How I start my mornings right. A thank you to Hal Elrod.

Last week I was scrolling through Instagram and was actually floored to see on Lewis Howes feed that writer Hal Elrod has cancer.

For those of you who don’t know Hal, I mean, I don’t know Hal, he wrote the book The Miracle Morning. The book covers Hal’s 6 steps (his life S.A.V.E.R.S) that he urges us to do every morning to set us up for greatness.

I read it almost a year ago now when I was recovering from endometriosis surgery and since then, of the 6 things, I now try to do at least 4 every weekday when time is of the essence and 5 on the weekends.

To know what the S.A.V.E.R.S are you need to buy the book, but I wanted this blog post to be a bit of an open thank you to Hal.

The astonishing thing about Hal is before becoming a writer, and perhaps the catalyst for becoming one, Hal had a head on car crash. And died.

Yep.

He probably wasn’t supposed to recover the way he did either. The impact of the collision caused by a drunk driver, meant that Hal’s mangled car was actually holding his body together at the scene of the accident. When rescue workers freed the car frame from him, he died. For 6 minutes.

He was then comatose for 6 days and underwent countless surgeries on his broken body. When he came round he shocked everyone with his positivity and resilience to his new reality and the fact he may never walk again….“When things don’t go your way, you can feel bad about it, but for five minutes. If you can’t change it, move on.”

Fast forward. He walked. He wrote a brilliantly inspiring book and now cancer has hit him.

It’s because of Hal that I started my own morning rituals, from meditation and affirmations to yoga. And if I have a morning without them for whatever reason, I feel a bit haphazard.

So, thanks Hal, like really thanks. I have sent your book to a few people including family members who have their own personal struggles just now in the hope they will leaf through it in their own time and flip reverse their morning routines to make each day feel not just manageable but like this wondrous thing that we shouldn’t just exist in, but should thrive in.

How my weekday mornings shape up…

  1. Get out of bed – 10/10! These days I’m woken up by my new sunrise simulation alarm clock too – more on that here – which is a much softer way to wake up.
  2. Shower, wash hair…get into some clean PJ’s.
  3. Make a glass of warm distilled water with a squeeze of organic lemon and sliced root ginger. Sip.
  4. Lift the blind in the lounge and open the window before sitting on the sofa cross legged.
  5. Select a Headspace meditation while Rupert settles next to me (sometimes ON my lap) and for 10 mins, focus on my awareness, especially the cheeping birds outside. Current pack selection: anxiety.
  6. Yoga. Depending on the time i’ll likely do a 15 minute practice to a Spotify playlist in the lounge. More on that right here. I select a yoga-y track (some sort of really cool pipe music) that runs for the length of my practice so I don’t have to worry about time. Seriously, I can’t recommend this enough first thing to wake up your body. Sometimes some postures feel really tight and achey after a nights sleep but stretching it all out gently gets the joints oiled up again before having to sit at a desk for the most part of the day, office bound. One thing I am still developing is the importance of the breathing with yoga. I used to find it hard to take really nice deep breaths, opting instead to focus on getting the poses ‘right’. Some of the best things about yoga first thing while it’s still dark out is becoming aware of the peace and quiet and stirrings of the day around you and then realising how light it is outside once you’ve finished. Like you actually see, feel and hear progress all ways round, if you like. Crikey, deep.
  7. Eat. Once I’ve had my water, I move on to grub. When I think back to breakfasts gone by, sugared cereals, toast and jam, sugary tea, a cereal bar…holy crapbags was I setting myself up wrong. These days it’s generally one of three options during the week;
    1. Gluten free organic porridge with maca powder, chia seeds, flax seeds and Koko milk topped with blueberries, raspberries or strawberries.
    2. A locally sourced free range organic egg omelette with mushrooms, bell peppers, spinach and seaweed.
    3. Or if in a rush, an avocado, apple and some brazil nuts. Fruit and fibre if you like.
  8. Affirmations or mantra. This one took me a while to get into but affirmations I now have DOWN thanks to Spotifiy. I’ll choose one I fancy, like ‘abundance and confidence’ and repeat these while i’m doing my makeup and John’s still tucked up. I’ve only ever done one Mantra and it was one yoga teacher Abi Adams sent to me after one of my surgeries last year to help me heal. It’s this one and I often find myself singing it without realising it, you know, when i’m doing the dishes or something. John tries to chime in with ‘shanti shanti’ and I’m all ‘get out fool’. If you think about it, positive affirmations really are just a lovely antidote to any self sabotaging thoughts that you might be experiencing. Telling myself i’m capable and safe and loved for example in the hope that this might alter my brains neuroplasticity (that our thoughts may change our neural pathways) sounds pretty sweet vs the self limiting hazardous thoughts that can do the rounds.
  9. Journalling…or mentally journalling. I literally pick a few things that I am grateful for before I’ve even left the house each day (Rupert and his morning funk breath makes the list most days) and either scribble them down or just make a conscious effort to note them in my brain before making my way to the train station where Thameslink will largely be running late or be cancelling trains left right and centre. But it’s alllllll good. What can I do to change that? Zip. By this point after that little morning routine, I generally feel pretty cool about any annoyances.
  10. Walk. This one is wholly weather dependent. If there’s any hint of rain in the air I will skip it. If not, I will opt for walking to the train station, through the park, past the schools where rucksacked little ones are meeting their buddies and through the village. It’s about a 15 min stroll.
  11. Read. Lately I have reformed the habit of reading on the train to work. Sometimes I’ll podcast, but more often than not I prefer to read a book. I actually have this new approach to reading whereby at night I will read some sort of fiction thing and in the morning I will read something factual or inspiring to nudge my brain into gear. At the moment the morning book of choice is The No Spend Year; How you can spend less and live more.

And there we have it. Mornings nailed.

Hope this hasn’t sounded too preachy. But if you struggle with rushed mornings, shovelling food in while trying to find your keys before stumbling to your mode of transport and getting to work where once seated you think ‘how the hell did I even get here this morning?’ try and shake up your routine. It will probably mean getting up a bit earlier, granted, but I think the benefits far outweigh that. In Hal’s book, he points out that of the 6 things he recommends, you could literally spend a minute doing each one. A minute of exercise like jumping jacks, a minute of positive affirmations or a minute of meditation. We’ve all got 6 spare mins right?

Get well soon Hal.

Vx

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