. It always inspires me to wake up early. When I first read it I followed the SAVERS. Silence, Affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading, and scribing/writing. I don't follow this exactly anymore but everything I do still includes an aspect of each of these.  Although not always in this order. If you are starting out this is a great place to come up with ideas for your routine until you can make your own. You can read how I started my miracle morning routine on The Miracle Morning.

There are a lot of aspects of having a morning routine. One is that in the morning it is quiet and you are less likely to get interrupted especially if you wake up before others in the house. And second, there is a quiet and peacefulness as I mentioned that just helps me to feel productive and I feel like it sets the tone for my day. Otherwise, I tend to feel rushed and then my whole day feels hectic. Or I feel like I didn't "do enough" at the end of the day. But, when I wake up early and do my practices I feel a sense of accomplishment. And I know that I'm doing something positive and good for myself. Some tips that have helped me in the morning are to set my phone with my alarm clock set away from the bed. This forces me to wake up and get out of bed to turn it off. Otherwise, I tend to hit the snooze button. The second is to have something that you look forward to in the morning to get out of bed. This could be a cup of coffee or something else you look forward to in the morning. I enjoy waking up knowing I get to drink my coffee. Although, lately I've been trying to drink lemon with water first thing in the morning. This helps to hydrate the body, gets it moving, and helps to detoxify the body.

Here is a list of my morning practices. These are ideas and some of them will resonate with you and some won't. But, maybe this can inspire you to create your own practice and maybe some of these ideas will work for you. These are practices that I found on my own journey to be beneficial for me. Try them out and see if you like them if not you can always drop them and find something else. Or maybe you already have a morning routine that sets your soul on fire and is something that resonates with you and this inspires you to keep going. Some of these things you might have already heard about and some of these concepts might be new. Everyone is different so what works for me might not work for you. These practiced don't need to take a long time. Maybe you spend more or less time on your practices depending on your schedule. Maybe you take a soul day. I like to take soul days on Sunday and use that time to rest and focus on my spiritual practices. And my goals for the coming week. Also, during menstruation especially the first three days is a great time to slow down and come up with a practice that works for you.

1. MCA: Menstrual Cycle Awareness:  Time: 10-15 minutes: I've been practicing MCA which stands for menstrual cycle awareness for a few months now. It started when I heard about the book The Optimized Woman: Using Your Menstrual Cycle to Achieve Success and Fulfillment. I started reading this book and Code Red: Know Your Flow, Unlock Your Super Powers and Create a Bloody Amazing Life. Period.  I started to create a chart of my cycle and follow the days outlined in The Optimized Woman. However, I didn't really keep up with my chart until I read Wild Power: Discover the Magic of Your Menstrual Cycle and Awaken the Feminine Path to Power.
This inspired me to create a very colorful and in depth chart. I color in the days depending on my cycle. Red is for flow days, pink is for my follicular, pink is for ovulation, and orange is for my premenstrual or inner autumn phase. I also follow the moon phases and draw those in as well. Plus, any symptoms I have that day emotional or physical. I also love the My Flo app. I downloaded it when I read WomanCode: Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source. I also started syncing my exercise and foods depending on the phase I'm in. And although I was syncing my work based on The Optimized Woman the My Flo app really helped me to figure out when I should slow down and when I should catch up on things that need to get done. It has helped me immensely since I've been using it the past two months. First thing in the morning I check out what day I'm on and sync my day from that. I look at my handmade chart, my flo app, and read my cycle day in the Optimized Woman. This really prepares me for my day and makes me realize why I might be feeling a certain way. Either physically or emotionally. Plus, I can go back and see how my symptoms have improved over time. I have noticed a difference since I've been cycle syncing. My cramps are almost nonexistent. My flow days have shortened. And I rest more during menstruation and spend more time on self-care. My migraines have also lessened and dissipated. Obviously, it is not always possible to cycle sync and live according to your menstrual phases but it is not about perfection just doing what you can.

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2. Soul Writing: 15-30 minutes: I've been doing morning pages for a few years now. I originally heard about morning pages from Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. I like to take anywhere from 15-30 minutes to write three pages. Julia Cameron recommends three pages first thing in the morning of free writing. You don't edit yourself or think of what you want to say you just write whatever comes to your mind. This is a safe place to vent, dream, plan, and come up with goals. She recommends you don't reread them for at least one month. Then go back and revisit them. See what feelings came up and what was on your mind a lot. This can be a sign of what relationships, jobs, or anything that we need to let go of. And what dreams and goals we are constantly wanting to implement and focus on. It's interesting because most of my goals I've had in my heart for years but until I went back and read them on paper I realized I hadn't been pursuing my dreams. I took a lot of detours on the way. It can also be amazing when you go back and see what you've accomplished that you said you wanted to. These past few months I've been doing things slightly differently.  After reading Writing Down Your Soul: How to Activate and Listen to the Extraordinary Voice Within. I've been doing Soul Writing daily. My routine includes some reading. I read the lesson of the day and text from A Course in Miracles.   And then I'll listen to an audiobook or read some from another book. Depending on how much time I have. This helps to get me thinking and inspires me to write things down. Sometimes I will do this after soul writing as well. Again depending on how much time I have. In Writing down your soul she recommends reading as apart of the soul writing practice. Then I write and talk to my Soul voice. You can call it God, universe, Divine beloved, Jesus, or whatever resonates with you. I talk to God and write out one long prayer. Some days I write more and other days I write less. I don't limit myself to three pages if more feels like it wants to be said. It also depends on how much time I have. Then I ask myself questions. You can ask yourself anything besides a yes/no question. You will know it's your soul responding when it is a loving answer. Which can include tough love but it won't bash you. I love to use the questions in Writing Down Your Soul. Especially if I'm not sure what to ask. Then I will usually end with a prayer from Change Me Prayers: The Hidden Power of Spiritual Surrender.   

