What Are Your Early Morning Rituals? How To Wake Up Right And Make A Difference

What Are Your Early Morning Rituals? How To Wake Up Right

I’m not much interested in New Year’s Resolutions – I’ve written before about my preference for following a mantra for the year and seeing how it unfolds rather than creating some arbitrary list of actions that, if I don’t complete, will make me feel worse than I did when I started. One new year ritual I do follow, however, is starting a morning book as one of my early morning rituals. This year I chose Jennifer Louden’s A Year of Daily Joy: A Guided Journal to Creating Happiness Every Day. It’s a book I’ve used before but never quite finished, but since our Universe somehow keeps on spinning, I’m able to start again. Fresh. So on January 7, when the prompt was to think and write about my early morning rituals I felt inspired – actually, I felt like I was going in the right direction, since before I turned to the page, I had already been  musing about how I love what I do in the early morning that helps me wake up right and have a happy day.

My early morning rituals include…

  • Going to bed early. Yes, starting the day off right means getting to bed early the night before. Years ago when the kids were little I’d fall asleep next to them, so exhausted from days of mothering and teaching I couldn’t wait to snuggle up with my head on a soft pillow, knowing that sleep would be interrupted but oh, so heavenly while it lasted. Now, with young adults living at home and out of state, I could stay awake as late as their body clocks want them to, but I’ve found that falling asleep by 9:30 p.m. (and setting an alarm for their curfew as needed) affords me at least 7-8 hours of good quality sleep. Oh – and no screen time after 9 helps immensely, too!
  • Waking up to an open window and natural sunlight. During the work week, I wake up at 5:30 a.m. Yes – it’s dark, but having my bedroom window cracked just a little bit not only keeps me cool all night but also allows nature sounds to be my wake up call. Just this morning I was greeted by a lovely owl announcing itself, and doves cooing on my back fence while finches chattered on the bare tree branches. Getting up early to see the dawn break over the treetops while listening to my live nature soundtrack reminds me of my small place in this great big world, and is one of my favorite early morning rituals – even in the cold California winter months!
  • Candlelight. I love lighting one, two, or sometimes three candles when I wake up. Easing myself into the light of day with natural sunlight and the flicker of meditative candlelight allows my mind to rest, to contemplate and prepare for the busy day ahead.Coffee. I had to add this one – for me, having moments alone with my first sips of a warm coffee with cream in my favorite mug is such a simple pleasure; I feel so strongly about my early morning ritual of calm and coffee that I travel with my own portable french press and favorite beans – there’s always hot water in hotel rooms, and it’s so much better to honor my need for caffeine than put up with a poor substitute.
  • Calm.com. Have you heard of the website calm.com? It’s full of beautiful, meditative music and visuals that I not only use in my early morning rituals, but my middle school students love it as well! You can use the app or desktop version, and I love being able to set a meditation timer or just let the music play softly in the background as I go about my rituals.
  • Writing and gratitudes. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have some sort of journal…I’ve handwritten decades of my life in spiral notebooks and cloth bound  books, telling stories and sharing memories, documenting quotes, writing to do lists and always starting with gratitudes. I try to write at least five gratitudes every morning – some days, yes, it is challenging to not fall back on those deep core values, but on those days when I am digging deep and reminded of the power of love, home, kindness, and nature, I know I have at least started my day remembering that some things never change. Lately, I’ve been adding a focus for the day – at least one daily goal that I can achieve.

early morning rituals

As the season change and my life evolves, my early morning rituals adjust with the times. No longer do I find myself nursing a baby while balancing a steaming mug, or being jolted awake and rushing to a ski hill. This time of life is evolving towards more time for self-care, allowing for more choice and control over how I start my day. Surprisingly, my core early morning rituals still hold up…calm, quiet, nature, soft light, coffee and gratitudes are what start each day off right for me. Bringing positive early morning rituals into your day is one way I know for sure to go out into the world ready to make a difference.

What are your early morning rituals? Do you find they change and evolve, or are you, like me, holding onto what is tried and true?

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Trust The Journey

“Ring out the old, ring in the new. Ring happy bells, across the snow.

The year is going, let him go. Ring out the false, ring in the true.”

~Afred Lord Tennyson

It’s clear and frosty this morning. C is asleep in his bedroom, and the house is still. Silent.

In the darkness, I journey down the stairs and nudge open his door, knocking into skateboards and loose lacrosse balls. He groans, “It’s still dark, Mom. What are you doing?”

“Just checking on you. It’s what mommies do. Are you warm enough?” I whisper.

“Yes….” his words come out in one breath as he rolls over.

“Go back to sleep, bud. I love you,” I reply, and gently shut his door.

Back upstairs, I light my candles and prepare for the last day of 2015 following my familiar morning rituals. Candles. Journal. Quotes to think on.

