The secret of a morning routine is to start your day off with something you love, so that the rest of your day is productive and happy. I’m going to share what I do for my morning routine, as well as as ways that you can implement your own for a ‘wake up on the right side of the bed’ kind of day.
The Benefits of a Morning Routine
Have you ever woken up with a sense of dread, continually pushing the alarm clock to delay facing a new day? Man, I sure have. I had nothing to look forward to except getting dressed to go to work, and it was tough to wake my brain up enough to begin getting the things done that I needed. That all changed when I discovered morning routines! Am I sounding like an infomercial yet?
First of all, this sense of dread can be attributed to very serious issues such as depression, in which case a morning routine still helps, but I also encourage you to talk to someone and/or seek help from a professional. I’ve seen a counsellor, and I don’t think there’s any reason anyone should feel hesitant, embarrassed or ashamed about it.
Another reason you might dread your day is because you hate your job. I can relate to that as well, but most people can’t just quit their job since they’re adults with adult responsibilities. A morning routine, while it won’t suddenly make your job or the people you work with completely awesome, can really help put you in a positive mindset so that you can bear that sexist coworker or endless stack of paperwork with a little more tolerance and optimism.
Morning routines also let you establish good habits. Eager for a beach body but hate getting up early to work out? A morning routine can slowly turn you into a morning person that can get up at 5am to pump some iron or do your yoga. If you feel that you have no time for your hobbies or a quiet moment to yourself, a morning routine can carve out a little spot for the time to work on things like writing in a journal, writing a novel, skincare, meditation, and so many other things that seem to get lost in the business of your day.
My Morning Routine Happy Time
The morning routine I’ve developed has evolved from a desire to start my day feeling at peace, and to implement the habit of working on my novels every day.
Check Instagram In Bed
I don’t want to hit the ground running, I’m just not that kind of girl. I can get up super early in the morning easily if I don’t feel like I need to start working right away. It’s a little treat to look forward to, something that doesn’t require mental alertness or pulling off the covers to expose your poor body to cold, cruel air. It’s also a great way to ‘brainwash’ myself with images that inspire my creativity or just make me smile. I follow feeds with gardening, fountain pens and golden retriever puppies. How can you not be happy first thing in the morning after seeing a bunch of puppy pictures?
Teeth and Stuff
Hygiene, you irritate me so. It’s one of those things that you don’t look forward to but still need to get done. I don’t shower in the mornings because there is nothing more horrible than being cold and wet while you’re sleepy. So I brush my teeth and hair and do a little bit of skincare, and then call that good.
Oh ya baby! This is the part I really look forward to, that first cup of tea in the morning. I make chai because it’s my favourite ever, and since I use the Tazo Chai Concentrate, I literally just measure some out, add milk and microwave, and it’s done in less than 5 minutes. Ya ya, it’s cheating and probably makes purists scream in agony, but I don’t care. It’s quick, easy and delicious and accommodates my lack of coordination first thing in the morning.
Garden Inspection With Pups
There is nothing more beautiful and peaceful than stepping outside early in the morning with a hot mug of tea. It’s quiet except for the birds, the snuffling of two happy dogs and my own footsteps. The air is fresh and cool and my hands warm up on the mug as I slowly wander around my yard, inspecting each plant and comparing their progress to yesterday’s walk. If there is one thing I could recommend to add your morning routine, it would be to get a warm beverage and step outside to enjoy a few minutes in nature before the craziness starts.
My Morning Routine Gets Productive
The To-Do List
Okay, so I’ve woken up, I’m happy and calm, and with a clear mind I can now organize my day. I keep a written agenda with a sort of to-do list so that I can see what needs to get done that week, and what needs to get done that day. Sometimes I didn’t get everything I needed to the day before, so everything needs to be shuffled around. Looking at my day’s list I can get an idea of how my day will feel. If it feels too busy, I really narrow down on what absolutely has to get done that day, and what can realistically be put off.
Better than therapy. Morning pages clear your mind and your soul to allow creativity to follow. Morning pages are similar to journaling, but they follow a set of rules that let you do a sort of ‘brain dump’. My morning pages don’t completely follow these rules, but what I do works for me, so screw the rules (oooooh, I’m such a rebel). Jen Morris Creative has written an excellent post about it, so I will refer you to her.
I usually write all my letters in the morning. After I’ve done my morning pages, my mind is in a good sort of conversational mode, and I find that I can write letters in a more casual, conversational style. It kind of feels like I’m having a chat with a friend over morning tea (I’m on my second or third cup of tea by now), and makes me smile. My hand gets a little bit tired by the time I’m done the morning pages and letters though, so I usually only get one or maybe two done.
Hurray for working on novels! This part is a huge benefit of a morning routine. My mind gets used to the fact that after all of the above, it’s time to write. I try to start writing at the same time every day, but I will on occasion sleep in (whaaaaat, who does that?) so sometimes I start a little later than I want. Working on my novels is perfect after the morning pages and letters, because my brain is all warmed up and primed to make words words words!
How to Develop Your Own Morning Routine
First and foremost, start small. A morning routine is a habit, and all habits enjoy more longevity if you work on them in baby steps. I recommend giving yourself something to look forward to in the morning. For me, it’s taking five minutes to look at pretty pictures on Instagram. For you, it might be keeping a book of poetry beside your bed and treating yourself to a beautiful poem to melt into your soul first thing in the morning.
The next thing I would recommend is to start getting up earlier. It sucks, I know it does, but trying to develop a morning routine with no time is like trying to learn how to swim in a kiddie pool. Set a timer to go off fifteen minutes before you want to go to bed at night. I have an alarm called ‘Hidey-Hole’ on my phone, and it plays a happy little jingle at 10pm to tell me that it’s time to stop what I’m doing and go to bed.
Once you can consistently have fifteen or so extra minutes in the morning, don’t use them to get a head start on things you ‘have’ to do. Seriously, baby steps, remember? So far the only thing you have to look forward to in the morning is your first little treat. Adding a chore is not fun, not fun at all. I recommend getting yourself a cup of tea or coffee, and then stepping outside for just five or ten minutes to enjoy a few delicious moments in the sunshine. I promise that when it’s time to come back to your day, you’ll feel like you gave your soul a drink of soul water. Tasty!
After a month or two, you’ll probably feel the urge to add something else to your routine. Hopefully by now you’ve levelled up your ability to get to be on time, and are able to get up a little earlier. Sit down and write a few things you’d like to try adding to your routine. Experiment to see what works to boost your creativity and sense of wellbeing and satisfaction.