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Creating a Grounding Morning Routine to Alleviate Anxiety

Episode 19 of the Fuel the Fire Podcast hosted by Shanon Safi, RD, LDN.

Morning jitters and stress, we all get it. The worst part is that it can be so hard to shake off. How can we continue on our day when it starts off in such a rough way. What are we doing that might make the situation worse, and how can we help alleviate the anxiety when it does show up? In this episode, Shanon walks us through what she did wrong, what we can fix, and her own routine to get her mind right in the morning so that, regardless of how it started, she can have a successful day.

In this episode we talk about: The changes in Shanon’s morning/nightly routine, from stressful to effortless (01:04) What are the benefits of saving physical & mental space for intentional practices (08:38) What do Shanon’s meditations look like? (17:41) What about when we can’t seem to shake our anxieties? Consistency is key, the benefits are worth it! (21:52) The rundown on what you can try to ease your mornings and start your day right (27:28)

Episode Transcript:

   I think having that really stabilizing practice in the morning, honestly, it's been really life changing. Like, I feel like I wake up every day and I'm like, wow, I'm so much more calm throughout my day when I'm starting it in this way. Hello, hello! Welcome to the Fuel Fire Soul podcast with your host, Shannon Safi.

For those of you that are new here, I'm Shannon, and I just want to reintroduce myself because things have changed since the introduction. So right now what I'm currently doing is working on some online work to do with clients pretty much from anywhere I'm super excited about that. I'm going to be offering some new services They're really similar to what I had been doing before but they're less nutrition focused and I'm a lot more Focused on connecting the mind body and soul.

So all of the programs are going to be very rooted in Psychology, and understanding the mind, understanding the body, and how they all interact, and how it makes a difference in what we see come true into our life, and what we manifest, and how we experience our reality. So alright, today I want to talk to you guys a little bit about a morning routine.

So I'm someone that came from having this, like, extreme Stressful morning routine, and now I've kind of, like, re evaluated things and changed up my routine so that I can flow into my day a little bit better and definitely less stressed, for sure. My focus... Really, whenever I wake up is to have like a nice, slow awakening to kind of match what my body is feeling instead of jumping up and running around and trying to do a million things before I leave for work.

Before what I would do, and now I look back at that and I'm like, I don't, I don't know if I would ever go back there, but my previous morning routine, so we'll say, I don't know, probably like last year. I was doing this. I don't think it went into the beginning of this year, but what I was doing before is I would wake up at 4 a.

m. every day, which was so hard on my body. And now I look back and I'm like, wow, I don't think I loved that. I would wake up and basically like sleepwalk downstairs to the kitchen and shove food in my face. So like a little bit of a pre workout snack. And then I would go to the gym for 5 a. m. And then I would do a pretty intense workout.

So they weren't like casual workouts because I come from that competitive background. Naturally I would just go into the gym and do, I was doing like cross training, CrossFit type of workouts. So they're pretty intense. So I was waking up. My body not fully awake, my mind not fully awake, putting food in my face, not even really enjoying it, just kind of like getting it in just to have fuel for my workout, doing my workout, and yeah, I always felt great after and I felt really, like, accomplished because I'd be back home and I'd probably, like, have tea, do the dishes, sit and do my meditation, and I felt really great, you know, so I, I don't detract from that.

However, There wasn't as much mindfulness implemented in that morning routine. I almost, like, had to ignore what my brain was telling me and my body was telling me in order to push myself to that level of, like, physical activity at that hour. The other side to that too is, you know, I would work late, so 9 p.

m. With that being the case, getting home from work at that hour and trying to just, like, get myself into bed right away so that I could get at least seven hours of sleep was impossible, realistically. So I would typically be underrested. So I would go into this not having slept as well, and sometimes I would still have to eat when I got home from work.

