What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
Let me guess; you check the time on your phone, blurt out a curse word or two about how late you are, rush through a quick shower, put on the first outfit you see, and step out the door without even giving breakfast a thought— and if you’re like me, probably forget your phone.
Even if the above description is at an extreme, and does not in any way describe your mornings, you would probably not say that you enjoy leaving your bed, let alone your house in the morning. Now, I’m not saying that with a morning routine you will be jumping with joy every time your alarm rings.
According to Benjamin Spall and Michael Xander, in their book, the first few choices you make at the start of your day determine how you’ll spend the rest of the day. A well-tailored morning routine allows you to check in with yourself on a daily basis, and gives you the power to decide what you will carry throughout the day. This act of mindfulness sets you up for a productive day, and essentially, life.
Why You Need a Morning Routine
Your stress levels are greatly alleviated when you have plenty of time to get ready in the morning and partake in activities that are not only pleasurable, but also soothing— in a way that relaxes both your body and mind.
A morning routine defeats rush and puts you in a position to leave the house in a state of calmness and self-acceptance. Starting the day this way allows you to crush everyday tasks that come your way confidently and with a positive attitude.
A great morning routine entails activities that help improve focus, among other things (which we will get to in a while).
Additionally, the action of sticking to a morning routine not only makes you more disciplined, but a strong mind-body connection also synchronizes your thoughts with your body, helping you stay focused.
Provides mental clarity
Another major benefit of having a morning routine is the fact that you take time to stop and organize your thoughts. It is easy to lose yourself in the fast-paced noisy world that we’re currently living in. An ideal morning routine will not only help you shed mental clutter, but it will also provide you with a clear picture of where you’re going, and what you need to do to ensure that you get there— thus being in full control of your destiny.
A Healthy Morning Routine Checklist
Like many things in life, one person’s morning routine will not work for you the same way it works for them. This is because you are incomparable, ergo deserving of a routine that was created just for you.
In your quest to coin the perfect morning routine, you have probably come across titles in the lines of, “morning routines of highly successful people.” And in these, you might have been put off by, “wake up at 5 am.” Well, take it from someone who’s not a morning person— your morning begins whatever time you get your pretty self out of bed.
With that in mind, as I was creating my own morning routine, I compiled everything you need to consider when designing a morning routine, in order to come up with one that will foster you towards living your best life.
- Night routine
Yes, a successful morning routine begins the previous night. To curb morning rush and stress, plan out your day before you go to bed;
- When you get home from work, empty out your purse and store everything in a specific storage location (including jewelry and other accessories). This organization technique will come in handy in the morning, especially if you change bags from time to time.
- Have a healthy dinner. It is advisable to do this a few hours before you sleep, to avoid discomfort and indigestion. Use the time after dinner to prepare for tomorrow.
- Lay out tomorrow’s outfit (and workout apparel alike). This will save you time in the morning and it will also ensure that you dress with intent. You can also use this time to pack everything that you intend to take with you the next day.
- Take a few minutes to reflect on your day. Acknowledge both your wins and fails; be grateful for the wins, get over the fails and seek to do better tomorrow.
- Plan out tomorrow’s schedule— write down your top priorities in a notebook/planner, so that you know exactly what to do the next day.
- Get a restful slumber.
- Time conscious
Set a specific time to wake up, every day. This should be a time that you are comfortable with, depending on the time you go to bed— being a night-owl should not stop you from having a morning routine.
When setting a time, have in mind what your morning routine consists of and create enough time for that as well. The plan is to have a slow-paced intentional morning.
Replace those morning curse words with messages of pure manifestation. Find words of affirmations that you want to tell yourself, and spell them out loud every day.
‘Words of affirmation’ are not a love language by accident; affirmations have the ability to reprogram the subconscious mind and encourage us to believe certain things about ourselves and/or the world— and our role and place in it. These utterances are therefore a way of speaking the life you want into existence.
The purpose of a morning routine is to better yourself. This is why you should not have one just because it’s a thing that everyone else is doing.
Your morning routine should be for spending time with yourself, while taking care of you. With that being said, if you live with other people, try not making the fact that you’re up a public announcement.
For morning self-care:
- Limit distractions and take this time to do things that you love. Journaling is one way to increase self-awareness by expressing your thoughts and goal setting.
- Avoid surfing through social media as soon as you wake up (you have the rest of the day for that) — this not only wastes time, but could also affect your mental health, negatively.
- Do your hair and makeup without having to rush.
- Do something creative.
- Listen to some feel good music.
- Mental wellness
Seek to learn something new every morning by indulging in activities that grow your mind. Do not underestimate what 5 minutes of learning can add to your life and overall well-being.
You can never go wrong with a book, podcast, TED Talk or even an article that teaches you something new.
- Physical wellness
I know that exercise is not for everyone, but tell you what— do whatever feels right for you. If you’re not into intense workout activities, maybe a calm yoga session is exactly what you need. The good news is that as little as 5 minutes of a physical activity of your choice is enough.
A healthy breakfast also falls in this category.
- Mindful practices
To maintain a healthy work-life balance, you should make mindful practices a part of your morning routine. The bulk of your morning should be centered on mindfulness— a very important part of this process is being present.
Living in the here and now can only be achieved when you make a conscious decision to let go and drop past frustrations (yesterday fails).
Try meditation as a technique of controlling your thoughts and channeling all your energy to the present moment.