SOFLY Master Your Morning Therapy Guide
11 Steps to be Your Best Possible Self
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
Invictus, by William Ernest Henley
There are some things that we just can’t control. The weather, other people’s behavior, and the rotation of the universe – just to name a few. Yet, we actually have much more control than we tend to think. Are you ready to master your fate?
1 Writing (15 – 30 minutes)
Ray Bradbury said it! Write every day of your life and watch what happens. I use an online spreadsheet where I keep track of my life. It helps me to stay focused and organized. Additionally, I track my time, prepare weekly menu plans, jot down what I am grateful for, and streamline my thoughts, ideas, and dreams. I have yearly, monthly, and weekly schedules. Typically, I like to pre-plan in 3-weeks increments, so I can tweak and optimize. I’ve been keeping spreadsheets for about 15 years. I attribute weight loss, quitting smoking, and even moving to Colorado to this practice.
If you don’t have a system of record, I recommend starting with a notepad. You can streamline your thoughts and ideas, create a plan for the day and what you are grateful for. Writing creates a discipline of thinking. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about remembering to pay your bills or not to spend extra for lunch, etc. If you would like an easily accessible online journal, Click Here to download the SOFLY Wellness Planner.
2 Rolling (10 minutes)
Since your body is the only place you will live your entire life, take care of it! I love rolling out! Typically I start with my calves, progressing towards my neck. I use deep breathing and focus solely on the process.
You can start with a foam roller or even simple tennis balls.
3 Music (as much as needed)
Bono nailed it! Music is a large part of my morning therapy. I don’t have a specific playlist; I just stick to anything that makes my soul smile. When you find something that you really love, listening to music becomes an active meditation. Often, when I catch my mind wandering and stressing, I can simply bring it back to the serenity of the music.
4 Meditation (5 to 10-minutes)
Sweet like a donut and no consequences! Meditation has truly transformed my life. I’ve been fortunate to spend years with master yoga teachers, taking many classes in addition to my 800 certified hours as a yoga instructor. At the beginning of my journey, I religiously followed a customized practice created by my teacher, Chase Bossart. I needed discipline. After some years of practice, I switched it up a bit. Currently, I practice my meditation right after I roll out and jot some notes. My mind is pretty quiet at this point.
There are only two rules for my meditation:
1) “KISS” – Keep It Simple, Stupid
2) Keep it Consistent.
I focus on breathing for about 12 to 20 rounds.
There are many forms of meditation. For me, something simple and short works really well. Sitting for hours with an empty mind is nearly impossible, and I’ve never met anyone who can. If you are interested in meditation, the best approach is to find a qualified teacher who can tailor the practice based on your needs.
5 Movement (30 to 45 minutes)
Just like Chuck Norris, I was never a natural athlete, but I paid my dues. Well, I never became a world champion. But working out turned a little chubby and clumsy kid into a fitness maniac!
I have worked with many personal trainers, Star Pilates instructors, and top physical therapists for the last 15 years. Now I feel like I know exactly what I need at any given stage of my life. I currently spend between 30 to 45 minutes working out with weights, high-intensity workouts, and knee rehab. Sometimes, I just spend 5-10 minutes dancing around the house.
You can enroll in an online fitness program like body-rock or betty-rocker. I’ve tried both, and they offer pretty awesome programs. You could also hire a personal trainer, join the gym, or work out in the comfort of your home. Not to mention, a 15-minute walk or a bike ride really counts. It all depends on where you are now, and your goals for getting where you want to be.
7 Warm Oil Massage (10 to 12 minutes)
I learned about Abhyanga, or hot oil massage, in Ayurveda. Like dry-brushing, it also feels wonderful. You can mix up sesame, coconut, olive oils, or buy a pre-made oil for Abhyanga massage. It might take a few sessions to get used to it. Pre-make the oils in a larger container and pour as much oil as you need to cover your whole body into a glass bottle.
Steps for Self Massage:
- Place the small bottle in hot water for a few minutes.
- Stand on a towel in your bathroom.
- You can skip your head massage if you don’t feel like washing your hair.
- Message in a clockwise direction, starting with the neck, hands, and navel, moving towards your feet.
- Use long, downward strokes along your muscles and circular movement on your joints.
- You can leave the oil on your body or wash it away with warm water, with or without soap.
- To retain moisture from the oils, skip the soap and just dry off with a towel.
8Cold Shower (5 minutes)
Wim Hof is amazing! Honestly, a cold shower wasn’t that much fun in the beginning. Especially since I live in a cold climate. However, the feel-good chemicals do kick in eventually. I’ve been using a contrast shower on and off for about one year. Interestingly, I’ve experienced pure childhood wonder after a cold shower after just a few months.
I learned about the benefits of the cold from Wim Hof. In fact, he offers an entire system for cold immersions. However, you don’t need anything special for it. Start slow. After your warm shower, switch to cold for 20 seconds to start, and gradually add more time over a period of months.
9 Spend Time in Nature (15 to 50 minutes)
I’ve spent every day in nature in some form or another. In fact, my husband and I moved to a small mountain ski town outside of Boulder, Colorado, so that we can see the mountains from every window of our house. Typically, I walk my dog, Rocky, every morning for half-hour to an hour. However, I found some time to sneak away for a short walk even when I worked in the office in one of the most crowded cities in the world.
When I couldn’t walk due to my knee injury, I would go on the deck to get some sun and appreciate the natural world.
Next time you head out, notice how going on a walk outside can completely clear your head. So make some time, and go for a hike in the park, forest or ocean side.
10 “Break-fast” (15 minutes)
“Breakfast” is not tied up to any specific time, and it is not the most important meal of the day! In fact, breakfast simply means breaking a fast. In other words, your first meal of the day. My breakfast is a part of my morning therapy simply because I eat my last meal by 2:00 or by noon. Sometimes, I eat only one meal per day. So, my breakfast typically ends my 16 to 20 hour fast unless I am on my cycle. I always incorporate some form of movement before I eat.
11Quality of Time (Timeless)
One of my favorite authors, Matt Haig, nailed it. In order to create time, you need to stay present with life. The paragraph above is very potent with questions that I often ponder: “Who am I right now?” and “Am I staying present with what life unfolds around me?” When I wash the dishes, can I just focus on the task? When I talk to my mom, can I pay full attention without checking my email and letting my mind wander?
So, my friend, the secret to a good life is to stay present as you are. When you commit to working out and eating healthy, as Nike said – Just do it!
From time to time, I have to push myself to start. I can find at least 1,000 excuses to not practice my morning therapy on any particular day. However, the way I feel after always reminds me why it’s the most important part of my day.
So, my mantra is:“Action Precedes Motivation.”
Remember, you will never be ready unless you start.