So then I was going to bed on a full stomach. Then, trying to get up for this workout, and I, like, my body didn't love it, but my brain was like, there is no other way. You must do it this way. Because all of the productive people wake up at this hour, and you need to meet that. So I kind of got away from that and so my morning routine has definitely changed and it may continue to change I'm just gonna share with you where I'm at now and the staples in my practice that I feel like Could be really good things to implement for yourself.

So the way that I do things now and I acknowledge, like, this might not work for everyone, especially depending on, like, what type of work schedule you have, but regardless, I would say even if you are someone that needs to get up early for work, I would recommend giving yourself an hour for a morning routine at least.

And so that's excluding the time it would take for you to, like, Get ready for work or do what you need to do or pack your lunch for work. And I know an hour feels like a lot, but it makes a world of a difference in terms of how your day flows and how you're feeling going into your day. So now what I do, I like to wake up kind of when My body likes to, and this sounds so silly, it was like my dream to wake up and not need an alarm to wake me up.

I was like, wouldn't that feel amazing? Like, could I ever live a life that I didn't require an alarm clock? So I wanted to try it out. So here we are, living this life that doesn't require alarm clock typically, unless I'm like traveling somewhere for an early flight, but excluding that. I wake up whenever the sun kind of wakes me up, and I do try to go to bed and wake up at the same time as best as I can.

There's a little bit of variety on the weekends, but having that time is really nice. Even so, the time that I wake up during the week usually ends up being the same time I wake up on the weekends. Your body just kind of gets conditioned to waking up at that same time, even if you went to bed a little bit later, your body still will typically kind of push you to wake up.

So, I'll wake up when I naturally do. I get up and have like a little skincare routine, so I'll brush my teeth and wash my face, put on some lotion, do the things. I feel pretty refreshed at this point, so that's always nice. If I'm really feeling it, like, my body, some, like, I'll typically kind of move my body just a little bit.

And as corny as this sounds, like, sometimes I'll put on a song and just, like, dance for a few minutes. If I'm really feeling it, if my body's not quite awake yet, I'll save the movement for a little bit later. So, I'll wake up, do my morning routine, I go downstairs, and I make myself a cup of tea. It used to be coffee, but one day, I just, I don't know what happened.

This was like last year. So, to me, this is crazy because I was a coffee, just like, drank it all the time, multiple times a day, and now, I don't drink coffee at all. It has been like a solid... Eight months since I've drank coffee, like, we'll say with the exception of, like, an occasional latte, like, when I traveled somewhere and I was with a friend.

But otherwise, I've pretty much been drinking tea in the morning, and I do an herbal blend of things. Sometimes I'll do just Earl Grey if I'm really feeling it. Or I have this little tea kit with different herbs in it. So I'll kind of like pick the herbs that, or I should say the tea leaves, that kind of fit in line with what I'm feeling that morning or what I feel like I need.

And that's really cool. That's like a newer thing that I've been doing and I kind of like it. It feels a little witchy, but at the same time I think of it as, like, this practice where I'm being very intentional about what I'm putting into my body, and I'm being very intentional about what I'm trying to get out of my experience with, like, having the tea.

So it's, I'm trying to bring a lot of mindfulness and awareness and intention into my morning so that, again, it kind of, like, carries through my day. I try to be very present so I don't look at my phone. During this time at all either, I will leave it in my room so that it can't even be a temptation.

Honestly, it's funny, like, I can't even have it in my I can't even have it near me. Like, I don't want it to be anywhere in sight because for some reason, that's like enough for it to kind of like trigger your brain. When it's close enough that you know it's there, it becomes a lot more tempting. So, yeah, phone totally out of this picture.

After I make my tea, I'll like clean up around the kitchen while the tea is like steeping for a minute, if need be. Then I'll have my tea, take it upstairs into my meditation room. And again, I know it's not feasible for everyone to have a meditation room in their home, but I definitely recommend having at least a space.

I really like having that because, again, a lot of this is about conditioning the body. If you make a space for this specifically, you're going to find it so much easier to slip into your meditation and just kind of get into it without as much resistance because your body is conditioned to meditate when it's in that space.

