People have habits of every sort, and the healthier they are the better. Practicing simple morning rituals that are geared toward our well-being mean more than just having a better day—they mean having a better life.
As a teacher, the stresses of the profession can take their toll quickly if not managed well. You want to start the day off right and set a tone for success and productivity. Here are 5 tried-and-true simple morning rituals to consider beginning your day with. Do one, two, three, or all of them if you’re ambitious—they’ll prime you perfectly for the amazing day ahead.
1. Make Your Bed
“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”—William McRaven
SEAL commander Admiral William McRaven advocates this simple act as both a cathartic and a symbolic way to begin your day. It gives you a sense of accomplishment and provides both physical and psychological order and harmony early on. Consequently, that sense of order and accomplishment follows you into the remainder of your day.
“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day,” says McRaven. “It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another … making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.” And they most certainly do.
2. Do the Hard Tasks First
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”—Mark Twain
Although we don’t recommend eating a live frog, it is beneficial nevertheless to get the tough stuff out of the way first. Rhett Power writes, “not only is a person tackling the most difficult task when they have the most energy and willpower, but everything after that seems easy.”
Is the hardest task answering morning emails? Organizing the daily lessons? How about important phone calls? Perhaps it’s more personal, like getting the kids off to school or making the family breakfast. No matter what your most challenging tasks of the day are, tackle them first and get them off your plate. You’ll be glad you did.
“If you don’t have your health, you’ve got nothing.”—Sylvester Stallone
Of all the simple morning rituals you could perform to begin the day, regular exercise is king for a few reasons. First of all, when we’re healthy life is more simply enjoyable. Secondly, being in prime health lets us remain adaptable and resilient in the face of challenge. Third, having strength in any form helps us pursue opportunities with gusto and efficiency. When you’re healthy, there’s nothing you can’t take on.
Personal health and wellness are the cornerstones of true success, and they are our only real wealth. So beginning the day with some form of exercise is something to seriously consider. Keep in mind, though, we aren’t talking about a 4:00 AM marathon (unless you’re into that sort of thing).
You can keep it fast and loose and still reap the rewards through consistency. For example, author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss does 5–10 reps of “something” every morning. Try pushups, bodyweight squats, dips, active stretches, or take a quick morning walk or jog. Ultimately the goal is to attain a consistency that becomes your go-to practice to prime your mind and body for the day, and for lifelong health and wellness.
“I can end up just totally wacky because I’ve made mountains out of molehills. With meditation, I can keep them as molehills.”—Ringo Starr
Many of the world’s most successful people do this every morning. You’ll find meditation a practice for folks from all walks of life—from Buddhist monks like Zen Master Hsing Yun, to business magnates like Sir Richard Branson and actors such as Dolph Lundgren. Their lists of simple morning rituals wouldn’t be complete without a morning meditation session.
According to Live and Dare, daily meditation carries a host of benefits for the practitioner including:
- Decreasing depression
- Regulating mood and anxiety disorders
- Increasing grey matter concentration in the brain
- Reducing cravings
- Increasing resistance to physical and emotional distress
- Improving learning, memory, and self-awareness
- Reducing blood pressure
- Strengthening the immune system
Leo Babauta from Zen Habits has written the most wonderful article for beginners who want to start meditating. He recommends starting easy and not getting caught up in structure and ritual. It’s important to learn to enjoy the process, and his 20 tips will help you do just that.
5. Do Some Journalling
“It’s not my job to entertain anyone in my diary.” —David Sedaris
The above quote puts everything about what it means to keep a daily journal in perspective. It is for you and you alone and to be filled, as Wordsworth said, with the “breathings of your heart.” Moreover, journalling can be as therapeutic an experience as … well, therapy. After all, it is a form of treatment for the pressures of the day that we give to ourselves, in that it’s a form of release and self-expression like no other.
To some, journalling is one of those simple morning rituals that doubles as a constructive hobby. That said, what if you don’t like writing? In that case there are other options. Reading for 10 or 20 minutes each morning can have the same kinds of beneficial effects. You could also try something more creative like scrapbooking, painting, or drawing. Whatever you choose, the point is to spend a few minutes each morning expressing yourself in the way that resonates most with you.
What simple morning rituals are at the top of your list? What do you do to set up the day for success each morning?