PEERS Perspectives is a blog series that offers thoughts and reflections from our staff and community members on mental health, current events, and the ways they affect our lives.

Today’s post on Morning Routine is written by Communications Coordinator Joshua Walters

Awake with the Sun

I’ve always had a hard time getting out of bed, but over the past 10 years or so I have developed a morning routine that brackets my day. Much of it has to do with feeling the sun on my face. What gets us up in the morning, and what motivates us through our day can be a very personal experience. We have all had times when we didn’t want to get up or felt unmotivated or even depressed in the face of getting up to start our day. So much of my time in school I struggled to get up in the morning — it was always hard for me to get out of bed, and even to this day I can stay in bed for a really long time. 

My morning routine now is a combination of different practices. After a brief, fairly cool shower, I do a short exercise routine called the 5 Tebetian Rites, that are 5 exercises that are performed by Tebetian Monks who live monasteries in Nepal. After my body feels awake, I grab a lemon from our backyard lemon tree and make warm lemon water. There have been many studies that the first thing you put into your body has a great effect on the rest of your day and the energy you feel. Warm lemon water is a gentle cleanse, with a PH balance of only one degree difference than a cup of neutral water. 

After that, I get outside and raise my hands in a triangle formation to the sun and feel the sun on my hands and face and count to 35, the number of times I have been around the sun, marked by years of age. As I count to myself and feel the warmth on my body, I allow any faces of family and friends to come into my mind without restriction or intention. Then after breakfast, I start my day. 

Spending the first 20-30 minutes the day on self-care and personal wellness helps. Another daily task is a journaling practice that I try to keep up with, spending time clarifying my thoughts and goals for the future. 

               I find that times I do not follow my morning routine, can feel rushed or unbalanced, off kilter or at times disoriented. I built my routine so that no matter where I am in the world I can “ground out” and give thanks to receiving another day to be blessed with, coming to a place of gratitude. Not every day is a good day — we all have to deal with the unexpected, news about family, our own health. One way I have felt that I can regulate my feelings or sadness, excitement, or overwhelm is to have a morning routine where I can feel myself stabilize and thus attend to my tasks with more balance. 

What do you do to ground yourself, in times of turbulence or when you are feeling reactive?

            Qi-Gong, Green Tea Ice Cream, bliss out to beats; there are always more solutions to the difficulties we encounter, in order to celebrate the moments we behold.