4 rituals to prioritize in your morning routine: embracing slowing down & breathing deeply

Written by Jasmine Irven in collaboration with Dorset Cereals

I’ve seen quite a shift recently when it comes to content online regarding morning and evening routines.

For a long time it seemed like the goal of any morning routine was to fit as many of the self-care practices we possibly could into a short time frame before going about our days – the sentiment being that if we prioritized checking these habits off of our list early, we’d feel accomplished and energized to tackle our day.

I know that I played into this narrative for a while myself, sharing my ideal morning routine on my blog and early morning vlogs on social media, cut together with excessively fast edits that honestly give me a headache when I re-watch them.

While I have absolutely nothing against people who share their own extensive 5am routines, I’ve also realized that having a huge checklist of practices I feel the “need” to complete each and every day to feel “productive” or (even worse) “worthy of rest” at the end of the day simply doesn’t work for me.

Instead, I’ve tried to embrace more of a slower living lifestyle. With this mindset shift I’m still moving through my morning with a few self-care rituals in mind, but there’s a lot less pressure behind them and a lot less rigidity to them.

Maybe you’ve felt this shift too. This urge to slow down, to breathe deeply, and to do less, while still incorporating intentional practices into your day and life.

If so, here are 4 flexible wellbeing rituals I try to fit into my mornings each day to help me feel my best, that might also work for you.

something to relax and clear the mind

One of the smallest habits that has made the biggest transformation in my life is plugging my phone in for the evening in a room that isn’t my bedroom. The urge to stay up late scrolling or to wake up and check email or social media first thing in the morning used to be really strong, and I’d end up overwhelmed and stressed from the consumption.

By moving my phone outside of the bedroom and using an alarm clock instead, I’ve reduced a lot of the early morning anxiety that used to make itself at home in my mind. Instead of being plunged into my to-do list, endless notifications, and other people’s requests, I’m able to focus on myself.

At the same time, as someone who has a growing to-do list and is often overly ambitious about what I can accomplish in each given day, some of that pressure still resides. As such, I like to incorporate one activity into my morning that helps me relax and clear my mind.

Sometimes that’s 10 minutes of meditation, sometimes it’s some brain-dump style journaling, sometimes it’s reading, and sometimes it’s simply taking a few deep breaths as I go about my morning skincare routine.

The intention here is that I’m bringing myself back into the present moment, rather than letting my mind wander to everything that’s coming up in the future.

We all deserve this time to calm our nervous system, and in doing so we end up creating a sense of clarity and peace that will support us throughout the entire day.

something nourishing for the body

A nourishing, delicious breakfast each day is non-negotiable for me. Fuelling your body with high-quality, natural ingredients is so important to give yourself the energy and nutrients you need for the day. In my previous corporate years you would often find me running out of the house on an empty stomach, grabbing a pastry and coffee on my way to work.

And while I still love a chocolatine and latte as much as the next girl, I noticed a significant difference in my mindset and energy levels when I started making time for a more filling, nourishing breakfast. (Don’t worry, I often still make time for a latte and croissant later in the day).

Here are a few of my recent go-tos:

  • Dorset Cereals Granola & Grains Creamy Cashew & Golden Raisin paired with almond milk and blueberries
  • Avocado toast with a fried egg, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper, a squeeze of lemon, and a drizzle of olive oil
  • Dorset Cereals Simply Delicious Muesli with soy milk, banana, berries, and a sprinkle of cacao nibs
  • Dorset Cereals Seductive Dark Choc Cherry Granola for a little extra indulgence with coconut or Greek yogurt and fresh raspberries
  • Overnight oats made with 1 cup of oats, 1 cup of almond milk, 1tbsp of chia seeds, almond butter, and fresh fruit
  • There’s something incredibly nostalgic for me about cereals and granolas, and I love that with Dorset Cereals products I’m not questioning the ingredients within them like the alternatives I consumed when I was younger.

These breakfast options are vegetarian, good sources of fibre, made with whole grains, and all of the Dorset Cereal options are non-GMO Project Verified, Kosher, and made in a peanut free facility. Plus, they taste delicious!

Prioritizing a healthy, filling breakfast helps ensure I have the mental energy and physical stamina to go about my day — regardless if I’m camping and heading out on a big hike, or at home in Montreal getting ready for a day of client work on my laptop.

something to energize my soul

Sleep is my biggest priority when it comes to my health and wellness. Above all else, I try to get 7-8 hours of deep sleep so I wake up as refreshed as possible.

However, even when I get this deep sleep, some mornings I’m simply not feeling fully energized and excited to tackle the day. In these moments I’ve learned to listen to my body to see if it needs a little extra rest, a glass of water, or if another self-care practice will boost my mood and energy in the way I desire. Namely, movement and sunshine.

Movement is part of my routine most mornings because of how fulfilled and motivated I feel afterwards. Sometimes this looks like some stretching and yoga in the comfort of my living room, sometimes it’s taking a morning Pilates or boxing class, and sometimes it’s going on a longer walk with my dog. I also love getting outside in the mornings when I can to set my circadian rhythm and further wake my body up.

Pairing this ritual with my morning coffee or tea and a favourite podcast helps bring an added level of appreciation and intention to the ritual.

something to prep yourself for the day

While each of the above rituals help to set me up for success in their own way, here I’m referring to a ritual specifically designed to start to set my day in motion. For example, doing my make-up, getting dressed, making my bed, writing out a to-do list for the day, taking a look at my calendar, or any combination of the above (ideally all of them).

While I work from home and therefore often don’t “need” to get ready, I’ve found there’s almost a mental switch that is flipped when I make an effort to do so. The simple act of making my bed, getting out of my pajamas, or doing my hair starts to build momentum for me, easing me into what I’d like to accomplish for the day.

This is almost a transitional period of my morning routine, where I’m switching from focusing solely on myself and my self-care, to beginning to invite in the idea of what the day has in store for me. By this point I’m already feeling relaxed and nourished in all aspects, and I’m prepared to start tackling some of the goals I have for the day.

Craft a morning routine that works for you

As always with what I write, please know that this isn’t meant to be prescriptive. I personally have grown to love slower mornings, but if you’re not able to curate this intentional time in the mornings, do what works for you!

Maybe you shift some of your preferred self-care rituals into the afternoon or evening. Maybe some days you have a little more self-care time than others. Maybe each day is different and you’ve learned to appreciate that flow and flexibility.

Give yourself grace. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to your wellbeing.

Instead, what I’m encouraging here is a sense of curiosity; a playing around with your routine and rituals to see what you enjoy, and what works with your schedule and lifestyle. Including this intentional time for yourself is important regardless of your exact schedule or the specific self-care habits you enjoy. Get to know yourself a little better. What rituals and routines fill your soul? What do you need to prioritize more of in your life? Lean into those feelings and practices!

Take a deep breath. Slow down. Nourish your body. You’re doing just fine. <3

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