Sunlight, that feeling after a restful sleep, the chill of early morning air as you wake up. Every new morning presents its beauty and its challenges. In perfect honesty, one morning every few weeks I spring out of bed on rays of sunshine, energized and ready for the day. On all other mornings, getting myself started could be likened to getting an elephant- a grumpy elephant- onto a hoverboard for a twelve-day journey through the clouds.
On most mornings, as you see, I need some help to get up and going and to prepare for the day. Since beginning the day well is the key to creating a day… then a week… then, even a year, full of cherished memories and valuable moments, some simple habits are needed.
Just a few peaceful morning habits set the foundation for a grace-filled day, and I try to practice them, and they truly help. I can always tell the difference when I didn’t begin my day well. So many things in life are out of our hands, the morning routine is a gem to nourish, and it will nourish us back. So, to be tougher than the inevitable rice crispies cemented to the floor, quicker than the baby set on spilling the hottest of coffees, and calmer than the mountain-top yogi I saw on Pinterest the other day, here are a few suggestions to build grace into your morning routine.
Five ideas for grace in the earliest of those small moments:
- Pray a prayer in a very simple form – pure and in pajamas, connecting the day to Heaven. One of the best: “A pure heart create for me, O God, and put a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, nor deprive me of your holy spirit.” -Psalm 51 What do you need today? Maybe peace, maybe strength, maybe everything. Putting this into words and knowing you are never alone makes an imprint on the day, from its first early moments.
- Do some refreshing exercise – There’s a reason people like to get their sweat on bright and early, it is energizing! I prefer the steady burn of yoga to wake all my muscles up. Good Morning Yoga on my Flexibility board on Pinterest is one of my favorite simple, illustrated guides. I also love the Down Dog yoga app, which has beautiful visuals, cool music, and a sense of humor to go with customized workouts- and it’s free! I will mix in a bit of ballet stretching too (hello, hamstrings!) and seriously these stretches help my body to feel better all day long. At the very least a few kicks and squats.
- Drink a cup of water with a citrus twist – try a wedge of lemon or lime squeezed into a tall glass of not-too-cold water, or just a small squirt of bottled lemon juice in your glass as an economical option. This tip is so quick and simple. It is good for our skin and metabolism. And it hydrates of course! The citrus scent is also a natural pick-me-up, such an energizing and fresh smell.
- Play your favorite music – on your computer, your phone, or your old-school boombox play those tunes that best begin your day- you know the ones! This is one of my favorite playlists ever- full of life, featuring Bon Iver, Little May, Daughter, and a few other loves: my Bright & Early Playlist on Spotify. Something about the sound of soft acoustic guitar makes me feel deeply peaceful, especially as the day begins. Seriously- a Jack Johnson disc has been stuck in my car’s cd player for three years, and I don’t even mind! Every person’s music will be different, so the tunes that make you smile are what you want in the morning.
- And… Drink some caffeine. Ok this is not such a healthy habit, but if you are addicted like I am to coffee, it is a component of the routine that’s not going anywhere, anytime soon. I just tell myself that all parents need caffeine, and then that practical voice inside of me that says wait, that’s not necessarily true…. I just tell it to shush until I have had my first cup of coffee.
All joking aside, both my day personally and the overall peace in our home greatly benefit from a fresh and intentional start, with prayer, exercise, and other elements like music and coffee. Sometimes we may mix in an early storytime, or an even earlier run (here is another excellent playlist on Spotify: Sunrise Run), whatever will work in this home, for this morning. Every home is unique and the morning routine is equally reflective of our personality and taste. Feel free to add any inspiration you would like to share for creating peaceful and lovely mornings, in the comments below!
I hope these elements of a morning routine help to allow your early mornings to flourish, and fill you with ideas for your own fresh starts! Nurturing our hearts in the earliest hours of the day gives energy and harmony a place to take root.