As you already know, I am very much an early bird and my most productive hours of the day are in the morning. I’m pretty useless after lunch, concentration-wise, especially now that I’m pregnant! I usually hang up my thinking cap in favour of a nap in the afternoons, and finish off any work I need to do in the evening (if I get a second wind). I was so worried at the beginning of my pregnancy that I would never be able to wake up early or do anything productive ever again! Just getting up and walking the dogs every day seemed a monumental task (made even worse if I forgot to eat something as soon as I opened my eyes), and I was often back in the sack for round two of shut eye by 10am! I’m happy to say that my energy slowly returned with the second trimester, and now that the unbearable Stellenbosch summer heat has finally calmed the fuck down, I’m feeling better than ever in my my third trimester. Well enough, in fact, to have started a wonderful morning routine over the past few weeks. And yes, I even stuck to it on our baby moon – I mean, what else are you going to do when you wake up at sparrow’s fart with no hangover every day? This routine ensures that I start off the day gently and purposefully. I feel so much calmer and way more productive throughout the day, which has been so important to keeping me on track during a time where I could very easily get lost down a rabbit hole of pregnancy, birth and baby fixation.
1 | put your alarm on
I’m a huge fan of the Five AM Club, a concept I first heard about through reading Robin Sharma‘s books. I firmly believe that the hours between five and six am (sometimes even four and six am) are magic hours. But my body, if left naturally, especially as winter approaches and the sun comes up later and later, will usually only wake up at six-thirty. And so every night I put my alarm on for four forty-five am, which gives me a few minutes of umming and ahhhing before I
get roll up, have a glass of water and begin my morning routine. I’ve recently purchased myself a proper alarm clock (this beautiful gold bad boy from @home) as I no longer sleep with my phone next to my bed. This is largely because I don’t want those microwave signal vibes around my unborn baby at night and I’m also trying not to look at social media or the news as soon as I open my eyes. My little retro alarm clock ensures I no longer need my phone alarm to wake me up and it feels awesome! It is also so loud that it helps get Andy up earlier too… but don’t tell him that was my plan. 😉
2 | streeeeeetch
The best thing I have done this pregnancy so far and was worth every cent, is the prenatal yoga workshop I did with Victoria Albreksten of Riverside Studio in Stellenbosch. Spread over four sessions, three of which involved movement and poses, where Victoria showed me the correct ways to do postures whilst sporting a big belly, and one workshop, where Victoria taught me various types of breathing practices, meditation methods and pregnancy and birth affirmations that would help keep me calm and collected over the next few months. Victoria even put together an awesome little guide of everything she taught me, so that I could refer back to everything we had covered for home practise – god knows, I need a record of it all with this pregnancy mush brain! So the first thing I do in the morning, is pull out my yoga mat and stretch – usually for about twenty minutes or so. Some mornings I’m keen to flow and work up a bit of a sweat, with added squats and press-ups, and other mornings I will just do some quiet stretches involving a lot of modified cat-cow and downward dog poses. I find these stretches such a relief for the back pain that comes with having a baby pulling my centre of gravity more and more forward with every passing day.
3 | meditate
After my twenty or so minutes of movement, I settle into a seated position, usually with the support of my beloved Lilo’s Stitch pregnancy pillow from Faithful to Nature (it’s hypoallergenic and made with vegan and cruelty-free materials – no painfully plucked down feathers in this comfy pillow – it’s so comfy that Lulu and I FIGHT over it) and meditate for about ten to twenty minutes, depending on how I’m feeling. I will either do a meditation involving the breathing techniques, visualisations and birth affirmations I learnt though Victoria’s workshop, or I will follow the Calm Birth’s Womb Breathing meditation, which helps me breathe vital energy into my “energy vase”. I know, I know, it sounds a little wacky, but the “energy vase” is a point in the navel believed to help collect and bring energy and life force to your baby, as well as to charge and revitalise your chakras and the energy flow throughout your body. Practicing this regularly will also help me prepare for breathing properly during labour. As I sit there with my hands on my belly, visualising my breath flowing through my body to my little nesting baby, I really feel connected to her and she usually likes to respond with a gentle kick or swoosh, which I love. I hope to one day teach her this way of connecting to the self, others, mother nature, the angels, God, the powers that be and our whole crazy awesome universe. After all, these things are all found within, aren’t they? I really can’t stress the importance of this act – meditating makes me so much more prepared to handle anything that is thrown in my path, and I can feel the difference in my energy and mood if I don’t start off the day with a little quiet time of breathing and awareness of self.
4 | angel cards and journaling
I’ve made an active effort to start journaling this year – largely because I want to remember this period of my life forever and also because writing shit down helps me focus on my dreams and goals, as well as act an outlet for any fears or anxieties I may be experiencing. Which are, understandably, rather a lot right now! Before I start writing, I like to draw my angel cards – sometimes one card, sometimes three – for a little inspiration or comfort regarding any questions I have at that point in time. Even if I think I have nothing interesting to journal, drawing cards will usually get my mind ticking and my imagination flowing, as well as bring up any ideas I need fleecing out, whether they be personal or work-related. I use Doreen Virtue’s “Healing With The Angels” Oracle Cards, which I’ve been using them for almost ten years – I love the way they are written and the illustrations are really beautiful too. After I have finished journalling, I like to plan my day and write out my to-do list in my daily planner.
5 | study
For the final stage of my morning magic hours, I like to spend a little time on study – learning more about things I’m passionate about or reading / watching / listening to inspirational books, videos or podcasts. At the moment, I’m switching between reading Dr Michael Greger’s How Not To Die and reading / listening to various inspirational podcasts and audio books. Robin Sharma is a firm favourite and I often pop through back to our bedroom, where my morning cup of coffee awaits me (yup, now you know why I’m happy about the alarm clock getting Andy up early too lol!) and snuggle up in bed to watch one of his Mastery Sessions. Andrew will never willingly of his own accord seek out any sort of inspirational teachings, and so I like to think I can sneakily inspire him every morning to live the best life he can by watching these clips together. And actually, he did reference a point made by Sharma in conversation the other day, so at least I know it’s going in – even if it is just by osmosis! Another book I’m “studying” is Women Who Run With The Wolves and I’ve just recently finished The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson, which I actually bought as an audiobook on Audible.com. Audiobooks are my latest obsession, as I can plough through books whilst driving, walking the dogs, cooking and cleaning the house. I’m a student at heart and a complete spirit junkie, so I just love reading and learning about new things – I’m pretty sure it’s the secret to eternal youth. If you’re not learning, you’re stagnating! If you have any suggestions for great inspirational books and podcasts for me to add to my audiobook library, please pass them on!
That pretty much completes my morning routine – well, my early morning routine anyway! After coffee and cuddles in bed (which involves a lot of belly rubbing these days as little Beanborough kickstarts her day), it’s time for our daily dog walk, breakfast, showering, laundry, vacuuming, emails and work! All of which are made far more manageable, and even enjoyable, by the above five steps! Do you have a morning routine? Have you figured out your secret to starting the day right?
Have a wonderful Tuesday lovelies – look out for my newsletter later this week (subscribe in the side bar).
* Note: this perfect morning does not always happen! Sometimes the dogs whine and scratch at my door, sometimes my husband needs to leave super early to cook breakfast at work, which just disturbs everything; sometimes I only journal and sometimes I only stretch. I do try and make sure that everyday I meditate and breathe! Whether it’s while I’m walking the dogs, vacuuming or simply having my meals in the courtyard – any mundane process or task can become a meditative one if you block out the white noise and focus on your breath. x