IKIGAI {Japanese}
(n) your reason for waking up in the morning; the passion that drives your life

Every day when you wake up is a fresh start: Whatever happened yesterday, for at least the first few moments of the day, can be left in the past.

Bedtime is the re-set, waking up is the re-start.

With that said, for me, the first hour or so of waking up really sets the tone for how the day is going to vibe.

I find that right off the bat the lingering memories of dreams, or the clutter on the floor, or even the amount of sunshine slipping through the curtains almost always have an impact on the way I feel, which in turn means often I wake up already feeling out of control of my emotions.

However, after a bit of focus and trial and error, I’ve been working on finding a way to re-gain control, balance my emotional state, and start each morning with intention and passion.

Start with an Action that Makes You Happy

These days, in our ultra-connected world, it’s so hard not to grab our phone first thing. Most of us tend to use it for our clock, our alarms…it’s basically a phantom limb.

The good: SO connected!
The Bad: SO connected.

Honestly, it’s one of the toughest habits to break, the “first-thing-phone-check”, but focusing on stopping this one action can alter your mindset for the rest of the day!
What if, rather than checking Insta, or the news, or whatever it is, you woke up, and just lay in bed… just you and your thoughts.
What if you went and prepared your coffee first thing.
What if you stretched.
What if you reflected on your dreams? Or journaled?
What if you started the day pampering your skin?
What if you set one small intention, and visualized how to make that happen over the course of the day?

The idea is this: that by mindfully choosing an action that brings joy, you start the day in full control of not only your emotional state, but also the direction you will set off in. While yes, 100% we will be influenced by what life throws at us for the rest of our waking hours, at least you have set yourself up with the best chance at feeling your best self.

The happy side effect of setting up your morning intentionally is that you start to look forward to them!
And this is what a morning with IKIGAI can look like.

“you’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”

Set Yourself Up for Success: The Night Before Ritual

The way you set up your morning can be intimately connected to how you end your day the previous night. Ritual and route, while sometimes difficult to create initially, tend to play a massive role in our start to the day.
Did you give yourself enough time to fall asleep?
To let your mind wander?
Did you do a quick floor tidy around your bed, improving the optics when you first wake up?

A few of my favourite night time rituals that help to better set up my mornings:
– Night time tea! I start the kettle about half an hour before I want to drink it, knowing that I need time for it to cool down. This starts signalling to my brain that we are in “wind down” mode.
– I clean my work space. Since I work from home, I know exactly where I’m headed first thing in the morning. I also know that if the space is messy, I will immediately find an excuse to do something else or find somewhere else to ignore the mess. If it’s clean, it already feels like an invitation to stay and get cozy.
– I get my coffee maker ready! Omg… this has saved so many mornings. I use a percolator, so I grind the beans, fill the water and then all I have to do in the morning is plug it in.

Listen, this is totally a work in progress. But in order to change your life you have to change something you do daily. And so, let’s just start, right now, tonight, with one simple action that will set you up for a more intentional day!

Cheers to you, sweet friend, and whatever change you choose to make to lead your life with IKIGAI.