Mindful Leadership: Do You Want Your Weekday Mornings To Feel Like Sunday?
Does this headline feel like an impossible dream? It seems impossible to have a morning like Sunday in the midst of a workweek. Sunday mornings are a breath of fresh air, we may wake up a bit later, or we may get up early for a long run, or perhaps a long meditation. It might be a day to treat ourselves well, however we define that. Or, it might be a day to get that good feeling that comes from finishing something we wanted to get done. Sundays are special, right?
Weekdays, on the other hand, are filled with time pressures, traffic delays, kids’ missing homework, looming deadlines, workplace drama, constant distractions…. In fact, we can even ruin our blissful Sunday by beginning to think about Monday. We get a case of the “Sunday night blues.”
So, what can you do to make your weekday morning feel like a Sunday? Learn to practice what I call “gentling into the day.” This practice originated during the mindful leadership retreats I have been teaching for the past 15 years. On retreat, we begin with an early morning practice that includes a meditation for about 15 minutes followed by 15 minutes of mindful movement. The meditation can be guided or silent. The movements are simple, gentle stretches.
There is nothing magical about the specific amount of time for each part of the practice. It can be shorter or longer. You can determine what is right for you. What is important is your choice to allow some spaciousness in the morning for your mind and body to prepare for the day. There are also many variations on this sequence that will work. Here are a few options:
- When your alarm goes off, instead of immediately reaching for your smartphone, sit on the side of the bed and check in with your body and mind-what do you notice? What is your energy level? Any areas of discomfort? Is your mind awakening slowly to the day or is it already in a cycle of your to-do list? As you begin to walk, feel your feet on the ground with each step.
- While you are in the shower, try to be present for the experience. If your mind pulls you away to the 10 a.m. meeting, bring it back to your experience of the shower. Feel the warmth of the water, the scent of the soap and shampoo, acknowledge the care you are taking of your body in this moment.
- If you are going to have a cup of coffee or tea, take a few minutes to sit and enjoy it fully…without reading the screens at the same time. Allow your body and mind to be present for this cup of coffee or tea. Can you feel the warmth, the smell, the taste on your tongue, how it feels as it goes down your throat?
All of these options have a common thread that is present on Sunday mornings…you are making a conscious choice to engage in an activity that is supportive of your life. While you may be more inclined to make such choices on the day when you are not working, there is nothing to stop you from making such choices on a workday. Starting each morning with one of these practices can set the tone for the rest of the day. Choose to start your day, rather than letting the day start you!
If you are interested in learning more about Mindful Leadership, try reading my series on Transforming Leadership.