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5 Morning Rituals That Can Help Caregivers Face the Day

Jun 02, 2021

Part 2 of 3: How Rituals Can Save Your Sanity and Make You a Better Caregiver

In Part 1 of this series, we reviewed the difference between rituals, routines, and habits. (If you haven’t read Part 1 – “What is a Ritual – and How Can It Help Caregivers?”, you should read it first!) The main difference is that rituals involve mindfulness, allowing us to be in the moment and reflect on where we are, mind, body, and soul. This is also one of the five steps in the MOVE Method, an approach I developed to help reduce caregiver compassion fatigue.

In this post, we’ll explore how morning rituals can help you centre yourself so you can face the day and reach Balanced Success.

Attitude is everything, as they say. Although that’s too simplistic to be entirely true, getting yourself into the right mindset is important. Not only will it make you a better caregiver, it will help you be a calmer person – you don’t want to be so on edge that you bite the head off the Starbucks Barista for getting your macchiato whatchamacallit wrong. (Not that you would. But I’m sure all you caregivers out there can relate to fighting the urge!)

So how do you get yourself into the right mindset? Morning rituals will help!

Are You an Early Bird or a Night Owl? It Makes a Difference...

I try to greet every morning with enthusiasm. Yes, I can hear a lot of you non-morning people groan out there. You’re one of those people. If you’re not naturally a morning person, that makes morning rituals all the more important. (I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m not naturally a morning person either! That’s why these five morning rituals work for me.)

Consider this: We know from a ton of research that productive people wake up early. There are fewer distractions, greater creativity, and less stress when you are alone. That’s important as a caregiver too, since you need time alone to get yourself centred. The more successful you are at waking up early, the more successful you’ll be accomplishing your morning routine.

Even if you are a night owl, you can train yourself to get up early. Take it slowly and start with waking up 15 minutes earlier every week or every few days. Then, try my 5 morning rituals to help you face your day.

My Morning Ritual

Here are my five morning rituals that I do every morning upon waking. They are surprisingly simple and help me set up my day for Balanced Success.

1. When My Alarm Rings, I Get Up!

Get up when your alarm rings to feel more refreshed and to get a better jump on the day.Snooze buttons are the enemies of enthusiasm. We might think we’re “treating” ourselves, but really what we’re doing is robbing ourselves of the opportunity to get an early start, which often brings on the stress of rushing around when we hit that button once too often!

Besides, that idea of “extra” sleep is an illusion that does us no good anyway. Five to 10 minutes is not long enough to get in a full sleep cycle – and in fact we might feel even groggier and fatigued when we do get up.

I know – I’ve been there! I’ve had mornings when I wake up thinking, I just can’t face the day. Sometimes it feels like I don’t have the energy to get up at all. But of course, not getting up is not an option. I can tell you from experience that the best strategy is to avoid that false temptation altogether. Getting up immediately and getting on with my day with enthusiasm is a morning ritual that has helped my mindset immensely.

2. I Make My Bed

Making your bed in the morning means you've accomplished one task in the day almost immediately.I was skeptical at first, too. But I’ve found this morning ritual to be a game-changer for me. Here’s why.

Navy Seals Admiral William McRaven said once, "If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day.” Even though I don’t plan to join the Navy Seals anytime soon, this is a good rule of thumb for everyone.

That’s because there is excellent research to support why the simple action of making your bed will transform your life. https://www.verywellmind.com/mental-health-benefits-of-making-your-bed-5093540 First, it will give you a small sense of pride – something that will help greatly with your enthusiasm! It also will encourage you to do another task, and then another, and then another... Making your bed also reinforces that the little details matter, and that often, little things add up to big things quickly.

Finally, it’s no small thing that when you go back into your room at the end of the day, a neat and tidy bed is a wonderful thing to return to!

3. I Choose Who I Want to Be That Day

I don’t wake up happy every morning. Let’s break that illusion if you ever had it. When I talk about greeting the day with enthusiasm and hopping out of bed when the alarm rings, these are not natural reactions for me! No, this is a carefully planned ritual I follow so that if I wake up not happy – or drained, or tired, or fed up – I can change my attitude.

This is one of the great things about humans – a superpower, even. We can choose our mood mindfully. Like in the Starbucks example above: we can choose to give into our urge to lash out, or we can choose to show grace, eagerness, and enthusiasm with a smile.

Clothes can play an important part in choosing who you want to be, too. Never underestimate the power of clothes! Decide who you want to be – fun, focused, flashy, whatever – and dress the part. It’s another way to spark that motivation within you.

4. I Experience Gratitude

Experience your gratitudes by remembering back, then write down how they made you feel.Gratitudes, blessings, things you’re grateful for – no matter what you call it, this simple ritual can do wonders for boosting your enthusiasm. It’s a way of showing yourself that things aren’t as desperate as they may seem. We humans tend to focus on the things that stress us out – the negatives. Focusing on the positives in our lives instead helps brings balance, not to mention a good dose of reality. It’s also another way that we can choose our attitudes – it’s no coincidence that “gratitude” and “attitude” are close in spelling!

(Here’s a great article on some of the psychology of gratitude, if you’re interested.)

It’s helpful to write down your gratitudes as you reflect on them. Choose three to five gratitudes from recent days and re-live them. Write down not just the gratitude but how you feel about the gratitude and why.

A word of caution: it is easy to fake gratitude. That’s why I specifically call this morning ritual “experiencing” gratitude. It’s easy to write down that you’re grateful for the sun, grateful for your kids, blah, blah, blah. Of course you are! But if you’re reciting a list of obvious things, you’re not feeling or experiencing a thing.

Instead, be more specific. I’m grateful for the new flowers that sprung up in the garden yesterday, thanks to the sun and the rain, because they give me hope. Or, I’m grateful for the dinner my daughter made for us last night because I felt relieved that I didn’t have to make dinner myself, it makes me feel appreciated, and it makes me feel proud of her. Etc., etc. Specific examples will be more heartfelt, and therefore the experience will be stronger for you, and ultimately more healing.

5. I Move My Body

Another piece of the MOVE Method is moving your body. I won’t rehash this too much again here (click on the link to read the whole post!) but as a quick recap: moving your body helps in several ways. You immediately get the blood pumping. In the long term, moving your body helps you stay fit and therefore be stronger and more energized for the physical aspects of caregiving. As a morning ritual, it’s also a way to de-stress and ensure you have some “me” time!

Morning Rituals Help Caregivers Believe in Themselves

Morning rituals help you believe in yoruself.There you have it: the five morning rituals that help caregivers face the day. I know a lot of this sounds like what some people of a certain age would call “hippy-dippy”. I’ve said throughout that I was skeptical too when I first tried these rituals out. But my approach in developing these morning rituals was scientific, I can assure you. The true litmus test is this: Do these five morning rituals work? And for me, the answer has been yes.

I’m not asking you to believe in crystals or auras or anything you don’t already believe in. I’m just asking you to believe in yourself. That’s at the core of each of the five morning rituals: a belief in yourself. You have the power to motivate yourself. And even if you wake up unmotivated, you can get that engine warmed up by literally going through the motions. Get up with the alarm clock. Make your bed. Move your body. Give thanks and gratitude. You deserve to thrive, not just survive! These little morning rituals that you do for yourself will motivate you and inspire you to do the things you need to do today.

With enthusiasm.

I am so confident in these five morning rituals that if after 90 days you have not seen breakthroughs in your life, contact me for a free 30-minute coaching call. I want to help you face the day with enthusiasm, and bring Balanced Success to your life!

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