The MORNING ROUTINE!
And before you think, oh fuck this shit, as if I’m going to get up at 4am, drink a celery and kale smoothie and run 10k.
Have you met me?
No, this is super simple, super flexible and super fantastic.
This is a morning routine for rebels
It’ll work for you if you’re an early bird, and it’ll work if you still function like a teenager, barely crawling out of bed before midday.
You can make it work if you’ve got to rush out for a day job, with a busy life and schedule, and it’ll still work if you’re living a spoonie life day to day from the comfort of your blanket fort.
And you don’t need any money to do it.
You’ve just got to want to commit to doing something for your own wellbeing.
Committing to spending a short amount of time on each of these things will make all the difference - You’ll not be reactive; you’ll be more way more grounded, and you’ll begin each day with intention – basically living a bit more as your best bloody self.
Who’s not going to want to do that?!
There are 3 elements to it.
You basically do one thing for your mind, one thing for your body and one thing for your life vision, your purpose or your goals.
- Journaling: There are probably 100s of ways out there to do this. I do what I call a brain vomit. A notebook, a pen and a 15 minute timer are all you need; then just write - whatever comes out, without a plan.
Some days it’ll be full of 'poor me, my life is so unfair,' some days it’ll be full of 'fuck yous' and other days, it might end up being more of a to-do list. Don’t worry if at the beginning all you’re writing is 'Ummm, ermmm, I don’t know what to write but that stupid woman who calls herself a rebel says I should be doing this…’ - something useful and insightful will squeeze its way out of there… once you stop being afraid of your own thoughts.
Why do this? Well, these are the thoughts you’ll take into your day, might as well clear out the crappy ones that’ll put you in a bad mood or clear some space from the repetitive thoughts to let something awesome come through. Eventually, your brain will stop sounding like a stuck record and you will get out of your own way. Plus you’ll find yourself being less neurotic about things. Think of this as brushing your teeth, but for your brain.
- Gratitude (what I call today’s hoorays): If you’ve not already heard of it, it’s basically choosing to look for the good things in our lives. Our brains tend to focus on negativity and lack, which can spiral into the poor me business mentioned above.
Teach your brain to look for good things and you’ll be happier - it’s that simple. Try and fill a page, if you can’t do that, do 5, if you can’t do that, do three. It’ll get easier to do with time too. Next thing you know you’ll be irritatingly happy about everything and it won’t even be a facade, it’ll be REAL.
- Read a few pages of a book, self-development or even something you’ve written yourself that you’re proud of: Nothing else than to read someone else’s inspiring words to remind you to get out of your own way. Plus over time the wisdom will seep in and you’ll end up being more wise, peaceful and productive too.
- Meditation: Again, not a new idea at all and probably LOADS of different ways to do this with a variety of videos, audios and apps out there. Don’t just try it once and hate it, there’ll be a way for you out there. Some people find it really hard and some people will do anything to avoid spending any time with their mind - these are likely to be the people who’d most benefit. Again it just comes to being a bit scared of what might come up. If you’re one of these people, start with one minute, work your way up to two, three, five, whatever, keep going - there is no right amount of time to do this. I’ve never made it to Buddhist monk level but 15 minutes is usually enough for me.
Again, this is just something to help you get in touch with yourself for a short while; we use so much energy running away from ourselves - addicted to busy thoughts without realising it, binging on TV, falling into a social media scroll-hole. Take a few minutes to stop all of this madness and just be with your breath.
And just for info, you’re not meant to stop thinking completely and sit in some kind of void, particularly at the start - far from it. Starting with noticing everything like ‘oh look at me, thinking about all those things I’ve got to do or having an imaginary argument with someone, instead of being present for a couple of minutes is all you need to do. Rinse and repeat, come back to your breath and don’t be mean to yourself when you go off somewhere else.
I’m going to bunch the next three things together. Whilst they’re all very different, the purpose of bringing these into your morning routine is the same in this context - and that’s to get present in your body and move some stagnant energy along. We all carry a multitude of unseen things in our bodies and we very rarely acknowledge any of it.
Your jaws will carry the tension of the stressful week you’ve been ploughing through; your chest will carry all the tears you stifled down when you didn’t want anyone to see you were upset, and your neck and your throat will be bound up by all the words you wished you would have said but didn’t feel brave enough to at the time.
Move, move, move. That’s all I can say. As someone who has lived with depression and anxiety as a result of PTSD, movement has been a game-changer for me; that anxiety you feel building up in your body; that heaviness that weighs you down when the black dog has come to visit - all can be moved along and helped by a bit of movement. Pinky promise.
