Updated: May 26, 2020
The Undeniable Importance Of A Morning Routine To Get You Primed For The Day
Last night was not a good night for sleep.
By all accounts I got to sleep just fine, as my wife told me this morning that she found me asleep with my kindle still switched on, although it had been casually abandoned on her pillow. I woke up at two am feeling like I was sleeping in a sauna.
I could hear the growling and grumbling that the old pipework in a fifty year old house tends to make at even the mere thought of having to channel hot water around the house, and so I knew we had left the heating on overnight.
I fumbled around for my phone in the dark and made a lot of noise in the process. My wife gave me the kind of groan that generally means 'you've woken me up and I'm really pissed off but I haven't got enough energy to actually have a go at you, or even speak'.
The phone lit up on full brightness, illuminating the room as if the sun was actually physically in the room with us. Another groan from my wife, followed by her noisily burying her head under the pillow. I'm in big trouble in the morning.
I accessed the app that allows me to control the heating from the phone but it didn't respond. It was happy to let me know that the temperature in the house was a swelteringly tropical 23.5 degrees but it wouldn't let me do anything about it.
I had no choice but to go downstairs and do it manually, which would also mean waking the dog up. The dog doesn't like to go back to bed once she's woken up. The dog runs the house.
I sorted the heating out on the physical thermostat and retreated to the couch to attempt to doze for a few hours, rather than risk waking my wife up again. The dog joined me on the couch. What that actually entails is a medium sized Tibetan Terrier sprawling on her back and somehow managing to magically transform herself into a dog the size of a Great Dane. My dog is three times larger than normal when she sleeps on her back. You also can't disturb a sleeping dog, it's an unspoken rule of dog ownership, and so I curled up into a small corner of the couch and tugged a blanket over me to keep warm.
The dog was asleep in seconds and snoring loudly. The minutes felt like hours. My mind kicked in and began thinking about lots of things that didn't need urgent attention. It kindly reminded me that it's my friend's birthday today, and it even thought that now would be a perfect time to get up and wrap his present and write his card. It reminded me that I had two zoom meetings that morning and that I need to make sure I have breakfast before the first one. It began to list the menu of things I could have for breakfast, even though it knows that when it comes down to it I will have the same Deliciously Ella Original Granola with extra raisins and Alpro Coconut and Almond Milk that I always do.
It somehow got to be 6.30am, and that seemed to be a reasonable time to get up. I was feeling understandably exhausted, a bit grumpy, and my back was sore from scrunching up on a far too comfy sofa.
I have my secret weapons though. An artillery of disciplines that I have developed over recent years that gets me out of any morning funk and into a primed and raring to go state.
It starts with a ten minute meditation. Often done whilst lying down, but sometimes done sitting up. I don't follow any particular method or discipline, but just try to stay as present as I can with the sensations in my body as I breathe. I'm pretty loose with this, allowing my mind and body to wake up slowly.
I follow this with 21 repetitions of the Five Tibetan Rites. An ancient practice that is designed to activate and balance your inner energy systems. This takes about 15 minutes, but after only three minutes I can feel myself come to life. By the end of the entire sequence I am tingling all over and re-energised. There are some great videos on YouTube about this. This one is quite a simple one to get started with:
But I would definitely recommend reading the official book of the practice which explains how the Rites came to be passed down, and also details the five rites fully; it's rather strangely, and a bit too commercially called The Ancient Secret Of The Fountain Of Youth.
I'm not sure specifically what it is about the Five Tibetan Rites that is so profoundly powerful but it never fails. I've done it before with hangovers, illness and just the general morning apathy. I often dread the thought of it, even though I know it is only 15 minutes long and I will feel great afterwards. But, if I push myself on, and I am on over 100 consecutive days now, I am always glad I did it and I feel pumped, primed and ready to take on anything.
So I shook off a terrible night with carefree abandon, and swaggered confidently into a brand new day - albeit in boxer shorts.