One lovely day, I was sitting with my sister Rachel by a waterfall in the Redwoods, sipping on some tea and playing guitar. Rachel is the embodiment of self-care, feminine lifestyle, and a dear friend. We’re a beautiful balance: She’s a tad more feminine lifestyle and I’m a tad more feminine leadership. That’s why we make a potent potion and are collaborating to lead another weekend women’s retreat in March (testimonials below and photos from the last retreat peppered throughout this article).
As we were talking about our intentions for the upcoming months, she asked me about my mornings: Did I have a ritual? Well, over the years, I’ve ebbed and flowed with all kinds of mornings, some more structured than others. But I’ve never really had an intentional “ritual” that I did in the mornings.
Did I want one? Definitely. Did I really believe it would dramatically change my life? No. So the first step in trying to develop a morning ritual was suspending that belief for a moment. The second step: What if I designed the morning ritual to be a menu of self-care behaviors that I could choose from? Typically, I would be so rigid with myself I would either get frustrated or bored. My design thinking brain started to tick. There would need to be a delicate balance between structure and variety.
I started experimenting with it the following months and WOW, did it begin to enhance my entire day. The benefits were astounding (see below).
8 Benefits To A Morning Ritual
- Feeling more grounded and embodied
- Slowing down so that you can tune into your intuition
- Feeling less reactive, and more intentional, as you start your work day
- Batching your energy sources and self-care in a defined amount of time (it’s efficient!)
- Feeling more productive without feeling fragmented
- Synching with your natural feminine rhythms and those of nature
- Having more space and pause to make choices that nourish you
- Conserving your decision-making power for creative and productive work
Here’s my most practical tip and tweak that changed the game for me: I started doing something that I call “bookending.” A bookend is a behavior you open and close your morning with. It could be the same behavior or a different one. For me, they’re different. The act that tells my mind-body “you are now starting your morning ritual” is drinking a cup of water. The act that tells my mind-body “you are now ending your morning ritual” is putting on my make-up. Everything in between is a menu that I can choose from that includes boosting my energy, hygiene, getting organized, and setting intentions for the day. The bookends never change. And I expand and contract the ritual depending on how much time I have in the mornings. Sometimes it’s 30 minutes and sometimes it’s a whopping 3 hours (those days are fabulous).
But a layer deeper than practicality: inspiration. It became clear to me that I really only committed to a morning ritual when I felt inspired by Rachel to do it. And that inspiration is very powerful. If you aren’t inspired, then it will be almost impossible to develop the ritual, no matter how many tricks and tips (like “bookending”) you have.
The more that I work with myself and other women in creating long-lasting transformation, the more I realize the value of re-wiring our beliefs. If deep down you don’t believe a morning ritual is valuable, then you’ll never do it. If deep down you’ve internalized beliefs about being a woman martyr who saves the world and doesn’t take care of herself, you’ll never actually prioritize this vital inner work. Deep down, I didn’t really believe that a morning ritual would have such a huge impact on my day. I was a bit skeptical, even though I’ve been doing this work for years. It was only until I suspended that belief and made a crucial tweak that I saw the entire shift occur. It can happen for you, too.
This post originally appeared on MariaMolfino.com.
Photo: pdpics / Pixabay