In the mornings, to some the chirping birds are beautiful and to others — downright annoying.Like it or not, the birds are onto something that you should be doing each day. Get your butt up, and do your thing. Yes, do something for yourself!Even if you’re not a morning person, if you spend one extra hour each morning taking in the potential of the day, you’ll be ready to fiercely and mindfully claim it as yours. No need to dread waking up. Why do you want to start your day running a long list of to-dos through your mind? That’s exhausting!Unfold from your cozy cocoon of a bed. Rise with the birds, even when the morning resembles night at the end of daylight savings time. Nature’s shifted, and when you shift with it, the subtle gradations of your day are easier to appreciate. This extra hour is not an hour of sleep lost nor time to be busier. It’s your hour to do something different, shake things up and wake up in ways you hadn’t imagined:Take a Walk with your Cup of Joe You don’t have to put on your adult pants, yet. However, depending on where you live and the degree of cold, layers will be your friend.Make your cup of coffee. Bring your keys. Step out onto the porch, and breathe in the morning air. Even if that’s as far as you get, look around you! Take in the change of atmosphere. Fresh air is good for you.Shuffle your feet. Kick up some leaves. Feel them crunch beneath your toes. Is your neighbor up yet?Look at the sun, melting like soft butter over the horizon. What is the light touching? Do you feel the warmth? How does it compare to the press of the warm coffee cup in your hand? Take a walk, and let the walk take you on a journey.Ascend with Asanas Cultivate a morning yoga practice by moving through a few morning poses to wake up and start the day energized. Begin from bed with the child’s pose and work your way up.Place your mat by a window to move with the sun. Feel it flow warmly over your body as you transition between poses. Let your breath shift your body like a gentle wind, in tune, strong and rooted as a tree with its leaves undulating. You’ll feel more present in mind and body, and begin your day less stressed.Reflect in a Gratitude Journal Dispel anxiety, frustration and negativity by bringing attention to what matters — the little things and the big things. How you come to define the scope, depth and size of what matters may surprise you.Choose a beautiful journal that inspires you. Create one! In this journal, reflect on what you have gratitude for within your life. Press leaves and flower petals inside from a day’s walk, and write about how you witnessed birds squabbling like small children over seeds. Add photos or magazine cutouts. Circle words in the paragraph to create a found word poem of appreciation, and paste it in your journal.Reflecting with gratitude on the positive and beautiful moments in your life will allow you to feel more in tune with your thoughts, emotions, creativity and time.Nurture Your CreativityThe beautiful quiet and solace found in soft mornings before the hum of traffic is a great time to express inspiration. Express yourself in ways that make you feel creative, whether that’s gardening, painting, poetry or calligraphy.Nurturing your creative soul will also nourish your mind for the day ahead, especially beneficial if you’re heading to a job that demands innovative ideas and thinking on your feet. Beyond that, you’ll also experience a deeper connection to your intuition and imagination.Your creative activity doesn’t have to be limited to one thing. Expression takes many forms, and the more you express, the more confident and empowered you feel in sharing your voice.Rise with the birds, and experience a lift in your mindset, mood and heart as you awaken with the sun. Try any or all of these things during your extra hour. May your time be filled with joy, peace, beauty and wisdom.
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