You know that old saying, Start as you mean to go on? Well a morning ritual is a little bit of that and a little bit of something special and a whole load of what makes you feel good.
Rituals often have religious connotations but in actual fact they are simply a set of actions performed repeatedly, in a pre-planned manner. So we have many rituals already, even if we don't think of them that way. The special thing about a morning one though is that it sets you up for the day in a mindful and positive way. Those very first moments of each day can be compared to our life cycle: we are reborn every day in a slightly different body as our cells renew through the night and as our baby has grown a little bit more, in a slightly different world and a different mindset. Every day is a new opportunity to start fresh let's say. So harnessing those first minutes means you're consciously making space for yourself, calming your mind and choosing to be present and 'in-joy'.
So what does it actually mean? What does a morning ritual consist of and what can you add to your ritual when you're pregnant?
CHOOSE YOUR THOUGHTS - BREATHE DEEP
Because our mind is at its calmest as we wake up, make the most of this and give it some direction. Our thoughts are incredibly powerful and when left to run rampant can often be very damaging to our mental health and general wellbeing. By choosing to think positively first thing every morning you are making sure you start those thinking patterns on a happy path.
As soon as you become aware of being awake, take 2 or 3 full body conscious breaths. This will invigorate you and your baby and signal to all your cells that it's wakey wakey time. Feel your chest and belly expand as you breathe in fully (and feel baby kick!). On the outbreath release all the air and smile :)
Now you can either have a set of affirmations or mantras ready to read or repeat to yourself or simply choose a few things that you are grateful for. Gratefulness has been shown to improve our mood, behaviour and even physical health. You can also write these down if you like.
Affirmations don't need to be fancy, a simple ''I am rested, healthy and energized'' or ''I welcome this new day with an open heart and an open mind'' will do. Or you can use any that feel relevant to you.
GET INTO YOUR BODY
Ok, I know we're always in our body, but we rarely ''feel'' it. Mornings are a great time to do this as we are rested (hopefully at least a bit!) and our senses are still waking. Those conscious breaths will help to softly pull you from your slumber and adding some gentle stretches or yoga postures will do wonders! A gentle morning yoga practice is the ultimate element in a morning ritual as it combines breathing, mindfulness, body stretching and opening, and a sacred connection to the bigger picture.
On days this isn't possible, a few simple stretches will do just as much
good. Pick your favourites from your prenatal class or get some ideas on youtube.
As you do this, visualize the energies that flow through you in the form of blood, nerve and neural connections, hormones etc. Let all that energy flow around your body and baby. You can also visualize a bright white or golden light flowing through you, waking each part of your body up for the day.
A foot massage or some gentle rubbing on any part of your body that feels like it needs it is just the best too!
Whether you feel your baby kick yet or not, take a few moments to greet each other and check in. Just like you do with other beings you live with, say hello! How you doin? Using some full belly breathing to do this, and visualizing baby nestled safely and warm inside your womb. Have a new thought about when baby will be earthside. Where will you go on your first walk? How good does it feel to hold your baby? Imagine your loved ones holding your baby or any other thought that brings you joy.
If you've started to prepare for birth you can also start visualizing your labour and practicing your breathing techniques.
WAKE UP AND SMELL THE ROSES
When we make time and space for ourselves first thing, we enable this to happen more naturally throughout our day too. It feels good when we do these things but more importantly they replace harmful thinking patterns that make us feel crap. Through repetition, these seemingly small rituals change the way our neurons connect, literally. Calming the mind, avoiding overstimulating it with screens and too much information is key.
Making your breakfast sacred by ritualising it is powerful too. Choosing foods and drinks that make you feel good energized and fresh. Preparing them mindfully, in a complete state of presence. If you've chosen berries, think of the plant they grew on, the country, the person who picked them? If you're toasting some bread, have a grateful thought for the baker, the factory worker... Imagine how each food and drink is nourishing you and your baby.
Smell your tea, coffee, sip it slowly. Make this as sacred as a prayer, because it is. Each moment we have is a gift and even more so when we are growing new life. Take your time mama, all is well, you are safe, you are held, you ARE life x