Positive Rituals and My Evolving Morning Routine

Dagmar Munn avatar

by Dagmar Munn |

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Ten years ago, if you had asked me how I was feeling when I woke up in the morning, I would’ve ignored you and disappeared beneath the blankets. That was during my first year with ALS, a time when I felt the weight of worry and having a life disrupted by a disease I didn’t even understand.

Fast-forward to today, when my new morning routine has evolved into a daily ritual of mindful thinking and movement. One that helps me start the day feeling good and with a positive attitude.

What do I do and how does it help me? Let me tell you more.

How my routine came to be

Years ago, before my ALS appeared, I used to enjoy going for a quick jog, a long walk, or a vigorous yoga session. I could easily fit them into my busy day. And I’d look forward to those breaks as a way to reduce stress and relax.

But living with ALS was a new challenge. Suddenly, I was living in the slow lane of life; my body was stiff, and it took so much time to do simple things. I’d end the day feeling dejected that I couldn’t even find time to stop and give my body the stretching it needed.

That’s when it struck me: I had plenty of time in the morning that I was frittering away by lying in bed feeling sorry for myself.

The next morning, after my husband got up, I lingered in bed a few minutes longer. Then, I pulled my knees to my chest and slowly rocked side to side. That felt so good that I did several more spontaneous stretching movements. Happily, I felt refreshed all morning long.

When I first began this morning ritual, it took only five minutes. But as I’ve grown more adept and increased repetitions, it’s expanded to 20 minutes. Some days I add my mantra, while other days I think about the day ahead and the projects I’ll be focusing on.

And if my day becomes so jumbled that I miss one of my afternoon mini-exercise sessions, I remind myself that at least I did my morning moving routine.

The benefits of rituals

Research supports the use of rituals. Our rituals enhance confidence in our ability to accomplish goals and buffer us against uncertainty and anxiety.

Morning rituals are an opportunity for self-care, and with ALS, self-care is vital for our well-being.

If you want to create your own morning routine, there are lots of things you can include. Mine isn’t one-size-fits-all, but it might be a good place to begin.

Besides gentle movement, try singing, journaling, or meditation. It doesn’t even have to be the same thing every day; like mine, it can evolve and change. The key is to be consistent and intentional, and follow your intuition.

Having a morning routine wakes me up and gets me going. I feel good knowing that no matter what the day brings, I’ve given my body the gift of healthy movement. It’s a positive ritual that helps bring balance, meaning, and value to my life, and I hope it will do the same for yours as well. Let’s learn to live well while living with ALS.


Note: ALS News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of ALS News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to ALS.


doug wilkins avatar

doug wilkins

great to read--I play golf on a Solo Golf Cart everyday. i don't play as good as i used to but i still get outside an have fun.They are made in texas an i could not play without it.

Lenny Rafalko avatar

Lenny Rafalko

I also start my day (well....truth be told, most days) with a physical routine, involving breathing exercises and stretching, and minor isometrics. My muscles, particularly my legs and lumbar, feel better from exercising after being in bed overnight. The physical and mental benefit of routine exercising and stretching is something that I share with those in the ALS community, particularly those newly diagnosed. Thank you.

Dagmar Munn avatar

Dagmar Munn

I'm high-fiving with you Lenny! I agree that it feels so good to stretch and move after lying in bed all night. Keep it up... Keep moving!

Larry Berry avatar

Larry Berry

Hi: About 15 months ago I was diagnosed with ALS. Now I do a routine of a couple of leg exercises before getting up, then toileting - washing, shaving, hair etc., one supplement ( OMega 3), then 20 to 25 minutes including short rest breaks of stretches and very small ( 3 lb. and 5 lb.) weights, make my breakfast, eat breakfast ( takes over 30 minutes), take a Resource 2.0 through a feeding tube, and 2 more drugs. Altogether it takes 2 hours and sometimes if I watch Sports Centre 2 1/2 hours. Then I am so tired I rest ON the bed for 30 minutes and go for a 2K walk. Now I am ready for my day.

I am coping!

John Russell avatar

John Russell

I get up at least 1 hr before my wife's aid arrives at 8, pull on some sweats & grab my rollator, then head for the kitchen to start the coffee pot. While the delicious smell fills the kitchen I grab onto the counter and rise up on my toes then rock back on my heels. Then, hands on counter& feet back 4 tiles I do a "plank" for a bit then meld it into "pushups. Last step toward counter an d still with both hands flat on it squats until chin touches counter. Coffee is done! Pour a delicious cup,head for my chair & drink the delicious brew while enjoying my beautiful view of Lake Champlain. Aide arrives wife gets up & away we go!

Dagmar Munn avatar

Dagmar Munn

Sounds like a winning morning routine John :-) And the reward of coffee and a great view makes it even more special :-)

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