The author and speaker shares how faith and calming routines help maintain her mental health.
- Posted on Oct 8, 2019
Rebekah Lyons wasn’t always a morning person. For years, the renowned author and speaker experienced panic attacks and severe anxiety.
But in the last few years, Lyons said the panic attacks faded. She said turning over her anxieties to God in surrender, plus having time alone in the morning, were “a game changer.”
“Morning routine sets the framework for the day,” Lyons said. “It's just absolutely essential.”
In her latest book, Rhythms of Renewal, Lyons chronicles just how routines and practices—what she calls rhythms—bring her peace.
“When we begin our days by spending time with God…it brings healing,” Lyons wrote in the book. “There’s no script, no race, no rules. There’s only peace, courage, and strength for the day ahead.”
Prior to this, she wrote about her experience battling panic attacks in the books Freefall to Fly and You Are Free, sharing how faith and prayer helped her face anxiety.
“The science and the research tells us that 77% of us in society are showing physical symptoms of stress,” Lyons told Guideposts.org. “The goal [of] my work has been to give tools and resources for people who feel discouragement or despair or they're hitting relapse moments and they're like, ‘Am I going to come out of it?’”
She goes into detail in Rhythms of Renewal on specific practices, such as a technology detox, exercise and taking a Sabbath, that can foster peace and a sense of calm.
But one of the most important tools for maintaining inner peace, Lyons said, is starting your day in an uplifting way. Here are the five steps to her morning routine:
Lyons is well aware that getting up early is difficult. She has four children, two with special needs, and runs a business with her husband. She says establishing a morning routine you actually stick to requires committing to it the night before.
“I'll do a brain dump before I go to bed,” Lyons said. “I'll put those [thoughts] either in the notes app on my phone [or] a shared note with my assistant or someone on my team.”
Jotting things down helps Lyons sleep better and prevents her mind from compulsively running over her to-do list.
Lyons appreciates a steaming mug of coffee in the morning, but she found that starting her day with caffeine led to more anxiety. The solution? Drink water first.
“I drink 20 ounces of water first thing in the morning with fresh-squeezed lemon,” Lyons said. “It's a detoxifier and it's a really great way to hydrate yourself physically before you start drinking caffeine.”
Lyons has done yoga for years and knows how child’s pose relaxes her heart and mind.
“Kneeling is a natural position for an exhale,” Lyons said. “It is a posture of surrender and release.”
The act of kneeling puts Lyons in a peaceful state of mind.
“I've found [kneeling helps to] slow my breathing,” Lyons said. “My central nervous system [is] able to calm down. I [am] able to think clearly about the things I need to lay down from yesterday so that I can begin anew today.”
Every day, Lyons read Scripture, usually focusing on the Psalms or something that will inspire her heart.
“Each morning I turn to God’s word, which nourishes my soul and fills me up after the previous day’s pouring out,” Lyons wrote in Rhythms of Renewal.
Journaling is important for Lyons’ morning routine.
“[After] I lay down the cares and the burdens from yesterday I say, ‘Just help me to receive what you have for me today,’” Lyons said.
Sometimes she’ll write down the name of a friend and some encouragement she wants to share with them that day.
“My prayer is that I don't miss an opportunity that presents itself right in front of me,” Lyons said. “That I would be a person who notices things and doesn't just barrel by.”
“Scripture says that God's mercy is new every morning,” Lyons said. “It's like a gift.”
Lyons ends her morning routine by writing down specific things she is grateful to God for. Journaling her gratitude not only helps Lyons begin the day with a peaceful attitude, it also provides a record of God’s faithfulness.
Lyons understands that everyone’s morning routine will be different. The most important thing, she says, is to appreciate the gift of each day.
“You get to wake up with…a clean slate,” Lyons said. “Today is a new day. I want to start my day in a posture of surrender and release, so that I can be ready to receive.”