- Yoga: Try it, if you feel physically able. There are so many different styles, from Kundalini to Nidra, with the most popular being Hatha - find something you like. If you feel too shy for a class, there’s plenty on youtube and I know that there’s even been plenty of adapted accessible styles too such as chair yoga.
- Dancing: put on your favourite music and dance around the house like no one’s watching. Bounce around the house for 5 minutes and don’t tell me you don’t feel better for doing so. It’s that simple.
- Stretching: Take the time to consciously focus on moving individual parts of your body - it’s just like yoga but freestyle, and is 100% accessible wherever you are physically, however much time you have or whatever stance you might have on yoga being a bit too poncey for your liking.
- Meditation: I know I mentioned this in the mind section above but this time it’s different. When I meditate for my body, it’s totally about still all about shutting my brain up except instead of focusing and making it about thoughts and breath, I just feel my presence, my spirit, and my being. Yes, I 100% agree that this will sound completely woo woo and out there, and I’ll admit, getting to this bit can be quite hard. We don’t like being in our own bodies so much, we tense up and hop back out into the weird slightly dissociated bit somewhere between our brain and our body. Practice this though as those fleeting moments when you’re there, you’ll notice time stops a little and nothing really matters any more.
With all of these things, you may feel something come up, a wave of emotion, an uncomfortable feeling - your instinct may be to stuff it back down again because it feels scary. Try and see if you can do the opposite. It may feel like it heightens once you allow it to come through but once it’s out of your system, you’ll feel better and lighter. Try to think of it more as riding the wave rather than putting the lid back onto an already overfilling pot of boiling water.
Your Life Vision, Purpose or Goals:
Connect to your vision: without purpose, direction or intention, we’re basically reactive beings. I believe we’d honestly go through life like atoms randomly bumbling around if left to our own devices - well, that’s the picture of atoms that I have in my head. Don’t judge me, ok.
Spend a minute or two reminding yourself of your 'why', what you’re doing this all for and who you intend to be. Life’s too short to live on autopilot. As someone who also lived with low self-esteem the majority of my life, if I don’t spend a few minutes reminding myself of who I am each morning, I lose my way – old habits come back, particularly in the thought and self-image department. And in my experience, this is what takes a toll on your mental health and I’ve devised techniques to prove all of these thoughts and behaviours as false and not how our true selves would choose to live life, and this is what I help my clients with too. However, a lifetime of acting and thinking one way needs to have conscious reminders to act differently – and I’ll do it every day for the rest of my life if I have to. That’s the ultimate act of self-care if you ask me.
And that’s it.
The good thing about rebel style mornings is that you don’t have to stick to it. Once you get into it more and once you’ve developed the self-awareness to know just what you need that day, you can totally chop and change these things depending on how you’re feeling. And you can tailor any of this to take as long, or as little as you need it to.
For me personally, my go-to mind routine is journaling, it has been for years but then when it comes to my body, what can start as a need to meditate and get in touch with my presence can after a few minutes, turn into stretching and even end up in some favourite yoga poses.
But then other days, I’ll know I need rest. I don’t tend to do the roll out of bed, shower, and head to work like I used to in my 20s – because I know the sheer priceless value of getting up a couple of hours before I need to do anything to take it slowly and manage my own mental health, noticing just how much of a difference it’s made to my own wellbeing. However, I know some days, my mind and body want rest, so I’ll hit the snooze button, forfeit the brain vomit and stretching for the day because I know that that’s what I need more in that moment.
It’s a fine line though – you have to get used to yourself and your ways. In the past, the old snooze tactic was a form of sabotage to get me out of doing anything that could possibly be good for me or help me progress forwards in life.
This is where knowing the shit out of yourself helps.
And this is what I help people with.
Marie-Claire has offered all Breathe Box readers a fantastic freebie - her e-book WTF Am I Doing With My Life? Click here and use the code BREATHE2021 to get your free copy!
Marie-Claire is a Professional Rebel - a photographer, confidence and self-discovery facilitator, and all-round fairy dust sprinkler. Just don’t call her Marie; it makes her want to harm innocent children and puppies.
Armed with a camera, some fairy dust and a pink bucket full of fucks – she’s on a mission to spread joy across the universe and show people just how awesome they really are so they can do all the wonderful things they dream of doing.
With her trademark smile and infectious energy, her background in low self-esteem and depression comes as a surprise to many; as does her inspiring personal journey from Sadsack to Superhero.
Using a camera to overcome her confidence issues; photography to find out who she was; embracing creativity to explore difficult emotions and heal childhood trauma; she has created a business where she gets to be herself, spread joy and mainly act like a knob all day whilst helping people who felt the same way she did growing up.
Check her out at www.professionalrebel.co.uk.