Five years ago, if you had told me that in March of 2020, I would be sitting at my computer, under a 30-day-stay-to-home-order, writing a blog post about how yoga can help you cope with a global pandemic, and also that Donald Freaking Trump is the president of the United States, and that he is handling the situation EXACTLY as stupidly as you would expect (honestly, maybe a little worse), I would have been surprised!
But, indeed, these are the times, my friends.
Maybe you are facing down a month of trying to home school your kids, while you try to work from home. Maybe you have been laid off, and you have no idea when work will return to normal, or if you will be able to pay your bills in two weeks. Maybe you love someone who is high-risk for getting seriously sick. Maybe you struggle with anxiety, and this whole situation is really, really not helping. Maybe you live with someone who annoys you, and now you are stuck together for a month.
Whatever your situation, now is not the time to neglect yourself, your spirit, your goals, you mission in life, or your health. Rather, this month presents an opportunity to cultivate the kind of joyful discipline that leads to:
A while ago, I gave myself a 100-day challenge, to perform five particular habits everyday (Side note: after I watched the docuseries Cheer on Netflix, I started calling it "Hitting Zero." If you haven't watched Cheer yet, I am jealous because I want to experience it all again! Should we just go watch it real quick together? No? Okay). Anyway, I am on day 87 now, and so grateful that these habits have become ingrained. They provide structure when daily life is upside down, self-accountability when it's easy to slip, and clarity about my priorities in life.
First, I am going to give you an example of my daily routine, and then I am going to give you a formula to create your own. I hope it helps! Let me know in the comments below what you are trying, what is working, and what you are learning about your own resilience.
Jackie’s Daily Routine
Wake up early enough to have 1 hour to do the following:
*I have a pretty specific journaling format that I have developed over the 87 days that I will share in a future post.
During the Day:
*this could be texting a friend a compliment, doing a favor for someone, calling a family member, a random act of kindness.
*I use to do a Gratitude list, but for me, it ended up being a list of catastrophes that I avoided such as, "At least my house is standing!" rather than real joys, so I switched the focus to "what brought me joy."
Now, I know that I just listed a lot of things. Within the above list are five core daily habits I write in short hand in my notebook at the end of every day. These days, if I realize I haven't done one of these things and I am already in bed, I will do it before I fall asleep.
So, what do you say? Are you ready to create your own, fresh routine for the global pandemic?! For today, let's just focus on the morning part.
How to Create Your Morning Routine
Set and Setting
Decide where and when you will do your morning routine, and what items you will need. If you have a dedicated room that you can use, that’s amazing. If you don’t, then keep it simple; you don’t want to waste time setting up your practice area. Keep a clear space on the floor of your family room, and make sure you have what you need gathered in one spot. I have wasted a lot of precious pre-dawn time hunting around the house, trying to find my notebook and a pen. Keep these things together so that it’s easy to get started.
One: Physical Body
You can be like me, and just move your stiff, sleepy body around for a while until you feel more awake and grounded. If you prefer to have a set sequence to do every morning, here are a couple of suggestions:
A Short and Sweet Kriya to Get the Energy Moving
Jivamukti Magic 10
Two: Breathing Exercise
Yoga teaches many different breathing exercises, many with particular aims and outcomes. For this, let’s keep it simple, energizing, and grounding. I suggest:
Alternate Nostril Breathing, Nadi Shodana
Three-Part Breath, Dirga Pranayama
For at least 5 minutes, pick one (or do all three!):
Time for the Tough Love
Now, here’s the important part. Be realistic and specific about what time you will need to wake up in order to do all of this. Thirty minutes? An hour? If you wake up at 6 am now, will you need to reset your alarm to 5:15? And if so, how much earlier will you need to go to bed? To go to bed earlier, what do you need to cut out of the evening? What is the least important thing you do at night? Scrolling through Instagram? Watching one more episode of TV? Cut it out. Commit to doing this morning routine, and cut out what gets in the way.
This is how daily practice transforms your life. The friction of holding yourself to your commitments — even when it’s not easy — builds “heat,” and the heat burns up the supportive habits that prevent you from keeping your commitments to yourself.
So good luck! Let me know how it goes!