How you start and end your day, can greatly impact your success and ability to function and achieve your goals while keeping your mind fresh.
Every morning, the reset button is hit, and we have an opportunity for a new day. New intensions. A new mindset. New experiences. A new step towards a goal. And yet for some reason, we struggle with this – hitting the snooze button 5 times, crawling out of bed to stare at the coffee machine for 10 minutes and realize we never put the pod in, ruminating in the shower, and continuing arguments with ourselves/boss/co-worker/bad drivers.
And that sets the tone for the rest of our day.
There are tons of research out there about the importance of morning rituals, so I wanted to combine a couple of my favourite things to set you up for success. I’ll explain why along the way.
By the time you are comfortable in the cold after a week or two, you will feel empowered, calm and energized at the end of your showers.
First off, Kung-Fu actually means any discipline, study, learning, or practice that requires patience, energy, and time that is practiced for, amongst other things, spiritual growth; making Kung-Fu, an acquired skill. So, if you want to “Kung-Fu” your morning, and the rest of your day, here are some tips to get you started.
9 Things you need for your morning ritual
1. Get a good nights rest
Yes. Your next day is greatly affected by whether you had enough sleep the night before. So make sure that you get your 7-9 hours of sleep to set you up for success the next day. How much sleep we get, greatly affects our mood, emotions, energy levels, ability to think and make decisions, as well as our defenses against ANT’s – Automatic Negative Thoughts – that eat away at your performance.
2. Set your intention
This is a crucial step to the success of anything. Setting your intention for the feeling you want from your morning practice, is the driver and guidance for your success. So start by thinking about why it is that you want to embark on this practice. This can be anything from setting yourself up for success to have a good day to the ability to manage your overall mental health better and to feel more in control.
Essentially, if you’ve had a good night's rest, you haven’t hydrated in 7-9 hours. And during the day, the recommended water intake is about 4 liters a day. So, getting a glass of water, first thing in the morning is essential. Keep it by the side of your bed.
4. Read something
Activating your mind with as little as one page in a good book – not flipping through Instagram memes – ignites your mind with creative and positive thought patterns.
5. Take a Mindfulness shower
Be careful of who you invite into the shower with you. You have the choice to spend the time ruminating/arguing/stressing, or the conscious decision to take care of yourself in that time by focusing on sensation and cleaning. By actively focusing on the sensation of the water on your body, the soap, the heat/cold, you bring your awareness out of your mind, and into your body. For those who have less time during the day to meditate, and have other spiritual practices, this is the ideal time to do so.
6. Turn the cold water on
I’ve been taking cold showers for some time and have had my fair share of cold plunges in the local creek. What makes this practice so amazing, is that you are consciously, and in a controlled environment, challenging your mind’s fight/flight and fear response in the body, and building resiliency to it.
Here’s what to do. For the next couple of weeks, just turn the hot water down to cold at the end of your shower. Take deep breathes and stand there feeling the cold water for 10 seconds on your chest. Then the next day, for 15, and then for 20 seconds, and so on. And so forth.
You will exit the shower feeling refreshed, and with a little more resiliency towards the cold, and the mind’s response to fear. Comfort yourself throughout by reassuring yourself that it is just cold water, and it will be over soon. By the time you are comfortable in the cold after a week or two, you will feel empowered, calm, and energized at the end of your showers.
7. Breath & Get the blood flowing
Get your blood pumping, your muscles activated, and reap the rewards of your new energy after the cold shower, by taking deep belly breathes, followed by a couple of push-ups and squats if you can; at least 10 of each should do the trick. The goal is not to build muscles, but rather to activate your large muscle groups and wake up the body even further. If you have a yoga practice, this could be ideal to get some stretches in as well.
If you are a coffee drinker, like most, add some good fats to it in the form of Coconut Oil or Unsalted Butter. Blending these ingredients to your morning coffee, will not only make it richer in flavour but provide essential fats brain function, and clarity.
9. Set some goals
Setting a couple of goals for the day, and then reviewing them before bed can give you that sense of accomplishment. If this is a new practice to you, go slow, and make sure you set some attainable goals. Even list the things that you have to get done by the end of the day and celebrate what you have accomplished before you go to bed by ticking off the boxes. The sense of accomplishment, in turn, results in a better, less anxious night's rest.
Why do you need a morning ritual?
Rituals make us feel safe, in control and help us process the things that happen to us in life. Hence the importance of having a morning ritual in place. For your mental health and wellbeing, this means that you start and end your day with good intentions, that are focused on your overall wellbeing and grounded in taking care of yourself.
There are several different things that you can use to tailor your own morning ritual that has proven successes. The ones mentioned above, are a couple of ones that are easily achievable but have several great benefits for physical and mental well-being with minimal input. Play around with these to suit your needs, and design the way you start your day to set yourself up for success.
Get your 7-9 hours of sleep
Set your intension to start your day with direction and purpose
1 Glass of water
Read one page
10 pushups & 10 squats
Coffee with a twist
Set a goal
Have a powerful and grounded morning!