Without pre-amble or justification, I share some favourite start-the-day rituals that simply make it ‘nicer’:

  • TONGUE SCRAPING  No chemicals, no nonsense, just as it says. This centuries-old 30-second practice is one for oral hygiene. Bacteria from our mouth accumulates on our tongue, with lots of opportunity to settle while we sleep. It  can contribute to bad breath and gum disease. On waking, drag a stainless steel tongue scraper (£6 on Amazon) a couple of times from the back of your tongue to its tip. And spit. If you don’t have a scraper, a teaspoon will do. Buy a Tongue Scraper
  • OIL PULLING As the name suggest this more strenuous practice also pulls toxins gathered in our mouth. Swill a dessert spoon of coconut oil for about 20 minutes, before brushing teeth. It’s a bit of a nuisance so I double up while doing morning chores or taking a shower. Beware minor jaw ache. But it feels cleansing, does whiten teeth after a week’s worth of swilling and wards against gum disease. This is an Ayurvedic practice and as I passionately believe in everything ‘Ayurveda’, I know this is going to benefit me!
  • PRANAMAT  If feeling a bit stiff when you wake, 15 minutes lying on this metaphorical bed of nails starts to fire up a palpable energy flow. Lie down with a naked back on the 242 spiky petalled lotus flowers. Initial ‘ouch’ soon segues to a zen sensation, unleashing a flow of endorphins to release any pain and stagnation. This pretty mat of thorns covers enough biological points and energy centres to stimulate sluggish organs, blood and lymph for an all-over body wake-up. I think of it as a DIY version of acupuncture, my go-to therapy at the first signs of …. anything. Buy a Pranamat
  • TAPPING Beating your body with a bamboo brush has a similar, if less potent effect. The Hay’ou Method’s Bamboo Tapper gives you a quick invigorating body massage from head to toe. Tap it up and down your arms, legs, belly and back to dissolve morning stiffness. Katie Brindle is an old friend and the open-hearted ball of energy behind her best-selling brand extolling the virtues of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Buy a Tapper
  • COLD SHOWER  For me this is the quickest, simplest Zing-to-Zen in the morning. If darting under freezing water seems daunting, turn the dial right down before you step out. For as long as you like. Your body will be sparking and you mind will be clear. The rapid constriction of blood vessels, under cold water, gets circulation flowing. I’m a subscriber to the Wim Hof Method of vigorous breath and cold water bathing, a shot-in-the-arm for will power, immunity and all the other physical and mental benefits listed on his website.
  • MOVEMENT  Choice is personal but our bodies are designed to move and I like to do it in the morning. Lockdown showed me Yoga with Adrienne on You Tube, the first video that popped up while searching and I looked no further. She’s just lovely. Some days I run six times up and down a hill path near my flat. I’ve come to discover how beneficial High Intensity Interval Training (cost-free, ‘running up that hill’ in my case) is for my state of mind, cardiovascular health and the contour of my knees! And it’s over in 20 minutes.
  • MEDITATION I truly believe that when we stop, breathe and try to shut out the chariot of wild horses that is our monkey mind, in time we react less to things that might otherwise knock us off our perch and we stay more present in the moment. Meditation brings an inner smile and inner peace. These days, it seems, we need larger and larger reserves of this. For meditation, Cornelius O’Shaughnessy teaches you how and why, with straight talking and a big heart. And infectious giggle too!