Trauma Recovery: Building a Morning Routine to Regain Control

“She woke up every morning with the option of being anyone she wished. How beautiful it was that she always chose herself.”

Tyler Kent White

I know what it is like to lose control. To wake up tired and feel too scared to even face the day. To feel angry that you left the safety of your dreams and have to deal with reality, granted that you did not have a nightmare. To have your heart pulse and experience anxiety before you have even left the house. CPTSD puts you into survival mode, the moment that you wake up. Not only that, but society bombards us with distractions every day. Our friends on social media demand our attention for the most irrelevant memes.

The news is filled with horror and atrocities that keep us in a state of fear. Jobs demand that their employees come in and do more work than what they are paid for. Social expectations to follow the life script of get married, have kids, and do what you are told by those who have already made it. Most people fear going to hell, but don’t realize they are already there. We squander our most alert hours on trivial matters, gradually losing sight of the meaningful and controllable aspects of our lives trying to go with the flow of society. That is why you need a morning ritual. To escape the river of indifference.

The Morning Routine: What it does and Why you May Want it.

A foundation. That is the greatest asset that a morning ritual provides. A time in space where you have complete control and freedom. When you have been abused to the point where you have lost your self, it is evidence that you need a foundation to re-establish who you are. Creating a morning ritual is an especially helpful tool for people with CPTSD in managing their symptoms and promoting healing. The structure and predictability allows you to plan out the rest of your actions for the day, the week, the month, and the year ahead of you. It all starts with a few small steps before you can run an marathon.

The Major Benefits

Gives Meaning and Purpose to Your Life: The sense of control provided by a morning ritual is what allows you to create meaning and purpose in your life. By intentionally structuring the start of your day, you can take charge of your time and energy, making it more likely that you’ll achieve your goals. There is no life script you have to follow, you will be the one who decides your fate. It also allows you to push away the negative thoughts caused by the abuse you endured for a moment. That moment is all you need to grow.

Increased Productivity and Focus: Starting your day with a consistent routine that includes activities that promote focus and clarity can significantly boost your productivity throughout the day. By engaging in activities that energize your mind and body, you’ll be better equipped to tackle tasks and make decisions effectively.

Reduced Stress and Anxiety: The hustle and bustle of modern life can easily lead to increased stress and anxiety. Morning rituals provide an opportunity to unwind, de-stress, and prepare mentally for the day ahead. Activities like meditation, journaling, or mindfulness practices can help calm the mind and reduce stress hormones.

Improved Mood and Emotional Well-being: Morning rituals can set the tone for a positive and optimistic mindset. By incorporating activities that bring you joy, such as listening to uplifting music, reading inspiring quotes, or spending time in nature, you can cultivate a sense of well-being that carries throughout the day.

Enhanced Self-awareness and Clarity: Morning rituals can serve as a time for reflection and introspection. By dedicating time to activities like journaling, gratitude exercises, or goal setting, you can gain greater self-awareness and clarity about your priorities and aspirations.

Promotes Healthy Habits: Morning rituals can be an effective way to establish and maintain healthy habits. By incorporating activities like exercise, stretching, or healthy eating into your routine, you can make positive choices for your physical and mental health

How to Create A Morning Routine That You Can Actually Complete

What do you want to feel like? What makes you feel that way? Those are the two questions that will guide the recipe that comprises your morning ritual. The ingredients will be whatever activities that are easy for you to start. Start by identifying your priorities: What do you want to achieve with your morning ritual? Do you want to feel more energized, focused, or creative? Once you know your priorities, you can choose activities that will help you achieve them. If you’re not a morning person, don’t try to force yourself into a 6:00 AM workout. Choose activities that you’re willing to do and that fit into your schedule. Experiment with different activities to see what works for you. Some people like exercise others like meditation.

Guidelines and Reminders For Building A Routine

Wake Up with Energy: Get enough sleep before you start your first morning ritual. If that means you force yourself to go to bed, then so be it. Irregular sleep patterns can make you feel tired before you even get the day started. Whenever your body wakes up by itself and you feel energy, that is when it is time to get up and start your routine. Be mindful of what you eat as well. Some food takes longer to digest and you don’t want your body to feel heavy when you wake up. Don’t go to bed with a full nor empty stomach.

Start Small/Mind Your Own Business: Too many people try to do too much at once, primarily because they see someone else doing a lot at once. You don’t know the foundation or support system that person has. Start with a few simple activities that you can do each morning and leave behind what you can’t do until you are ready. This is especially important for CPTSD survivors who compare themselves to their happier peers. Fill your own cup.

