What does your morning routine look like before you start work? Do you spend time scrolling social media, the news, do you postpone starting work? When you are working from home this can be even worse as there is nobody around to make you accountable other than yourself.
It is important to have effective mindfulness routines in the morning for several reasons: they set you up for the day, they help you focus, they increase productivity and it is good for your overall mental health.
Here are some of my mindfulness routines. I don’t do them all every morning, I mix them up. Except for no. 1! Obviously!
Wake up on time
Now this might sound like an obvious one but this is one of the most effective mindfulness routines when you work from home AND this is not always easy. It is however paramount to starting your day right. I get up between 6-6.30am. I have a cup of lemon/ginger tea and depending on what my next mindfulness activity is I have a shower and get ready for the day.
I do journaling before I start my working day and it has really helped me improve my focus for the day. I use it to organise my thoughts and make them apprehensible. Sometimes this means it functions as a brain dump, so I can get all the thoughts and ideas that I have in my head on paper. Sometimes it means I am doodling or writing down ideas I have for my business. It all depends on how I am feeling that morning.
Journaling has many advantages, it helps improve your writing skills, it relieves stress, it boosts your memory and it is great for self-reflection.
When you start buy yourself a beautiful notebook and pens as this makes it more special and will make you want to write!
Another effective mindfulness routine when you are working from home is meditation. I started meditating a couple of years ago. At the time it was because I had no job and was not coping very well with not working. Meditation helped me become more aware of my body and state of mind. Research has shown that meditation has the potential of more than just temporary stress relief. It improves physical well-being and emotional health.
Now when I meditate, I usually do it early in the morning. I sit in my study, as the light is amazing there early in the morning. I either do progressive relaxation or breath awareness meditation. Progressive relaxation is also called ‘body scan’ as it is the practice where you concentrate on different parts of your body to see where there is tension so you can release it. Breath awareness meditation concentrates, as the name says, on breathing techniques.
No matter the time of year, 3 times a week, early in the morning I go outside to exercise. This is usually a walk or a jog. Walking is part of my weekly routine, I cannot not walk in the morning. Early exercise makes you feel more energised and prepared for the day, it increases the mood because of the increase in endorphins, serotonin and dopamine and the body’s cortisol levels (stress hormones) decrease. On top of that exercise helps relieve tension and relax your muscles.
Because of exercising I also sleep better in the evening. Research has shown that people who exercise early in the morning experience a deeper, longer sleep than people who exercise in the afternoon or evening.
Visualisation is a very effective mindfulness routine which you can adopt when working from home. I started doing this after I read Tara Mohr’s book ‘Playing Big’. I mentioned Tara and her book in my blog ‘Here is why change is good’. Tara teaches about the inner critic and the inner mentor.
The inner mentor is the person you want to be in the future. In other words where do you want to be in 10-15 years time, privately and professionally. You visualise yourself in the future: Where do you live, what do you look like, what stage is your business at, what does your day look like, how many clients do you have, how many people work for you etc etc. It gives you a clear view of where you want to be in x amount of years and what you need to do now to get there.
Mindfulness routines help me set myself up for the day, they help me be more focused, productive and have increased my mental health. There are great websites out there with tips, one of them is https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/drugs-and-treatments/mindfulness/mindfulness-exercises-tips/
Do you have other routines that help you? I would love to hear about them.