So it's nice because I can relax a lot more quickly now that my body is kind of used to that environment. Before, if I would like meditate in random spaces, There would definitely be times where I really couldn't get into the meditation because I was so stuck in my head. I couldn't relax my nervous system because my body, you know, it's in a space that it's used to doing other activities or doing other things or being stimulated in a different way.

And so it was really nice to create a space specifically for this that would just. Kind of just put so much more relaxation, so much more readily, and relax me very quickly, which, yeah, it's nice. Like, I have my tea, I'm in the room, and because I usually light, like, incense and candles, the room smells so good.

So just, like, going in there, taking a deep breath. Like, it just soothes me right away. I'm so relaxed, and it really does, like, carry through. In my meditation room, what I'll do typically is, I have incense along my windowsill. And there are different incense for different moods. So there's like, I have relaxation, energizing, sensual meditation.

So whatever, you know, there's a few others and whichever. thing I'm trying to invoke the most that day, or that, that hour, or, you know, whatever mood I'm in in that moment, I'll usually light that one specifically. And again, that's a moment for me to set an intention. So I'm saying, Hey, I'm choosing this, and this is the energy I really want to bring to myself today.

And the power of your mind is incredible. And so doing something like this. just gives you so much more it just, it just kind of has you focus on something and say, I'm going to channel this today because you really can choose to channel different frequencies, different emotions, different experiences during your day based off of your mindset.

So, you know, if I want to record a podcast episode, I might do the meditation one because I'm like, wow, I really want to get. Deep into this and come into this very clearly and come up with something that feels like it's really from my soul, something that's really from deep within that I want to share.

Or you know, if I'm feeling like, hey, it's the weekend, I want to feel playful, I want to feel in my power. I've been feeling a little bit drained from how much work I did this week, then I might do the sensuality one because that'll kind of help me. Awaken things that maybe kind of like fell to the wayside during the week when I was so focused on Like getting things done and being a little more task oriented Versus the weekend when I want to bring out a lot more play in myself and that so I'll always light that incense and then After the incense I always light a candle.

So I have a set of shocker candles and some other like I guess you could call them like accent candles. So again, depending on what I feel like needs a little bit more balance or whatever I'm feeling drawn to. So sometimes it'll just kind of be This natural draw towards one of the chakra candles. So I'll be like, okay, this chakra must meet, need a little bit more alignment.

So I'll light that candle and kind of have that again to help really channel that energy and to feel like I am doing something to help balance myself a little bit more. And again, it's, it's just like the power of the mind. The fact that it's capable of doing this, it's something that we want to make part of our practice that we're.

Channeling these emotions and feelings, balance, harmony into our morning so that it can really set us up for a good day. So, with that, sometimes I'll bring out, like, the crystals if I'm feeling called to that day. I don't always, but if I'm feeling particularly, like, I really need it that day, like, if I'm finding myself, like, coming into this and I'm feeling any anxiety or a little bit of resistance towards coming into my practice more settled.

Then I will, like, choose a crystal, and I have little ones, so with the really little baby ones, I'll actually put them, like, in my shirt or in my shorts or something for that day so that I have that energy with me. But I have, like, a little charging plate, so typically I'll put them on the charging plate.

During my meditation if I'm using the crystals and I will take them with me when I'm done with my meditation in my morning routine So the next part now that I have the mood set So I have my tea my incense lit my candle is lit My crystal is out and now I can kind of sit down and relax Relax further I should say some usually usually feeling pretty chill by this point This I'll kind of like leave it up to what I'm feeling really pulled to or called to do It during that time.

So normally I'll play with like an oracle deck and I want to kind of set another focus for the day or something that maybe should be brought to my awareness that I'm not necessarily channeling myself. So that's why I kind of like the oracle cards and I like them a little bit more than tarot cards because I think sometimes with the tarot cards, before it would happen, if I would do like a tarot reading first thing in the morning and I would You know, get an upside down card that had, like, a slightly negative connotation.

