Getting out of bed in the morning is tough when you have an autoimmune condition that wants to force you to live life on the sidelines.
The alarm goes off and you already feel defeated.
You’re exhausted, lethargic, your body hurts and your brain feels like cotton.
Your mind starts going and you already feel overwhelmed by the day—especially if you have obligations and a long list of to-do’s.
Getting out of bed is the last thing you want to do. You love those days when you can roll over and pull the covers over your head.
When you’re struggling with your health you only have so much energy in a day. You know if you overdo it that you’ll pay the price…for days (or even weeks). You know staying in bed can help.
I’ve been there. I’ve been so tired I couldn’t get out of bed. My physical body hurt and my spirit was broken. And, nothing seemed to help.
Mornings were usually the worst part of my day. I’d count the hours until I could go back to bed or take that afternoon nap.
But then, something shifted.
Even during my darkest days I knew (intuitively at least) that I still had some control of my life. I believed I had the power to change things — even just a little bit.
And, as a card-carrying member of the self-help club I’m willing to try anything.
Here’s what I did: I changed my morning routine. And it made a world of difference (and still does).
I KNOW what you’re thinking (because I’ve thought it too)…You’ve got to be kidding me, I can barely get out of bed. I’m NOT a morning person. I’m TOO tired in the morning to do anything.
Hear me out.
Many people in health, business and life who we’d consider “successful” have this one thing in common—they start their mornings with purpose and intention and follow a morning routine. So I thought I’d give it a try.
I read books on morning routines, made a plan and found an accountability partner. And, I got started.
And, too my surprise, things shifted.
But wait…let me be really clear, here.
I’m not suggesting that if you struggle with an autoimmune condition that all you need to do is change your morning routine and you’re life (& health) will be better. Absolutely not. It’s not that easy.
This isn’t one of those…”just think positive” and your life will change schemes.
What I am suggesting is that a morning routine is one of the many helpful things that’ve made a difference on the pathway to healing in both my own life and in the lives of my patients.
Changing your morning routine can be a great way to support your mind and spirit while on your healing journey.
For me, things didn’t miraculously happen that first morning but I noticed a shift within that first week.
My attitude was better. I felt less overwhelmed by the day and naturally gravitated toward healthier choices. And, I was less focused on how bad I felt and more focused on the many blessings in my life.
I encourage you to read, The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. It’s a quick read and it provides an excellent framework for implementing a morning routine. It’s a great place to start.
Make your morning routine YOURS. You’ll resonate with some things more than others.
Here’s what I do.
After I get up in the morning, I do my very best to follow my routine BEFORE I do anything else. (It’s REALLY hard for me not to check my phone and emails!).
And, “first thing in the morning” can be especially hard if you have early mornings or a household of kiddos (or a spouse) that require your attention. Every minute of your morning may be valuable and spoken for.
It may be difficult to find a few extra moments in your morning. It may mean setting the alarm a few minutes earlier (painful as that may be). If that’s the case, start with a short 10-15 minute routine.
Here are some ideas of what to include:
- Quiet Time (Silence, Meditation, or Prayer).
- Start here. Do what you can to center yourself and connect with your innermost being. Listen to a guided meditation if it helps. Quiet your mind. Take deep breaths and relax your body.
- Affirmations and Visualization.
- Find affirmations that resonate with you centered around your health and healing. Say them out loud. Write them down. Visualize the future you want. How do you look? How do you feel? Some patients have found it helpful to create a vision board and look at that every morning.
- Practice gratitude every morning. Use a gratitude journal. Take just a minute or two and write down at least 3 things you are grateful for. Include at least one aspect of your health or your healing journey. If there’s a part of your day that feels especially challenging or difficult, find something in that you’re grateful for.
- Journalling can be a very therapeutic exercise. You can write about the things on your mind. Or, you can write down your affirmations and visualizations. Find quotes or inspiring stories and write down your thoughts about those.
- Set Daily Intentions.
- Before you finish your morning routine set your intentions for the day and write them down. Even if you have a long to-do list prioritize the three most important things you’d like to get done. Is there a specific time you’ll do them? Is there something you don’t want to do but you’ll be happy when it’s done?
This may seem like a long overwhelming list of “to-do’s” in an already busy morning. But, these things can take as little time as you have.
There are days when I only have 10 minutes to dedicate to my mornings. And to be frank, there are days when I’m running so far behind that I’m saying affirmations and practicing gratitude on my way to an early meeting.
That’s okay too.
My morning is always better when I set aside time but let’s be honest. It’s not always feasible.
It’ll get easier the more you do it. You’ll start to see the benefits and want to make it more of a priority.
Some Final Thoughts.
If you struggle with an autoimmune condition, it’s important to find things that work for you on your path to healing. You may find great benefit in implementing a morning routine…even if you struggle to get out of bed every morning.
You can feel better. It takes time but don’t give up. Find functional medicine doctors and health practitioners that will do what it takes to help you get back to feeling your best.
Feeling lost? This may help.
You may be skeptical that shifting your mornings will make a difference (especially because the things listed on “morning routine activities” won’t directly make your fatigue, symptoms, pain or illness go away).
But, give it a try. You may be surprised at the outcome.
I’d love to hear from you.
Have you implemented a morning routine? Are there things you’ve found to be helpful? Are you willing to give it a try?
Please leave a comment below.