A Morning Ritual for Stressful Times

How important is a solid morning ritual during quarantine?

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the importance of a morning ritual. I didn’t really get it, but since I put one in place, I’ve noticed a real difference in the flow of my day.

I read that what you do the first two hours of your day impacts your entire day. This is especially true right now, when getting out of your pajamas or taking a shower seems like a big achievement. But during this quarantine period, I have really tried to stick with my morning ritual and I’ve found it grounds me and keeps my in some sort of normalcy.

We all know that habit is a powerful force, but we tend to think big actions, rather than small.

Full disclosure, it’s not easy to stick to a morning ritual, but I am working on it!

Don’t believe me? Check out this little life-changing read: The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy.

I used to wake up at the last possible moment and run around crazy to get out the door. This set the tone for the rest of the day. I was running ragged, rather than moving from one task to another purposefully. I also used to arrive at auditions the minute before. WHY? I was so stressed and panicked. I didn’t have time for my pre-audition ritual or to center myself. I didn’t value myself enough to give time to myself! I now arrive at auditions minimum 20 minutes early.

I may have to awake one hour earlier, but it’s worth it. In fact, I am having so much success with a morning ritual, that I am now wake up two hours earlier.

Here’s my morning ritual:

Keep my iPhone plugged in away from my bed.

So I guess this is actually a nightly ritual. I have moved my iPhone. This is a big one because I used to lay in bed for hours scrolling. I try very hard tostep away from the phone by 10:30 or 11pm and leave it plugged in. I now have the settings on my iPhone set to shut off all apps at 10:30pm. And…here’s a big one right now, to shut off social media after 35 minutes of usage a day! Yes, I can still press ignore, but it is a great reminder. And more often than not, I find myself taking a breath and putting the phone down.

Wake up and don’t look at the phone!

Go to the kitchen and make coffee. (Personal note: I stopped using Nespresso–which I love–due to plastic waste. I make old-fashioned coffee on the stovetop. It’s strong and good.)

Have one capful apple cider vinegar, squeeze lemon and warm water.

I’ve read many articles and studies about the health benefits of this concoction when consumed first thing in the morning. The ACV is extremely strong, so you might gag a little. But I didn’t get sick ONCE this year. Beyond the immune boost, ACV works wonders on your vocal chords and inflammation. (I use Bragg’s – it has to say it contains “the mother” – whatever that is!) Lemon and vinegar are also natural anti-septics, which is exactly what all the health experts are telling us to use right now to counter COVID-19!

Meditate.

I have tried a few methods. One is to set my timer for 6 minutes. But what helps me focus best: my Bose headphones. I like to listen to some transient music on YouTube and go for as long as I can, somewhere between 6 and 15 minutes.

Pray.

I LOVE this prayer: “What would you have me do? Where would you have me go? What would you have me say? And to whom?”


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Write in my journal.

I keep a gratitude journal and write down 3 or 4 things I am thankful for. Usually the first one is coffee. Journaling gets a bad rap. I used to roll my eyes at the word “journaling”. Not anymore. I love my journal. In fact, its the tool I must use and recommend at the moment.

Day starts: Look at iPhone and emails etc.

Exercise.

I think exercise is supposed to go before looking at your phone, but I am not quite there yet. I do try to get 20-30 mins exercise in. I walk in the park almost daily. I also do Obé, a new online fitness program which I highly recommend for you right now. My building has a small gym, so I often do 20 minutes of weights or walk on the treadmill but leave my phone in the apartment. Dedicate this time to yourself, free of distractions, texts, FB messages and emails. It never fails, if I bring my phone, that addiction sets in and I look at it instead of looking at the trees and sky. I reply to emails as I walk instead of clearing my mind and thinking about my day. Gift yourself this time cell phone-free. If you must have music, put your phone on airplane mode!

So there you have it! That’s my morning ritual. I actually have it blocked out in my google calendar. 7-9 a.m.

EVERYDAY.

I don’t do all of the things all of the days, but it helps to have a plan. I do feel more grounded when I follow a set program: more grounded, or as Oprah says, “connected to the larger world around me.”

What about you? Do you have any morning rituals or daily rituals that are changing your life in small, significant ways?

Take care of yourself, friends!

I believe in you,

Minda

Minda Larsen will be a featured presenter at the 2020 CS Music Online Convention on Wednesday, May 27, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Eastern time. Click here to register for her class.

Minda Larsen

Minda Larsen is an actor, singer and voice teacher in New York City with nearly 20 years experience as a professional singer and actor. Most recently, she has appeared in Gotham (FOX) and The Deuce (HBO). Minda has sung with the New York Philharmonic (Carousel) and performed her original cabaret shows as a headliner on all major cruise lines, traveling to over 80 countries. Minda’s voice students can be seen on Broadway (Frozen, A Bronx Tale, Harry Potter, The Ferryman) and in numerous off-Broadway productions. She is passionate about working with students not just on technique, but the healthy pursuit of a career in the arts. Minda holds a Master’s Degree in vocal performance (classical voice) from the Manhattan School of Music. www.mindalarsen.com www.starvingartistsolution.com @mindalarsen on Instagram