It would sometimes, like, not put me in the best mood because I'm like, oh, great. I'm not, like, this is, I didn't even think something like this was happening, but I'm not even aware that this is happening. So I kind of felt like I didn't want to make that part of my Daily morning ritual. I think you can use the tarot cards in a way that doesn't evoke that emotion at all But because I have like the cards all mixed up and stuff and you know to me the Oracle just kind of feels It's just more constructive for me, and that's a personal choice.

So you might really love the tarot, I'm not trying to deter anyone from choosing whatever they like. But personally, yeah, I like the oracle cards because the ones that I have, I have a lot more of like, positive connotation with them, or like, give you advice on. You know, even if it is something where it's like, Hey, you're experiencing a block here.

It's giving you things to, or like mantras to say, or crystals that match with it or rituals to go along with it. So that, that I really love. And again, depending on what I'm really feeling or if something has been like weighing on me, I'll kind of focus a little bit more on that and look at it through that lens.

So I might do like one, two or three cards to kind of look at for that day. And, you know, if I'm going into this and I'm still feeling like a little bit of nervous energy in my body, I will take like a moment and do a little bit of booty. So typically I'll do it from a seated position. So I'm not going to do like a full, uh, yoga workout.

So I'll do it from a seated position and I'll really just kind of awaken my spine. Do a little bit of spiraling in that seated position, a little bit of opening and closing of the chest, a little bit of lateral movement to open up the side bodies. And that, again, helps really ground me when I'm not feeling as grounded going into my practice.

If you're not super grounded going into this practice, that's a really important part, is to allow for that grounding to happen, because the energy that comes from you, that emanates from you, when you're not grounded, is going to attract a very different environment. Thank you. Like, less controlled vibration than something where you are coming from a grounded position, you're going to be able to be a lot more calm and make level headed decisions and feel a lot more in your power versus that instability that comes with not having that root chakra really grounded in.

So I'll do that movement if I'm not feeling grounded or if my energy is still kind of feeling scattered. And I'll pull out like a mudra card sometimes too. So I have that and again, it's really like, I'm basically like taking these little things and planting seeds into my head for the day so that I can really flow in a very positive way.

And again, you know, having that positive mindset really does help because just your mood affects so much and it's, you know, if I'm having a morning where I'm like, wow, like this. Yeah. This energy is not settling down and I've had my tea and I've had my. Candles set up and I did my oracle card and I'm still feeling something Then what I'll do is typically I'll go into like my meditation a little bit sooner And kind of like really allow for what needs to come up to come up because sometimes I know what it is That's been bothering me and other times it's just like this anxious, frantic energy that I don't know where it's coming from.

So I kind of need to allow myself the space to allow that to come through so that I can address it properly. After I do my oracle cards or whatever I happen to do in that moment, sometimes I'll journal if that feels right, but typically what I'll do is I'll go into a little bit of a meditation. So I have something called a moon pod.

So it's this really cool beanbag chair and I love it. It's so comfortable. I'll do my meditation in that. So I'll get myself situated there and I have this really cute eye pillow and it's lavender scented. I love lavender, kind of obsessed with it right now. So I'll put that eye pillow over my eyes and I love that because it just helps me get so much deeper into my meditation.

Which is another reason why I love floating, similar reason, because when you kind of take away some of your senses, it enhances your ability to meditate because you're less stimulated by the external world. So that really kind of like allows you to tap into the mind and be more aware of what's going on in there and not be distracted by external things.

So I have that on there and it's super quiet in this room. Which is another big thing for me. The only thing I could hear is maybe like the birds chirping outside, which that I do love. I think that also can enhance my meditation. I don't normally use music, but sometimes, other points throughout the day I might use it.

Like on my drive to work, so if this is kind of like my build up for work, I'll actually listen to relaxing music on my way to work to really keep that good feeling going. That relaxation, calm, grounded state. If I'm feeling it during my meditation, usually I'll only do something that does not have words, something that is a specific frequency, so certain frequencies activate different receptors in the brain, they can channel different emotions, different thoughts, so...