I notice the cantaloupe-colored sunrise just beginning to peek through my open window. There’s frost on the roof next door, and the trees are bare, thin branches mimicking the overhead power lines across the street. The candles flicker around me.

This won’t be the first New Year’s Eve we’ve spent apart from our four-person family. Our plans carefully crafted to coincide with Lily’s trip home from college, altered when C crashed into a tree ten days ago, taking the impact with his head.

Grateful for his high-tech ski helmet. Grateful he walked away.

2015 with mamawolfe

It’s been a rough journey for my boy since August 3, 2014, when he broke his leg on a race course at Mt. Hood, Oregon. Three days back into training this year, another setback.

I’m grateful he will recover. But I’m tired of this.

I’ve been in too many ERs and hospitals and exam rooms; I’ve read chapters and chapters in waiting areas and labs. I’ve asked occasionally for help, I’ve questioned and I’ve accepted. Mostly, I’ve kept it all inside.

I can “Fakebook” with the best of them.

I know how to selectively post, how to check in and let you know where we are. I gram and tweet and snap and I could tell you what a high school friend ate for breakfast (PG and J), who is on a romantic night away from the kids ( 🙂 ), and which motivated friends crawled out of bed in the dark for a frosty run. I see your smiles as you ski, the shared meals and new loves. I can almost see your life right there, your clues about 2015 shining through your status updates.

I see the pride, the hope, the joy and sometimes if you’re honest, a glimmer of sadness – all amidst those ordinary moments of living this journey.

Facebook proclaims it’s 2016 in Australia now, so the resolutions have begun. The lists, the fill-in-the-blanks, the wishes and dreams that maybe if we say them out loud, might just come true.

Instead, I pull out the box of memories I keep faithfully filling year after year, and open my journal from 2014.

Just curious, I think. What’s changed? How have I filled a year’s worth of living?

The cover proclaims, “yes to growing and reaching, yes to healing, yes to soulfulness, yes to joy,  yes to vulnerability, yes to change, yes to beginnings.”

Yes, I think. I’ve said yes to all of that this year.

Scanning the pages, I remember how sick I was this time last year – down on the couch, coughing and achy and sneezy kind of sick. Today, I feel well.

Last year I was reflective, grateful, struggling with change and believing in possibilities for the year ahead. I dreamed of joy and understanding.

I was hopeful.

It’s an hour later, and not much has changed. The sun is peeking through, reminding me that blue skies will be here soon. I can sill see the melon colored hue melding into the fog; the frost still clings to the roof tiles, and this, here and now, is still my extraordinary life.

Tonight I’ll ring out the old, I’ll let go of 2015. I’ll ring in the true.

This year, I’ll remember who I wanted to be when I grow up. I’ll trust the journey that’s taking me there.

 

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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No New Year’s Resolutions

Donner Lake, CA
Donner Lake, CA

“Mom, do you make New Year’s Resolutions?” my son quietly asked as we drove down Donner Summit.

I glanced over at his fuzzy head, his cheeks tinged pink from a morning of skiing. “No, not anymore. Why?”

The water of Donner Lake sparkled to our right. He hesitated before responding.

“Just wondering. Why not?”

“Well,” I hesitated, not wanting to dim his desire for goal setting before the new year has even hit. “I just got frustrated with them, especially when they didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to.”

He sat with that for a moment. “What do you do instead?”

“I choose a word instead – kind of a mantra for the year. That seems to work better for me,” I replied.

“Oh, that’s cool. What was your word for this year?” he quickly shot back.

“I had a hard time thinking of one, to be honest. It turns out that the word just sort of came to me, eventually.”

“Well…..” he pushed further. “What was it?”

My eyes stared forward, the snow and majesty of our location dimming. “Change,” I answered quietly. “This year was about change.” I could feel the tears welling in my eyes.

“Oh.” His mouth turned up into a sly smile. “I think my word for the year will be rambunctious.”

“Really?” It came out as sort of a sputter as I tried not to laugh.

“Yeah. Rambunctious. I don’t really know what it means, but I like the way it sounds,” he stated confidently. At least he could pronounce it, I thought.

“Why don’t you look it up first before you decide?” I replied, not so sure about his choice as the rigors of his new ski academy lifestyle flashed in contradiction.

I heard the unmistakable beep of his phone. “Siri, what does ‘rambunctious’ mean?” Oh right -he is fourteen, after all.

“Rambunctious. Difficult to control or handle. Wildly boisterous. Turbulently active or noisy,” Siri acknowledged in her methodically calm voice.

“Oh.” The smile slowly left his face. “Maybe I’ll think on that.”

“Yeah, think on that,” I echoed as we turned into the parking lot. “Let’s go get some lunch. You must be hungry”

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? What word would you choose as your mantra for 2014?

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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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