I really don’t enjoy the sound of the alarm going off early in the morning, and often feel like rolling over to get some more sleep but Jess, my friendly four-legged friend, is always ready and waiting. As soon as she hears that familiar sound, she’s right next to the bed letting me know it’s time to go, so it’s best to get up before receiving a giant lick in the face!
I also know if I don’t get up and do my morning routine, apart from having the dog to deal with, I’ll end up regretting it. So I sit up, take a couple of conscious slow breaths, and I’m ready to go. Jess is right by my side making sure I’m getting my sneakers on, and then she knows it’s time. Once that lead is clipped on her collar, she springs into action and we head out to greet the morning.
We’ve just moved from Far North Queensland back to the Adelaide Hills, and it was much easier to get up when it was already bright outside, and nice and warm. In Queensland we were about five minutes away from the beach, so most mornings that’s where we would head to see the sunrise, feel the warmth of the morning rays on our skin, the sand beneath our toes, and listen to the waves come rolling in. It’s a great way to start the day, and if we were really lucky, we’d see a dolphin or two and maybe some turtles. Then we’d head back home where I still had time before school to do some yoga/meditation, or KICHIDO (a compassion based, trauma-sensitive, and mindfulness-focused, slow, rhythmic, and integrated breathing, movement and relaxation technique) before the sun became too hot.
It’s a bit different in Adelaide, and this summer has been the coldest they’ve had in a long time, and it is so nice and warm in bed. It’s dark when I get up and start walking, and the beach is too far away, but by walking early with my four-legged friend I experience so much.
The landscape is different here. I see tall gum trees reaching for the sky, notice the patterns formed by the clouds in the sky, and appreciate the different colours as the sun rises. I listen to the birds, enjoy the different vista, notice the other people walking by, and I feel grateful in the mornings for all that I am surrounded by. I really feel that gratitude stays with me throughout the day. It’s so worthwhile making the effort in getting up early and experiencing what the mornings have to offer.
Walking in the mornings was initially just exercise for the dog when we got her a few years ago from the rescue shelter. I had other practices I used to do in the morning to maintain a positive sense of wellbeing, but I have really noticed the positive effects on my mental health that I gain from walking: it ensures I keep getting up. I have noticed if I don’t do my morning walk, I really feel the negative effects throughout the day – things seem more hectic and I don’t feel I am able to cope as well. I love walking on my own, but when I can share the experience with my husband, children, or a friend that’s a bonus for sure.
Having a morning routine that includes an early walk with Jess, meditation, yoga, or KICHIDO, followed by a healthy nutritious breakfast gives me the energy to get through my busy days. It’s a habit now, and even on the weekends I get up early and walk, do a meditation practice, and include some kind of contemplative practice.
It’s an integral part of who I am, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
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