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3. Exercise/Kundalini Yoga & Meditation: 30 minutes-1:30 hours: My yoga and exercise practice varies from day to day. It depends on how much time I have in the morning. If I have more time I will try to get a full sadhana in which usually includes 30-40 minutes of a kriya practice and mantra meditation. As outlined in Original Light: The Morning Practice of Kundalini Yoga.

If I am short on time I will just do a 20-30 minute Kriya practice. I love using Yogaglo for my yoga practice. The teachers are amazing and I enjoy the classes. Plus, they have a lot of different time options that I can choose from depending on how much time I have in the morning. Another reference that has been one of my go tos since I started my practice is Meditation As Medicine: Activate the Power of Your Natural Healing Force. The combination of Gabrielle Bernstein's books, yogaglo, and meditation as medicine are what really got me started on my kundalini yoga journey. I will also incorporate exercise. Again this depends on how much time I have. Lately, I've been loving Dailyburn. I've been doing the Barre Harmony workout. They also have a daily workout that airs at 8/9 Eastern time. My yoga and exercise practice really helps me to clear my mind and helps to center me for the day ahead. I realized the benefit of exercise every day when I started with Beachbody. They have a lot of awesome workout programs. I still love Beachbody products. And my coach still inspires me daily even though I no longer sell the products. Working out is like therapy and really helps. And put on some awesome tunes and it motivates me, even more, to keep going.  Now that I know about cycle syncing I also tailor my workouts to where I am in my cycle. When I'm menstruating I take the first three days off. Napping can be a sport during this time. Or just laying in bed. This is not being lazy. And for me helps to reduce my cramps. Towards the end, I love yoga especially yin, restorative, or pilates. In the follicular Cardio is great. This is usually when energy starts picking up. During ovulation, you usually have more energy to burn. So, HIIT is great at this time. And in the first half of the premenstrual phase strength training is great. Towards the last half yoga or pilates is great. You can find out more info about cycle syncing your phases with exercise on the Flo Living app and in Womancode.

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4. Energy Medicine: 5-10 minutes: Full energy medicine yoga practice 20-40 minutes:
I've been practicing various forms of energy medicine for a while now. A few years ago I had a healing touch session that made me feel like a major weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I felt lighter and physically better and so much happier and more positive. Ever since then I've been a believer in energy medicine. So, after that, I got attuned to Reiki level 1 and 2. I've been doing treatments for myself since then. I even use it on my cat since I found out he has FLUTED (Feline lower urinary tract disease). Recently, I heard about Eden Energy Medicine and Energy Medicine Yoga. I've been doing the "wake up" routine in the morning which only takes about 5-10 minutes. I can do this while I'm listening to an audiobook or as soon as I get out of bed. A full energy medicine yoga practice as I'm reading about in Energy Medicine Yoga: Amplify the Healing Power of Your Yoga Practice can take 20-40 minutes. I Am excited to learn about more of the energy medicine exercises in Energy Medicine: Balancing Your Body's Energies for Optimal Health, Joy, and Vitality.
This is the routine I've been using in the morning.

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5. Tapping/E.F.T (Emotional Freedom Technique): 10-15 minutes:
I've been tapping off and on for a few years now. I haven't been as consistent with it and I would like to be. But, I try to get tapping in at least 3X a week. My new goal is to spend at least 10-15 minutes in the morning or evening tapping. Although, I much prefer when I can get it in, in the morning. I've been using Tapping Into Wealth: How Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) Can Help You Clear the Path to Making Mor e Money . Emotional Freedom Technique is based on tapping the meridian points in Chinese medicine.Acupuncture, acupressure, reflexology, and energy medicine are also based on the meridian points for clearing energy blocks. When energy gets stuck in our meridians and chakras it can lead to emotional, health, and physical issues. Of course, if you have any financial, emotional, or health issues always consult a professional. But, this can be a great addition to any professional help you are receiving. This is not magic and you have to do the physical work as well. Just like with the law of attraction. But, it can be great for clearing some of those blocks. I am excited to start reading/using The Tapping Solution for Weight Loss & Body Confidence: A Woman's Guide to Stressing Less, Weighing Less, and Loving More in addition to healthy eating and exercise. There are also some great Tapping Youtube Videos. I really like Brad Yates video's and he has them on many different subjects.

