Starting Off the Day on the Right Foot

Zzz. Zzzz. Zzzz.

RING RING!! RING RING!!

Laying face down on my bed, my body lays motionless as I snooze the phone alarm with my left hand. It’s 6:07am. Snoozing my phone gives me an extra 8 minutes. I close my eyes again.

Zzzzzz…

RING RING!! RING RING!!

This time I get myself up, grab the phone and shut off the alarm for good. One of the cats is at the foot of the bed sitting up, staring at me. I pet him on his furry blackish brown head; he happily lets out his patented purring. I stand up and head to the bathroom to wash up.

I walk back to the bedroom, get dressed and go to the kitchen as I make my way past the other cat resting on the three-story cat tree. As the coffee is brewing, I set myself up on the yoga mat to perform my daily stretching routine. It consists of several stretches, focusing on each part of my body one at a time. It takes about as long as for the coffee to be finished.

This is my daily weekday routine before work. Months ago, I incorporated a quick meditation session, but lately I have been going to bed too late so I haven’t had the energy to wake up early enough to meditate. Instead, the stretching routine has been very beneficial in preparing myself for a day of mindfulness. Doing each stretch, really listening to my body as I feel my muscles speaking to me. Especially in the mornings after waking up, the muscles speak the loudest. This stretching routine helps me jumpstart my day to remind myself to remain mindful.

It is so easy to wake up, go mindlessly into work, perform the scheduled tasks, eat lunch, do more drudgery for money, drive back home and eat dinner, then wind down and go to sleep, only to wake up to do it all over again. I used to be like that. But why did I choose to live my life that way?

Because it seemed easier to turn off the mind and just let routine take over. It wasn’t healthy, however, for my mental well-being.

After learning about meditation, after experiencing it for myself, and then learning about mindfulness as well, it seems as if I live an entirely different life from a year ago. Although I do the same things, the way I feel is completely new. Staying mindful throughout the day, I can appreciate more of life and what it has to offer. Some things I have overlooked in the past, things that were right in front of my face that I would brush off, I now realize how valuable they are to me—things like appreciating a good cup of coffee, the smell of fresh air in the morning, a “Hello” from a co-worker asking how my weekend was.

I admit, however, it isn’t easy at times. There are days when I forgot to be mindful; I forget to take some deep breaths to center myself. I will go a whole day at work without observing my breath or listening to how my body feels. But starting the day with that stretching routine helps. It gives me those first few moments of the morning to get my mind right. Most of the time, it carries over to the rest of the day.

There’s no time like the present. There’s always the here and now. And that’s what being mindful has done for me—learning to appreciate the present, the here and now.

In my mind, the past has already come and gone so it does no good to dwell on it. In my mind, the future is not promised, so worrying about it may be worthless. The present, however, is a gift—a gift that I try to be mindful enough to appreciate.

 

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24 thoughts on “Starting Off the Day on the Right Foot”

  1. Hello, meditation has been a huge help for my partner and I, he has anxiety and adhd that he deals with and we are looking for more natural ways to help instead of going straight to medication! Do you have any references or ideas for how to find a stretching routine? I’m looking for something less like yoga and more just morning stretching.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have been starting my day with stretches for years. I slip on and off the wagon with this, sometimes savouring sleep or a lie in with my beloved instead (or the cat), and I supplement it with a morning walk as well. I’ve done silent Vipassana retreats 3 times, once in Thailand with a monk who incorporated walking meditation into the retreat – I find the focused movement is easier for my mindfulness than the sitting, and I confess I’ve only truly practiced Vipassana meditation successfully outside of camp when being towed up and over a couple of mountains with a broken leg and no pain killers. Side note, operations (3), swelling and healing were all best case scenario, which I attribute to that pain relieving meditation on the mount. Nice blog.

    Like

    1. Lovely blog! I too practise mindfulness and as a mental health survivor have found it so helpful and even awe inspiring. Thank you for my the follow. I run a mental health blog too https://takecaredearmind.wordpress.com
      Will be happy if you visited it n found it interesting. Doing a blogpost on mindfulness for mental health too is on my cards for sometime now n I am suddenly thinking if you would like to collaborate. It’ll be my pleasure to have you do a guest article.
      Enjoyed your write ups. Best wishes! Keep them coming..

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree, the morning is definitely a place to set how the rest of the day unfolds. I haven’t managed to meditate in the mornings either, but I try to be mindful whilst I am doing chores or showering or whatever. I more often than not forget, I’m much further back in my journey than you!

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  4. Great post! As being new to meditation this year, I’m finding it hard to get into a routine and find time to meditate everyday. I do enjoy meditating when I actually find the time. As I feel like it’s the only time I can actually forget about my worries and just focus on the present, that exact moment. But sometimes I do find it hard to control negative thoughts coming into my head whilst meditating, which sometimes during meditating I can be brought to tears and not even realise.

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  5. When I first started my relationship with meditation a year ago, I noticed a drastic difference in my attention to detail and focus on the present. But now, I find it becoming harder and harder to avoid distractions in my practice. It’s almost like my meditation is becoming part of the mindless routine. Does that make sense? Do you have any advice from your own experience on how to keep meditation feeling like a fresh experience?

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    1. Hi, what you are saying definitely makes sense. I have a few suggestions that may or may not work for you, or perhaps you have already tried what I will suggest. Meditate somewhere new; whether it is a different room, or somewhere outside. Try a meditative walk. Sometimes a change of scenery can reinvigorate your practice. Try an app on your phone/tablet, such as the guided meditation app Headspace or Insight Timer. I haven’t used either personally but I have heard good things. Perhaps even take a break from meditation. Tell yourself you won’t practice for a couple weeks. Then after those two weeks, meditate again and see how you feel about it. Research online other techniques of meditation. There are a lot of different ways to meditate, so maybe trying another technique can keep it fresh for you. I hope I was able to help you. I wish you good luck 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks! Headspace is great, and there are a couple tapes for meditative walking. I’ll check it out! And yes, I must remind myself taking a break is okay, and the goal doesn’t have to be being mindful ALL the time.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I need get back into my mediation routine. I was doing so good starting my mornings with my meditation and it started getting cooler and cooler I stopped shivering in my mediation space and well, it’s been like two months. This reminds me of how amazing it was for me and renews my focus to get back into routine!

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