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My Favorite Morning Ritual: the unexpected benefit of showing up, authentically, every day

It’s that time of year again. Summer is winding down, we’re in full-on back-to-school mode, and I am craving the structure and routine that got mostly sidelined by all that is summer. I was talking about this with Dave the other morning as we did our morning walk, one of the enduring vestiges of our morning routine that we put in place as our New Year’s resolution for 2022. Many of those other practices have held on to some degree (okay, getting up before 6:45 not so much – I am still not a morning person), but the walks have been something we both rely on and look forward to.

The walks began as a way to wake up more energetically, set our circadian rhythms, and get a little bit of exercise in before the workday started. We get out of bed, put on our sneaks and head strait out for a 1-mile walk through the neighborhood. It has definitely been a nice way to feel more centered and alert before I hit my email in the morning, and I think it’s helped us to get on a better (read: earlier) sleep cycle. But one benefit I didn’t anticipate was how great it’s been for our relationship, and for helping us stay in sync, especially when our schedules are hectic.

Sometimes we’re quiet for those 20 minutes, still sleepy and waking up. But more often, we review the day, bounce ideas off each other, bicker about some annoyance (and usually work it out by the end of the walk), get advice on how to tackle situations, air complaints, make plans, remind each other of stuff we need to take care of and generally give each other a status update on where we are and how we’re feeling. It occurred to me on that walk the other morning, talking about how to get a little more on-track, that this is kind of a rare and beautiful thing. It didn’t even occur to me when we implemented this practice that having a 20 minute morning meeting every day, regardless of our mood, stress-level or optimism rating, would be a pretty great way to stay connected and in harmony.

Not that it’s always sunshine and roses (like I said, we do a fair bit of bickering), but I think it can be so easy to get caught up in our own day-to-day lives and forget to really connect with our loved ones, and for us, this has been a great way to do that. It would never occur to me to sit down and just talk about the day for 20 minutes in the morning, or even download at the end of the day (unless, of course, there were snacks and a glass of wine involved…), but this morning walk makes perfect sense for us. Sometimes we do it in the evening too, and it’s even better to take a look back at the day, think about what went right, or how to do it better, or just feel grateful to have had it.

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