There is no set time for a morning ritual. Morning rituals can be as short as 20 seconds, or as long as 30 minutes. If you tell yourself that you do not have time for a morning ritual, you are lying to yourself. You always have time to do something that is going to help you for the rest of your life. Do not put all your focus on making a lengthy morning ritual, just focus on what you can do at the time in the moment. Something is better than nothing. Repeat that when you excuse that you simply don’t have the time.

Consistency is Key: This is a combination of the above rules. Do something easy enough that you can be consistent. Mind your own business and do not let other people tell you about your own progress. Keep the ritual in a time frame that you can complete every day, even on weeks. This is how you establish a new routine and make it a habit. A reminder, you have two choices. Stay in hell, or work your way out of it slowly. Something is better than nothing.

Remember to Make it Fun: A morning routine is a celebration of you deciding with your own free will to begin a journey of healing. It is supposed to something you want to do, not something you need to do. Enjoy every aspect of it. From the creation into the actual activity. It is yours. It belongs to you and you alone get to decide what to do with it. So make it something that will make you happy and healthy.

Morning Activities to Help Build Your Routine

You are a unique individual. More importantly, only you can truly know what you need and want even if you can’t put those thoughts and feelings into words. Remember that the activities below are just a list of suggestions. You do not have to follow any or all of them, and you can even make your own. These are just activities that have helped other people.

Suggested Activities

  • Waking up at the same time every day no matter what. This sounds like the easiest task for some, but for others they like to wake up whenever their body feels ready. Having a structured alarm can help you create a good morning ritual.
  • Making your bed as soon as you get up. This is a great task because it’s an instant reward. Your brain likes the idea of starting off your day with something that is easily achievable.
  • Cold Shower/Face Wash: Cold water makes you more alert and wakes you up. It provides a burst of energy due to your body trying to heat itself up.
  • Priority Journal: Write down the main task or tasks that you want to do today, up to three of them. This will put some focus in your mind.

Examples

  • Hop into the shower right away and finish off the last thirty seconds with a full blast of cold water.
  • Make a glass of hot lemon water.
  • Sit and drink the lemon water in silence as I look out the window.
  • Finish the time on the chair by saying five things that I am grateful for, no matter how small—”I am grateful for this tree outside my window.”
  • Put on a pot of coffee.

Here are some examples of activities that you can include in your morning ritual:

  • Wake up at the same time each day. This will help to regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
  • Get some sunlight. Sunlight can help to improve your mood and energy levels.
  • Do some gentle exercise. Exercise can help to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast. Eating a nutritious breakfast will give you the energy you need to start your day.
  • Practice mindfulness or meditation. Mindfulness and meditation can help to reduce stress and improve your focus.
  • Write in a journal. Journaling can help you to process your emotions and identify triggers.
  • Spend time in nature. Spending time in nature can help to reduce stress and improve your mood.
  • Do something you enjoy. This could be reading, listening to music, or spending time with loved ones.

Finding a morning ritual that works for you can be a powerful tool in your CPTSD recovery journey. By taking some time for yourself each morning, you can help to manage your symptoms, improve your mood, and promote healing.

A Short Poem to Remember the Importance of a Morning Routine

In the depths of morning's light,
A survivor rises, seeking might,
Against the trauma's grip so tight,
A morning routine, a beacon bright.

With gentle steps and mindful breath,
They greet the day, defying death,
No longer bound by fear's duress,
They find solace, their own redress.

The sun ascends, casting golden rays,
As they move through their morning's maze,
Each action a step towards healing's grace,
A symphony of self-embracing.

In nature's embrace, they find their peace,
The rustling leaves, the birds' sweet cease,
A gentle breeze, a tender release,
In nature's arms, their worries cease.

Through yoga's flow, their body mends,
As tension eases, serenity transcends,
Mind and body, a harmonious blend,
In gentle movements, their spirit ascends.

With pen in hand, they set their thoughts free,
Unburdening their soul, setting it free,
In ink's embrace, their truths decree,
A symphony of self-discovery.

The morning's light, a beacon true,
Guiding the survivor, ever new,
In their morning's quest, they find their hue,
A tapestry of healing, ever grew.

With each passing day, their strength shall rise,
Emerging from trauma's cruel disguise,
In their morning routine, their spirit flies,
A testament to resilience, reaching for skies.
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