If I'm feeling a certain thought or wanting to evoke a certain emotion, a certain state, a certain state of being what I'll do is put on that frequency. And there's a lot on Spotify. So if you look up, you know, if I want a heart opening frequency, you can Google like. Heart opening frequencies and find what that frequency is.

Search it on Spotify or YouTube and you can play it during your meditation or really anytime during your day. So that's a really cool little piece. If you are a music person or just want to incorporate that during times to again, help you relax or help you evoke those certain emotional states or intentions.

So after my meditation, depending on the time, so, you know, this process, like, I will solidly always spend an hour in there in the morning. It's, it's rare, like, sometimes I'll do only 30 minutes, like, if I want to switch up the order of things, because sometimes if, say, I really want to... Journal, and I'm like, wow, you know, I don't have enough time to journal about as much as I would like, or I feel constricted because I spent a little bit longer looking at the oracle cards, or I spent a little bit longer in my meditation, and I don't think I have the time to journal.

I'll just kind of like break up that practice, so I'll make sure I still have my tea, do my grounding, set my intention for the day, light an incense at the minimum. So that at least my mind and body is more relaxed going into my day. So at the minimum 30 minutes, but again, like I said, I really try to give myself at least an hour almost every day.

If I am journaling, you know, I'll let whatever needs to come up, come up or again, you know, especially in those states where I don't know what I'm feeling and if my meditation didn't exactly bring it up, I will go to journaling and so kind of just start writing and say like, you know, take a deep breath, put my hand on my heart and really try to connect with myself and say, okay, like, Whatever needs to come through me right now, like, let that come through on this paper.

If I'm really having a tough time connecting that day, I will keep trying because eventually something will kind of get me in that space to allow what needs to come up to come up. The days that I'm feeling the most resistance, I will spend even more time until I can actually get that resistance to come down.

And so I think that's really important to not give up on yourself in those situations. Because usually that's when we really need ourselves to show up for ourselves the most. And it can be really difficult when you're first starting, but the further you get into it and the more consistent your practice is, the better off that you're going to be.

What people will tend to do is only, like, do this kind of stuff when they're feeling like things are difficult. But I, I always say, like, it needs to be something that is a daily practice. It shouldn't be something that you use, like, as needed because it's really not going to have the same effect. So typically I compare it to, like, using a medication.

So if you were theoretically on, like, a blood pressure medication, you don't just take it certain days when it just kind of feels like... Your blood pressure needs to come down. You have to take it daily in order for it to consistently be able to stabilize you. And so same thing with meditation and having your morning routine.

You're going to feel a little bit of natural resistance towards it in the beginning, or you might start off really strong, feel like you're falling off with it, or like a resistance towards it. But you kind of need to push through that and know like, Hey, I'm doing something that my body needs. I'm doing something that's going to help connect me, help me calm my nervous system and approach my day in a really healthy way.

That is really important to not neglect your morning practice. Yeah. So that that's kind of what mine looks like. And then after that, what I will do. So sometimes, like I said, if I feel like. Like, really good, I'll like do a little bit of dancing, or I'll go for a walk, or if I have to get ready for work, I'll dive right into that and listen to that calming music on my way to work.

Again, I try to start off my mornings very peacefully. I think the female body tends to do a little bit better when we have that slower start instead of doing a more intense start. Because males have higher levels of testosterone, getting up and doing something super active can be beneficial for them and their hormones can.

Fare really well with that. But with females, typically our cortisol is higher in the morning, so doing intense activity right when you wake up or putting food into your body, the second you wake up, isn't really necessary and can sometimes work against us. So again, you know, start off your morning, very relaxed.

I think having that really calming, stabilizing practice in the morning. is just, honestly, it's been really life changing. Like, I feel like I wake up every day and I'm like, wow, like, I'm so much more calm throughout my day when I'm starting it in this way versus, like, starting and kind of, like, rushing around and having to jump from, like, the gym to work and Just feeling that sense of rush and feeling like I don't have time, that always sets my day up to just feel a little more chaotic.