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6. FlowDreaming: 15-20 minutes: I heard about FlowDreaming a few years ago. I finally downloaded the app and some of the flow dreams. Flowdreaming was created by Summer McStravick. She also created M.E School. Some of my favorite flow dreams are Instant anxiety relief, Program today: Good morning, great day! , and Wealth and abundance. I always feel more relaxed and in a better mood. I've experimented with doing flowdreaming different times of the day. Most of them are 15 minutes. Some are a little longer or shorter. I'm a big believer in using visualization. And I have been using visualization in my meditations for the past year. Flow dreaming is similar to The Law of Attraction by getting your vibrations to match that of what you want. But, again it is not magic and you have to also put in the physical work. She has flow dreams for relationships, career, money, weight loss, and more. And a radio show where most of the shows are free to listen to on the app or Itunes. Some older ones do require a subscription but there are plenty that you can access for free.

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7. Affirmations: 10-20 minutes: I first heard about affirmations about 6 years ago from reading You can heal your life by Louise Hay. I started doing affirmations and affirmative prayer. When I read The Miracle Morning that is when I started doing affirmations daily. Preferably in the morning. I also like to use the Stay Sacred Journal: A 21 day practice by Sora Surya No. The daily practice includes a sacred prayer that you write for the 21 days, your intentions for the day that will vary every day, I am affirmations that stay the same for the 21 days,  your Badass goals for the month that stay the same for the 21 days, and foreseeing your day with gratitude. I also like to include scripting which is a practice from Ask and it is Given. There are many practices but this one is my favorite. This practice includes writing down a day or something in the future that you want. This could be how you want your day to go, a week from now, a month, or a year from now. Even longer if you want. And you write is as if it already happened and really feel like it is happening. The last thing in the Stay Sacred journal is your inspired action and rooted intentional ah-ha’s. If you are soul writing this can be goals, dreams, or inspired actions that come up in the morning. This could be any ah-ha moment that you had while doing your spiritual practice for the day. Again, this is not magic and you have to put in the work as well but I believe affirmations can really compliment our daily actions. Another thing is gratitude. I’ve learned gratitude creates more things to be grateful for. Especially if I’m feeling discouraged or depressed I will write a list of everything I’m grateful for. It can be as simple as a cup of coffee you are grateful for. Over time the list will grow. I also like to write a list of what I am grateful for in the future. This goes hand in hand with The Law of Attraction. When writing affirmations you always want to keep it positive and write in the past tense. So you don’t want to say I will find the perfect job you would say I’ve found the perfect job. Affirmations and tapping go well together as well.

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8. Earthing/Grounding: 10-40 minutes (or as often as you can) : I just learned about earthing. Also called grounding. It’s hard for me to believe I’ve never heard of this before. And your probably haven’t either. It’s when you go outside and put your feet on the ground although it can also be your hands as well. Doing these even for 15 minutes a day has shown to be beneficial but 40 minutes a day has been shown to greatly reduce inflammation in the body. There is a lot of science behind this and although a lot of doctors and scientists don’t believe it works many people swear that is does. It’s winter where I live so going and putting my feet on the ground is not an option right now. Although I look forward to doing this in the spring and summer. But, even touching the earth or a tree can help to ground you. Anything that is connected to the earth works. In the fall picking up leaves with your hands works. I went out and spent time touching trees. Even before I knew about earthing at times I felt a call to do this but didn’t know why. Yes it seems a bit woo woo but I always feel better. There are also grounding mats you can buy however I haven’t tried grounding products so I can't say how those work. Even going out and reading a book and sitting on the ground can be beneficial. Or taking a cup of coffee or tea with you outside and touching the earth for 15 minutes. Conductors are dirt, grass, sand, natural water (rivers, lakes, oceans), And cement. Even some stones or marble. Asphalt is not a conductor. Tile and wood are also not conductors. And wearing rubber or plastic shoes is not a conductor. Natural all leather shoes are a conductor if you wear them barefoot. They also make special earthing shoes if you don’t want to wear the leather. You can read more about earthing in the book Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever!

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These are some of my practices. I know it seems like a lot. But, I believe having a morning routine has truly helped me. These are just some ideas that you can implement into your daily morning routine. Again, pick a few that resonate with you and see what works best for you. Or if you already have a morning routine I hope this inspired you to keep going. These practices can also be implemented throughout the day when you have an extra 5-15 minutes. Another self-care practice that I only touched on a little is eating healthy nutritious food. This is something you can do on a daily basis. I have other posts about this and will continue to write more. So, I won’t go into it too much here. You can read part 1 of my cycle syncing journey here.

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