In the temperate Northern Hemisphere, Easter corresponds to spring – a time of beginning, of hope, of renewal. This is probably why the Feast of the Resurrection of Christ – the oldest and most important festival of the Northern-centric Christian faith – is celebrated at this time: Jesus’s being brought back to life after death paved the way for us all for salvation – the beginning of a new life, a new life in the Lord.
So I’d like to use this post-Easter period to talk about, literally, the beginning of each day: the morning.
Not everyone is a morning person. I myself shilly-shally about being a day lark or night owl – there are some times I want to tuck in early and experience the sunrise with the world; other times, I work until the so-called devil’s hour (3 am) and don’t give much of a damn what time I wake up (so long as it’s before 10 am).
But what I do have, regardless of time I wake up or hours I sleep, is a morning routine. Like an onion’s layers, mine is multileveled – I have a “level one” routine that absolutely must be done, and I have a “level two” routine that is not so critical, but would greatly benefit me when carried out.
Strictly speaking, level one isn’t a matter of life and death, or a question of my being unable to function properly as a human being (unless you count, say, putting my 500-grade glasses on), but I absolutely couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do those things. Call it pride if you will; I call it awareness – to self, to others, and to my possessions. I choose to act because I want to use my abilities to make life good for myself, for others, and my things. And there are six such reasons.
1. I want to begin the day with my Lord.
Though I don’t always get to do this, especially if I wake up a little late, am abroad, or need to leave early, I want to begin my day as much as possible in communion with my God. This frees me from the arrogance of believing I can make it entirely on my own – an utter falsehood, because I know I draw my strength from God and the people around me. As such, I want to begin my day by entrusting it to the Lord.
This takes any of several forms: a praying of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, a reading from my God’s Little Devotional Book and a semi-lectio divina (divine reading) of the corresponding Scriptural verse(s), or, lately, praying over my prayer material as assigned in my Christian Life Community group.
2. I want to start my day positively.
Beyond prayer, having a positive morning routine supercharges me to start – and hopefully maintain – the day on a positive note. As they say about great speeches and presentations, begin with a bang – impress yourself and keep it going. After all, who wants to begin their day gloomily, sadly, or angrily? It would affect your outlook on things, and your productivity – and so, you can choose how to affect and act about it.
East Asians also define “beauty” as inner beauty – that is, a healthy digestion system and flow. I always make sure to use the toilet and apply my morning facial skincare regimen every morning, with a cup of coffee at 10 am to provide a little boost if needed. Really, feeling clean from within does make me more positive!
But my latest addition to said routine is inspired by BuzzFeed – on days I don’t go to the gym, I do the Morning Dance Challenge and dance crazily, with all the blinds drawn and the door locked, to three songs. No one judges me how I dance, and I do it to my own liking, thus making me feel good and confident about the day ahead.
My Morning Dance playlist can be found on Spotify here.
3. I want to give my body the treatment it deserves.
As mentioned above, I have a Morning Dance routine – but after that, that’s not all. I do a few abs exercises then and there, before getting up to have bone broth and whatever breakfast I can have.
However, twice a week, I visit the gym for rather more intensive exercises. Lately, with my niece returning home from the USA, we now do swimming regularly as well.
Not only does my bathroom routine (which I dub my “rituals”) make me feel positive, but I am giving my body well-deserved treatment – a cleansing, inside and outside, and prepping it up for the day ahead. Even if the greater part of the day is to be spent working at home, I still bathe and freshen up. My body wash, which has a cooling sensation, helps make me feel nice and fresh instead of hot and sticky, as is typical for the horrendously hot climate I live in.
Part of self-awareness is self-care, and that applies to your body as well. It’s an earthly temple of God to dwell in, it’s what you present to the society before you, and it’s you. Not caring for your body means not caring for yourself well, and that can translate to poorer self-awareness – thereby hindering you from living your truly best life.
4. I don’t want to inconvenience the household help.
Reality check: Not every household can afford help. But also, reality check: there are those who do, and we’re lucky to be counted among them.
Our kasambahays are already loaded with so much things to do – as of the time I first wrote this post, there are two of them cleaning a two-storey, three-bedroom house spread over two lots. It’s not an easy job, not to mention the scandalously hot weather we encounter almost always.
5. I want to get mes affaires in order.
Les affaires is French for both business (like “affairs” in English) and possessions, and this simply means being on top of my game – in all aspects. It’s also an exercise in mindfulness, since you actually make the time to doing these things, knowing how important and valuable it is.
Semi-literally being on top of things is also the KonMari way – of tidying up and not letting my possessions get the better of me. True, it’s better to tidy and prepare the night before, prior to going to sleep. But a morning routine gives me the time and opportunity to prepare my things for the day through a different perspective, with the mindfulness of the present time rather than the semi-distant foresight of the night before.
Making my bed is also an example of my being on top of things. And with a planned-out, scheduled routine, there’s no need to be in such a rush, meaning you don’t have to rush to work or your appointment having left your room or bathroom in a state of calamity.
I can also be on top of my business better from a morning routine. It gives me the chance and freedom to work out what I’ll be doing for the day, allowing me to prepare beforehand. It also empowers me as I know that I’m going to be doing certain things with certain benefits.
For example, my exercise routine indicates that I have already set aside time for that aspect of my health, so the rest of the time can be spent on work, leisure, or relationships. On the other hand, knowing I have an appointment in the afternoon allows me to restrict myself to do other things only until x minutes before said appointment. (I still get late a lot, but it’s a helpful indicator nonetheless. :p)
6. I want to be ready.
I wrote a post several years ago about the importance of being ready ASAP in the morning, something my mother always instills in me. (Ironically, as I type this, I’m preparing for a shower.) Her purpose for such is that she can be “on call” – ready for anything at a moment’s notice.
How would you feel if you had a sudden or urgent errand, but you’re still in your pajamas and haven’t brushed your teeth yet? (This has happened to me.) On the other hand, what if you were already spruced up and groomed to face the day?
A routine (hopefully!) takes into account the time for these morning “rituals”, so that by the end of it, when you’re ready to do other things such as build your business or plan your next viral video, you won’t be doing so looking like a vampire, but like someone who really is on top of their game.
What’s your morning routine? Let’s discuss below!