Any mother knows that the role of motherhood can be hectic! From the time our eyes open, to the moment our heads hit the pillow, it is often go, go go! Having morning rituals that result in a more peaceful day can benefit any family—no matter what stage your family is in. (However, if your children are in middle school, you’ll definitely want to check these out!) You’ve trusted Mamavation to cover topics like ways gardening makes you happy, natural ways to prevent the flu, and dangerous school supplies that have tested positive for asbestos, now join us as we explore ways you can use daily riturals to become more centered in motherhood.
Disclosure & Author Credit: This post was written by Michelle Duncan-Wilson from Souldworkformoms.com. This post contains affiliate links.
The Power of Habits in Forming Centerness
Another way to think of rituals is to think of them as habits. In The Power of Habit, Pulitzer Prize–winning business reporter Charles Duhigg uses scientific discoveries to explain how habits can be created or changed. Duhigg’s work centers around the importance of the “cue, routine, reward” cycle in habit-building or habit-breaking.
The following daily morning rituals work with the same three-step process that Duhigg explains. By having set morning rituals, the “cue” is waking up, the “routine” is the 5 rituals, and the “re-ward” is—you guessed it, more centered mothering, or better know as: less-stress.
By following these routines consistently, before you know it you’ll have a new set of behaviors that are as second-nature as brushing your teeth.
It doesn’t have to take long! Research shows that even a 15-minute daily session has positive benefits.
Loch Kelly, psychotherapist, author and meditation teacher calls these short, repeated sessions “small glimpses, many times”. If meditating has been challenging for you in the past, check out Kelly’s Shift Into Freedom audio program. A progressive series of short guided meditations, pointers, and “glimpses” designed to help you shift into peace of mind and awaken in the midst of your daily life. Bonus—you can also do these “shifts into freedom” with your eyes open at your desk, on the train, or while walking.
Other options are to try meditation apps like Headspace, or even check out YouTube, where you can find resources such as Elena Brower’s A Meditation For Conscious Parenting.
Countless studies have highlighted the benefit of exercise on your mental health, but one in particular researched just how much time sweating is needed, and how much is too much. (Good news-getting the benefits takes less time than you might think!) “The largest mental health differences occurred with two to four hours of exercise per week[…]. Beyond four hours, the trend begins to reverse…”, the report says.
You can read about even more of the positive side effects in “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise”, by psychologist and mother, Dr. Christina Hibbert.
Weight training, walking or yoga…pick something you like and get moving!
3. Recite a Morning Mantra
In “Unlocking Your Potential”, Bob Moawad lists positive self-talk as one of the key drivers for finally living the life you’ve always been dreaming of. He suggests having 1-3 daily phrases to recite to yourself in the morning and throughout the day…but the catch is to phrase them as if you are already the person you wish to become. For example, if you’ve never run a day in your life but you’d like to run a 10k, your phrase could be “I am a serious runner who trains daily for my goals.”, rather than “I am working hard to finally be a runner.” The difference is subtle, but Moawad says that phrasing it like this will create subconscious actions throughout the day that support your mission, rather than continue the belief that you still are not there.
Bottom line: having a positive, short statement to repeat to yourself in the morning and throughout the day helps to keep you centered and focused.
4. Read (Or Listen To) a Parenting Book
Bite-sized learning, or “micro-learning” is a term that’s becoming more and more popular. (There’s even a conference on the subject!) Asha Pandey, Chief Learning Strategist at EI Design, de-scribes microlearning as “a short, focused learning nugget (often 3-5 mins long or shorter) that is designed to meet a specific learning outcome. It can be used to offer formal training but it often finds a wider usage in informal training (with a focus on performance gain).”
Take advantage of this learning hack by choosing a parenting book to read or listen to for 10-15 minutes, and improve your parenting skills just a little bit, every day.
5. Turn Breakfast into a Sensual Event
Vinita Mehta, Ph.D. is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in Washington, DC, who suggests using the five senses to beat stress. In just a few minutes, what used to be a quick bowl of cereal could turn into a major pleasure-inducing event, by turning on some music, tak-ing in a big whiff of your tea, and grabbing the fancy bowl from the back of the cupboard. (Bonus points for lighting a candle.)
Small Effort, Big Results
For many of us, time is of the essence in the mornings, so these rituals can be combined in a way that supports your schedule. If you need to you could combine listening to a parenting book while exercising, turn on a meditation while in the shower, then recite your mantra while enjoying your sensual breakfast. It may take some tweaking to find the rhythm that works for you, just make sure to make it easy enough that you’ll actually do it! The key is to make your ritual so automatic that you no longer need to think about how to do it. (Remember the cycle from above: cue, rou-tine, reward.) Before long, you’ll notice that parenting situations that were once a struggle are now much easier, that your days are feeling lighter, and that your confidence as a mother is stronger, all from starting your day with beautiful intention and ritual.