On a chilly weekend back in December I found myself falling down the rabbit hole of You Tube videos. I do not even remember what topic I was originally searching when I came upon a multitude of vlogs on the topic of the importance of morning routines and rituals.
At first, I was not impressed. I mean, everyone has a morning routine. Get up, get ready, get out the door. Done, done, and done. The only other option it seemed to me was to not get up, not get ready, and be homeless. Yet, I kept on clicking and kept on watching. Every video was oddly similar with the same recommended books and same topics. Hmm, is there some wisdom that these 20 something You Tube entrepreneurs know that I do not?
It was winter break so I had time to sit and ponder things. I came to realize that it wasn’t that I didn’t have a morning routine; rather, my morning routine lacked focus and intent. So, January 1st I began changing how I wake up in the morning and it has made a positive difference on how I face each day. Since changing my ways in January I have felt far less anxious and far more productive than I have in years.
Habits I have adapted into my morning routine
Don’t hit the snooze: This one is particularly hard for me. I do not bounce out of bed in the morning. However, if you think about it, by hitting the snooze button you are starting the day off with procrastination. Procrastinating may well the biggest hurdle between us and and achieving our goals and finding time to do the things we enjoy. In addition, I believe that procrastination may be an underlying cause of many people’s anxiety. Conquering the snooze button is the first step to conquering our day and our emotional well being.
Start the day with gratitude: It used to be that the sound of the alarm would cause a four letter word to slip out of my mouth. Often, I hadn’t slept well, my knee would ache, and I didn’t feel ready to take on the day. I didn’t realize how negative I was in my mindset. It was just how I woke up and I never gave it a second thought. Many people are morning grumblers, right? I have started to retrain my brain. Now, when I hear the alarm in the morning, I look at Gracie, my cat, I look around the room at all I have, I think about my family and friends, and I say “thank you”. To be honest, a four letter word still slips out on occasion before I am truly aware of what is going on in my groggy state of mind but then I quickly work to rewire my thoughts to gratitude. It has done wonders for how my day unfolds.
Journal: The second big game changer for me has been keeping a morning journal. I was not a believer in the power of journaling in the mornings until I gave it shot. Getting thoughts, ideas, and emotions down on paper first thing in the morning really gets the creative juices flowing. It makes room for inspiration to enter the thought process.
Quiet time/prayer/ meditation: As humans we need quiet time to connect with something larger than ourselves. Take time Connect with God, the Universe, or your higher self. The term doesn’t matter but the process does. Take a few moments to quiet your mind and feel connected to something larger than your present situation in order to set the tone for the day as well as establishing a peace of mind.
Be intentional with the mundane: We all have to go through the motions of grooming and feeding ourselves before we walk out the door. I used to rush through the morning in a daze. I got in my car in a hurried and sometimes agitated state of being. I have found a certain peace and joy in focusing on what I am doing. As you get ready in the morning, be present in the moment. Know that you are going through these motions with a purpose. Enjoy the simplicity. The day will get complicated soon enough. Take a few extra minutes to make the bed, clean up breakfast dishes, etc. Leaving the house tidy will ensure that your evening and return home will be comforting and relaxing. Also, take a minute to review the outline of your day. What is scheduled? What are the things you need to accomplish? Walk out the door with a firm knowledge of what you need to do.
Keep the world at bay ( at least for a couple hours): News is reported in a way that is meant to keep us thinking the world has gone to Hades in a hand basket and keep our anxiety level high. We need to be well informed about the world around us and be agents for positive change. However, if we saturate our brains first thing in the morning with everything that is wrong in our community and the world as we brush our teeth, it is going to suck our energy right out of us. It is also going to keep our focus off all the amazing things happening in our lives. Likewise, looking at social media first thing in the morning is probably not the best habit for fostering peace and success. Schedule social media time as part of your designated free time or down time rather than when you are trying to set the tone of your day.
In case you are wondering, yes, I have had to start getting up a little bit earlier to implement my new habits into my routine. Most of my changes are states of mind and do not require any extra time. However, journaling and meditation do take extra time. Meditation has been part of me for years but often it was rushed or it would be the thing I would skip if I was running late. Therefore, I have been getting up 30 minutes earlier. I wake up at 5:30 am and am out the door no later that 6:45. It takes me 45 minutes to get ready and straighten the house and 30 minutes to meditate and journal. Eventually, I would like to wake up at 5:00 am and add some yoga or morning fitness to my routine but that would require me to get to bed a little earlier that what I am able to do at this time. Also, I have begun an evening routine that includes laying out the next day’s outfit and preparing my lunch in order to cut out any extra thought or preparation in the morning.
These small changes in my morning routine have made a big difference in how I approach my day and how I respond to the challenges that present themselves as the day unfolds. I hope you find some of my suggestions helpful for you as well.
As always, I would love to hear from you. Do you have any morning habits that help you have a better or more productive day?
Until next time,