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How are you starting your day? We tend to do specific activities first thing in the morning without necessarily being aware of them. By being conscious of how we start our day, we give ourselves a fantastic opportunity to shape our day in the direction we want it to go which has benefits for the entire day!

Have you heard of RPM? Rise. Pee. Meditate. The idea is that as soon as you wake up (R), you take care of any urgent needs such as using the restroom (P), and then immediately do an activity that sets you up for a successful day ahead (M).

RPM is a strategy for starting your day internally focused rather than immediately turning on the TV, checking the phone, email, etc. which is externally focused and could contain negative messages, images, or downers.

How do we wake up from deep sleep? Cortisol is the hormone that wakes us up. It’s common to think of cortisol negatively. It’s the stress response. Chronic release of cortisol into the nervous system makes us feel wired and nervous. But cortisol actually is very useful and important for our sleep/wake cycle. The release of cortisol wakes us up in the morning and gets us going.

Pay close attention when you first wake up. You may notice that your heart rate goes up and your body feels warmer. Cortisol is doing that. No one wants to sleep too long. Cortisol makes sure that doesn’t happen.

Whereas cortisol is good at helping us get going in the morning, it could get your day off to a more frantic start than needed, especially if combined with a major jolt of caffeine. Keep in mind, everyone is different here. Some people feel so sleepy in the morning that they need all the cortisol and caffeine they can get just to get started. Others, myself included, don’t need any additional stimulation.

Regardless of your natural wake cycle, you may find it helpful to do a few minutes of early morning consciousness-raising activities that brings your focus inward rather than outward.

The RPM concept doesn’t mean you have to meditate if you’re not into that sort of thing. What type of activity appeals to you that would allow you to connect with yourself? The morning is quiet time, peaceful, and gentle. No dogs barking, car horns blaring, or TV’s/stereos turned up. It’s a great time to find 10 minutes for YOU!

Each person will be vastly different in what first-of-the-day activity appeals to them. Ask yourself what type of activity would help you to connect within. Here are a few ideas to stimulate your thinking.

  1. CONSCIOUS BREATHING. Five minutes of breathing can have amazing benefits. It can regulate that release of cortisol so that you’re not starting your day in the fight/flight stress response. Sit in a comfortable position, either seated or lying on the floor, with your spine straight. Do exhale-emphasized breathing. Breathe in for four counts and breathe out for six counts. Affirm that (1) your mind is relaxing, (2) your body is healthy and healing, and (3) you feel joy for a peaceful day ahead.
  2. WARM WATER. This one could be a bit of a contradiction. Personally I prefer to take a shower in the morning before work whereby I use warm water for cleansing/cleaning purposes and finish my shower with 30 to 60 seconds of cold water. The purpose of the cold water is to stimulate/awaken my mind and body for action and productivity. In the evenings before bed I enjoy a wonderfully warm shower or bath to relax me for sleep. However, starting the day with warm water might be your ideal feel-good activity to gently awaken and connect your body and mind. Find what feels good to you.
  3. SLOW MOVEMENT. Consciously moving the body first thing in the morning is a great way to get yourself going. It’s natural to rise out of bed and begin walking slowly to the bathroom, kitchen, and living room. We use movement as a wake-up tool without thinking about it. How about being more conscious of your early-morning movements by breathing, moving every joint slowly, stretching muscles, and moving the spine through its full range of motion. The key is not to do it while the TV is on in the background or checking sports scores on the ESPN app (I’m guilty there!).

If you’d like an early morning movement sequence to follow, try my new RISE & SHINE 15-MINUTE STRETCH WORKOUT. So far, I’m hearing positive reviews about this video. It feels so good!

What’s working for you? I’d love to hear your ideas. Please comment below about your morning rituals and other things you do to get your day off to a positive start. You just might give someone else an idea that works well for them. Also, let us know in the comments if you have tried 15-minute Rise & Shine.

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  1. My morning routine is peaceful also. I breathe, have coffee, pray and write in my journal. Then I eat and workout. Thanks for your tips. I enjoy reading your newsletter. I haven’t tried the rise ‘n shine yet but I know I will love it. I will do it soon today.

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