I have quite a complex morning routine for setting up the day. It has various elements and takes a while but it has so many benefits that not doing it seems unthinkable. I usually wake up feeling quite unwell. I always feel dehydrated, I often have a headache and sometimes a sore throat, and my lack of energy feels like a ball and chain. Most days though, I don’t pay too much attention to feeling unwell because I know that by the time I’ve finished my morning routine I’m going to feel so much better. I just throw myself into it. However when I’ve been below baseline for a couple of days and wake up feeling even worse than usual I can also be quite grumpy and miserable.
Burning essential oils
First thing in the morning I set the oil burner going with a blend of lemon, thyme and tea tree oils. I’ve experimented with various blends with the aim of tackling my sore throat, headache and boosting my immune system. If my headache is particularly bad I might use peppermint and lavender instead of tea tree and thyme, but lemon oil remains a constant. These blends have evolved intuitively. I’m pretty sure they add something to the benefits of my morning routine, but even if they don’t, they make the room smell nice and give me a sense of indulgence and self-care. When I sit down to meditate I also add a drop of sandalwood to the blend to summon a sense of peacefulness.
Rehydrating with hot water
During my T’ai Chi practise I drink 2 or 3 mugs of hot water. During the day I tend to need to drink a lot more than a non-ME/CFS sufferer and I’m pretty sure that not drinking for 8-9 hours every night results in dehydration and poor lymphatic circulation. My theory is that we have more trouble detoxing than a healthy person. I find that getting my fluids topped up goes a long way towards curing my morning headache and boosting my sense of wellbeing.
At the very least I believe that my gentle T’ai Chi movements get my lymphatic system back on track and help my deal with the toxins that have built up over night. According to the theory behind Traditional Chinese Medicine these gentle movements can help release any blocks to the flow of vital energy (chi) around your body and balancing this flow improves health. Other aspects of the practise (breathing and attention) enable you to take on chi from the earth and the sky. Early on in my illness I found that my energy was always so much better on days when I did T’ai Chi compared to days that I didn’t and I soon became very motivated to do it every day!
By the time I sit down to meditate my headache and sore throat are usually a lot better if not already absent all together. Now is the time to set myself up mentally and emotionally for the day. My morning meditation usually includes a self-healing practise, followed by a few minutes of quiet stillness.
At the end of my meditation I set my intentions for the day. These usually include the intention to approach all tasks with relaxed effortlessness and the intention to be loving, light-hearted, peaceful and joyful. On days when I know I’m a little below par I include the intention to be kind and compassionate to myself. I then briefly run through how I hope the day will turn out, visualising my relaxed effortlessness and moments of fun and light-heartedness. (This practise has recently replaced my attention to affirmations).These positive intentions set me up in the right frame of mind to make the most out of my day
The last part of my meditation session involves paying attention to all the things that I am grateful for. I tend to have a routine list that I recount everyday but I try to add to it with little things that happened the previous day or that I’ve recently noticed. These few moments of gratitude set me up to notice the good things in the day and spontaneously feel grateful for them as they happen.
By now I am no longer grumpy and miserable.
Brief lymphatic massage
Before getting up to go about the day I include a brief lymphatic massage around my face, head, neck and chest. This has evolved from one I read about it Dr Perrins book and from watching a couple of different videos about lymphatic massage on Youtube.
Finally I sit down to a hearty breakfast of black beans and egg. I have found that I need to start the day with a protein boost. If I have carbs for breakfast I’m craving more within a couple of hours and the tension involved with these cravings undoes all the good work of starting the day relaxed, energised and with a positive mental attitude.
What do you do to set up your day well?