Many people know that having a morning routine is beneficial. However, it can be hard to find the time and energy to develop that routine, especially for someone living with chronic pain. Chronic pain is draining and causes fatigue, even if you’ve had a good night’s sleep. This can make it hard to get out of bed. Even though it takes a little planning, there’s a lot of power in a morning ritual.
Start Your Day Calmly
How often do you wake up and get ready in a hurry? Do you rush around your house frantically? Are you always worried about how bad the traffic will be on your way to work?
Living with conditions that cause chronic pain often make it hard to feel motivated to get up. The pain, stiffness and fatigue associated with chronic pain can also slow you down because it takes you more time to get moving than someone without chronic pain. This may make you feel frustrated and like everything is hard to do.
Having a morning routine starts your day in an organized, calm way. It allows you take care of yourself first, building a foundation that prepares you to handle daily stressors. The power of a morning ritual is that you have planned out your time, so you can get everything done calmly and in a timeframe that works for your body.
You may have to wake up a few minutes earlier than you typically would. When you think about the stress of waking up at the last minute and rushing, you won’t mind those extra minutes to yourself.
What Can You Do to Start a Morning Ritual?
You’re ready to start planning your morning routine, but don’t know where to start. Here are some tips:
- Wake up 15 to 20 minutes earlier (or more if you think you need more time). Pain and stiffness may be worse in the morning. It may take a while for your body to loosen up, too. Giving yourself more time can help you stay more relaxed.
- Try gentle stretches. Because chronic pain is often accompanied with stiffness, gentle stretches can help your body loosen and wake up. From the side of your bed, lift your arms and wiggle your fingers and toes, and then move your ankles from side to side. This will help your blood flow to these areas. Stand up slowly when you feel ready.
- Take a shower. Help your stiff joints and muscles with a warm shower. Plus, taking a warm shower is something gentle and calming you can do to get your day started off right.
- Meditate for a few minutes. As your morning coffee brews, sit on your couch quietly for a few minutes of meditation. Meditation promotes relaxation and a calm mind, so instead of rushing into your “to do” list, give your mind time to wake up with a meditation. If meditating is new to you, try guided imagery meditations.
- Write in a journal. Many people find that writing in a journal is helpful in processing dreams or emotions. Your journal is your space to be free and open, so write down whatever comes to your mind.
- Get dressed and have coffee or tea. Now you’re ready to get dressed for your day. If you’re not a coffee fan, drink tea instead. Remember, your body also needs water in the morning, so drink water, too. Sipping warm water with fresh lemon and a pinch of cayenne is a great way to start your day.
- Eat a healthy breakfast. You haven’t eaten since dinner, so your body needs to be refueled. Make sure you’re giving it what it needs. For example, you might have an egg on a piece of toast with some fresh fruit, or a fresh fruit smoothie with nut butter for protein.
- Check the traffic. Before you head out, check the traffic report. If you see a lot of traffic on your usual route to work, take an alternate route. This will save you the frustration of being stuck in stopped traffic, which nobody likes.
Practice Your Routine
It takes time for a routine to become a normal part of your day, so give yourself time. If you find that you’re still having trouble with your pain in the morning, you may want to tell your doctor. There could be something your doctor can do to help you.