So if I'm waking up really frantic and rushing around and doing things quickly and not being intentional or not thinking about what I'm doing and just doing it to get it done so that I can leave for work that energy just like carries through your day. So that's why it's so important for me to start my day.

In this way so that I can just flow into the rest of it. So now I kind of find myself just being a lot more relaxed and like I don't have as many like Uncontrolled emotional responses to things. So I feel like a lot more in control of my emotional state all throughout my day, which is really good because then things like I'm a lot more productive.

I'm a lot more positive. I'm a lot happier. There's more joy during my day. I don't feel a sense of rush or angst or anxiety. Because I do think I struggled with. Feeling anxious like on a daily basis, I would say, and having this morning routine has really alleviated that anxiety without needing to take medications.

So I really, I try to do everything as holistically as possible. So to me, this was like a really important part to take care of myself and most importantly, like connect back to my body and my mind. So having that unity between the mind, body and the soul or spirit. I think we spend a lot of our day being disconnected.

So to have that connection first thing in the morning and to consciously think about maintaining that connection throughout the day, I think is so helpful to really just keep you much more present, much more aware of what's going on. That way you can really have a lot more fulfillment and enjoyment. So yeah, I hope that gives you just a few nuggets to kind of think about and mull over and see if any of that is something that you would be open to incorporating into your morning routine.

There's so much that you can do. You know, like I said, I love doing tea. I love lighting candles, I love lighting incense, um, using oracle cards have been really fun, journaling if that comes up, definitely meditation 100 percent whether it's guided or on your own. Drinking water, that's another good one, taking care of your face and your teeth and your hygiene.

That's a really beautiful one. Making sure your house is clean. I think that can be really helpful because clutter can again be distracting. There's other things that you can do. So again, if you want to incorporate a little bit of yoga or stretching, I do love that. Just another way to awaken the body and bring yourself back into your body.

If you've been in your head or you know, you've just been dreaming all night or whatever came up or anything that's carrying over from the day before. So any kind of grounding practice. So grounding, that's the key word here is you want to be grounded, relax your central nervous system, any activities, or Any sense or things along those lines, things that are more natural, being out in nature, having a little bit of sunshine during that time, going for a walk.

All of these things can be really beautiful parts of a fulfilling, grounding, stabilizing, energizing routine for your morning. So yeah, let me know guys, like what, what do you do in your morning routines? I would love to hear it. I seriously really appreciate everyone that reaches out to me on Instagram and shares their feedback with me.

That's so special to have that connection, the opportunity to talk with you guys, because you know, that's really why I do this. And so hearing from you really helps me understand what you guys like to hear and what, you know, sometimes I forget. Things are so, yeah, I just kind of fall into routines and I sometimes don't realize like people are interested in learning about a certain topic about what I do or parts of my personal practice or my experience with certain things.

So it is super helpful to kind of hear that because, yeah, sometimes it's hard to like figure out what exactly I want to share because there's a million things that I could share. So it's just, it's just kind of nice to hear from you guys and I love to hear your experiences too. That helps me learn. That helps me gain more perspective.

And when I have that greater perspective, I can show up for people in a better way. And I think it's just that positive ripple effect. So us helping each other helps the world. And you know, I would love for the world to just continue to be a beautiful place and for us to connect more as people all together.

So yeah. Reach out. Let's be friends. Let's chat. I'd love to hear it. But yeah, thank you guys so much for tuning in to today's episode. Like I said, I hope it's helpful. I hope at least it gets you thinking a little bit and maybe inspires you to switch something up that you feel like you haven't been thinking about or you haven't considered that there could be a different way.

So yeah, let me know what you think. But yeah, we'll be back in a couple weeks. So thanks for tuning in. Every two weeks we release episodes. And shout out to Jamie who edits these she's such a superstar. Yeah, so thanks again for listening and we'll catch you in a couple weeks. Love you, bye!



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