It’s so easy for life to get on top of us sometimes. Maybe we work longer hours than we want to, say yes to things we really should say no to, or we press snooze one too many times, and spend the whole day just one step behind. It’s so easy to find ourselves out of breath each day, always running to catch up. If this is you, perhaps what you need is a solid morning routine.
It doesn’t seem logical that adding yet another thing to your to-do list would actually make every day smoother for you, but it tends to do exactly that. When we have a solid plan for our first hours of consciousness each day, it sets us up for success in a few key ways:
- Better prepared for the day. Perhaps you woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, or you slept wrong and now your body feels like you fell to the ground off the 14th floor. When you have a plan for each morning, you invite your brain and body on board in their own time. You’re not rushing into a meeting with a contentious coworker, or hefting your two year old on your hip while you vacuum. You’re just doing your thing, waking up.
- A feeling of more control and less stress. Even if we’re not particularly busy, rushing from thing to thing, in life it’s pretty easy to arrive at feelings of helplessness and being out of control. There is a lot that isn’t up to us in life, and we know that, and sometimes it can catch up with us. But when you have a set routine every morning, it sets the tone for the rest of the day. Giving yourself a bit of predictability helps you deal with the unpredictable parts you can’t change.
- Improved self-confidence. Choosing a morning routine and sticking to it is likely to improve your view of yourself. Why? Because you persevere. You make a plan, and you follow through with it, and that is something to be proud of. In this way you build trust in yourself every time you do what you say you’re going to do, and with trust comes confidence and pride. You know what you’re capable of, and you believe in yourself.
How To Start A Morning Routine
When you think of a “morning routine”, images of jogging may come to mind. But that’s one of thousands of different things you could do with your precious morning time. In fact, a morning routine doesn’t have to involve exercise at all. Lots of people work out later in the day, and it makes more sense to do that for a variety of reasons.
So you should think of your morning routine in the same way: what does it make sense for you to do, first thing in the morning? For a long time my morning routine was to wake up early, make coffee, and sit in the dark listening to and reciting positive affirmations. I needed to find my way to a happier place, and this routine helped.
During the pandemic I got in the habit of walking each morning, and that’s still my routine now. I walk/jog about 40 miles per week, it’s a calm and meditative way to start my day and if I miss a morning workout, it’s noticeable all day long.
So, that’s about 7 miles per day, Monday through Saturday, and maybe not everyone’s cup of tea. Perhaps neither is sitting in the dark reciting feel-good messages. But these are things I do for me… what are some things that make sense for you?
Maybe the gym is a better fit for you than walking or jogging. Or a game of basketball, a few laps in the pool, or even in the ocean if you’re lucky enough to live near it. There’s meditation, singing, chanting, bible study, yoga, Pilates, Tai chi, reading, making the bed, watering the plants, coffee or tea with your significant other, the list of possibilities goes on and on.
Give Yourself Some Space
Maybe what would make sense for your morning is more time, so you begin building your morning routine simply by getting up an hour earlier. With that hour, you now have the time to carefully choose the clothes you want to wear, get ready for work, and make your lunch stress-free.
Perhaps your morning routine starts the night before, with going to bed at a decent hour, so you don’t snooze five times after your alarm goes off. There is no appreciable change to what you do in the morning, apart from now you simply have the time to do it, thereby getting your day off to a smoother start.
If you find that you’re kind of addicted to scrolling social media, one aspect of your morning routine could be staying screen-free for the first two hours of your day.
Do you tend to feel a little disconnected in life? Add a text or phone call with a person you care about, every morning. Wake up, think of a friend or loved one, and either drop them a line or just pick up the phone and say hello. If you’re lonely, reach out and touch someone.
Take What You Need
Ask yourself what makes sense for your morning routine, and then make it happen. I was doing the mantras for a while because I was consistently waking up in a bad mood and I wanted to shift that. What does your morning need in order to put you in the right headspace and make your whole day flow better? As they say, you can’t pour from an empty cup. When you start your day behind the eight ball, you’re setting yourself up for a rough go. But when you give yourself what you need to succeed each day, you’ll feel better prepared for what comes at you, less stressed about it, and more confident in your ability to handle whatever it is.
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