Today is my third day as a freelancer! In my last post, I documented the feelings that were rushing in on the day I gave three weeks notice at my last job, where I had worked for three and a half years. Even though it was scary, I made the leap and now I am enjoying the change.
I love getting up in the morning and knowing I have complete control over where I choose to focus my time and energy. Today, for example, I will be teaching a flow class and a chill class later this morning at the new One Down Dog yoga studio in Eagle Rock. The rest of the afternoon I will spend on tasks for two local small businesses who have hired me to improve their websites and online presence.
In the weeks leading up to my move to freelance, I often pondered what new rituals and schedules I would develop as I transitioned into a lifestyle of working for myself. The idea of having a morning routine resonated with me – a few steps I would follow each morning to start my day in a positive direction. Things I never really had the time for when I had an hour-long commute to work. Over the past few days, I’ve begun to develop the following morning rituals. These don’t necessarily have to go in a certain order, but I feel like the following order works for me.
1. A short yoga flow
Stretching is the first thing I naturally feel inclined to do in the morning, so I’m going with the flow, literally! 5-10 minutes on the mat, doing whatever stretches feel right, in that moment. It helps that I’m a yoga teacher and have experience with many asanas. But you’d be surprised how easy it is to figure out what your body needs, even without proper training. Just do a mental scan of the body, notice where you’re holding tension, and then start to move.
2. Roll out my shoulders with my Yoga Tune Up ball
My shoulders tend to get really tight when I sit at the computer a lot (I’m a web developer, remember!), and using the Yoga Tune Up ball has helped me, immensely, to release those pesky trapezius muscles! Sometimes I used to feel like my shoulders were getting closer and closer to my ears, and felt there was nothing I could do about it, short of begging my husband for a shoulder rub! I’m discovered these magical balls (yes I just said that) at a workshop at the yoga studio where I teach, and it has empowered me to relieve SO much pain and tightness from my shoulders.
3. Drink a glass of water
This may sound silly, but everyone knows how important it is to drink a lot of water! I remember reading a while back that drinking a glass of warm lemon water in the morning and evenings is very cleansing and therapeutic. Maybe someday I’ll have the dedication to heat the water and add the citrus, but for now, as long as I get a glass in me, I’ll be satisfied. Also, I usually do this after the stretches so I won’t feel it sloshing around in my belly when I’m doing Downward facing dog.
Since I started teaching yoga, I’ve become aware of the idea of affirmations and have been using them to help guide me. For example, a recent affirmation I’ve been focusing on is: “I am being my true authentic self with all people, at all times.” Each morning, I scan through my thoughts and feelings and land on an affirmation that will help break through negative energies and invite positive ones. Many times, it is the same for me, “I choose love.” Sometimes it’s directly inspired by recent and upcoming events, like in my last post. I like to to do this as the beginning part of the next ritual of meditation, so that I can sit with the feeling that it sparks.
5. Meditate/sit quietly
This is definitely the hardest ritual to make myself do! Sitting quietly is very difficult for me because I always have a million thoughts rushing through my brain of things I want to get done each day. I’m still learning, but even a few minutes of gently trying to quiet the mind helps clear my head so that I can focus on what really matters.
6. Set intentions
At the end of my meditation, I then let myself think about the things I want to do that day. But instead of a to-do list, I focus on the underlying intention with which I want to lead my actions. Sometimes these are very similar to the affirmations I think of, such as “speaking my truth” or having the intention of showing compassion and gratitude in all of my interactions with myself and others throughout the day.
Usually by this time in my morning ritual, I have quite a few thoughts that I want to get down on paper, and so I journal for a few minutes to get them organized. Sometimes I write down goals for the day. Sometimes I write down a new affirmation that I developed and want to remember to look at frequently. Sometimes I remember a dream and I jot it down. Regardless of what comes up, I feel like it’s a great clearing exercise to let the thoughts out so I can start my day with a clear head.
These rituals are not set in stone and I don’t always do ALL of them. But, I do feel really great when I get into a routine and do these rituals on a daily basis. This post is my journal for the day!
Do you have morning rituals? Get in touch and let me know what works for you!