Waking up in the morning has hardly been an issue for me. For as long as I can remember, I have been an early riser with early meaning as early as 6am onwards as anything before that is nighttime in my opinion. Morning routine though? Never had one.
So it should come as no surprise that I struggle with productivity and making good use of those quiet early moments. More times than I’d like to admit am I spending my first few hours in bed on my phone. In my defense, I’m usually reading news articles, researching for my blog, or planning a trip on Pinterest, and that counts as work-related. Doesn’t it?
From the comfort of my bed, I read stories of both successful and everyday people, waking up early in the morning and crushing their day. The morning crushers frequently attributed getting out of bed early and the routines they practiced to their having the ability to live their best lives and be the best versions of themselves.
I didn’t understand how I got nothing done but others were starting side hustle after side hustle with the same 24 hours I have.
So, I decided to create good habits and make a morning routine of my own. I wanted to make the morning mine.
I incorporated what I thought I’d like and need and do it because it makes me happy and be my best.
And I haven’t looked back.
Here’s the routine that’s turned my mornings around and got me making the most of my day.
My Morning Self-Care Routine
Wake up and get up.
I find that this part of my routine can literally make or break my day. If I’m able to get out of bed in time, then I carry that same energy with me into the rest of the morning and hopefully day. If I stay in bed for too long and have to drag my self out, then I can usually count on that kind of vibe setting the tone. Oh joy.
I set my alarm for anywhere between 6:00 and 6:45am and make it a point of duty to be out of bed within 15 minutes of waking. That gives me time to get my orient myself and meditate (more on that shortly). Anything longer than that and I’ll start falling behind schedule.
Say no to social media first thing in the am.
Social media first thing in the morning is one of the worst habits one can have… and yet I’m guilty.
Some mornings are better than others. I might take a quick glance at emails and other notifications, then hop out of bed and get things started. And then there are those mornings where I’m hypnotically scrolling through my Facebook feed, being as unproductive as ever.
Maturing and working remotely have both played their part in teaching me how important or even vital it is for me to connect only when I need to. It’s definitely a work in progress, but I’m cognizant of it at least and can tell myself “enough” and move on to something productive, and that, to me, is an improvement.
Meditation is key.
So, my sister suggested meditation to me quite a while ago and I wrote her off like the SF hippie she was at the time.
But then life hit me recently. A lot. All at once. I was in a bad mental fog for weeks on end and was desperate for new methods of healing that didn’t involve Netflix and/or Betty Crocker Classic Yellow Cake (with chocolate frosting, of course).
I finally turned to meditation. It didn’t take me long to notice the benefits and how it affected other aspects of my life. I called my sister to tell her about my experience and got a well-deserved “told you so”.
Needless to say that it’s now a regular habit. I’ve tried a number of apps but like Insight Timer and Headspace the best. I’m giving Calm a try soon as I’ve only heard amazing things about it. I’d love to see how they compare.
As for the benefits, I became more focused and productive at work and had more energy during my runs, and my overall mood felt lightened. There’s a noticeable difference compared to days that I do not meditate.
Like anything, of course, consistency is key, and that’s when I see the best results. Highly recommended.
We all know how important water is for the body and that we need at least 64 ounces a day. Hydrating is a big deal in the morning though. While the body is asleep for seven or however many hours, it isn’t getting hydrated.
There are several benefits of drinking water first thing in the morning, including:
- Increased alertness
- Releasing of toxins
- Jumpstarts metabolism
I try to get in two cups of water in the morning. Because I live in Florida, I’m usually filling my water bottle first thing in the morning and carrying it with me everywhere I go.
Get the body moving.
My morning workouts also have one of the biggest impacts on my mornings. On days where I skip my workout, I feel sluggish and that feeling follows me for most of the day, if not all of it. On top of that, it affects my diet too. I’m far more likely to make poor eating habits because I’m in that IDGAF mood. So, working out before work has become a constant in my life.
Plus, I have to because I sit at my desk all day.
With that being said, you will not catch me in the gym for hours on end, training for the next Crossfit games. I keep my workouts to 20-30 minutes and do them most mornings. I’m big on variety as that’s the only way I’ll stay consistently active, so I alternate my workouts between the following.
- 25-minute walk/run around the neighborhood
- 25-30 minutes on the elliptical or treadmill (usually only when it’s raining or still dark out)
- Kayla Itsines’ BBG Home Workout
- Yoga (Yoga with Adriene is my favorite)
If you’re wanting to incorporate activity into your life but not big on sweating for hours on the gym, I highly recommend going the 25-minute route. Even shorter workouts have their benefits, both short and long term.
Breakfast. Don’t Skip It.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that is not fake news. I never skip breakfast. Almost.
During the work week, I break up my meal. After working out and having a shower, I usually eat a banana and orange juice or coffee, then start planning my day. Maybe a couple of hours later, I’ll make a bowl of oatmeal, cold cereal, or scrambled eggs and toast.
The effects of not eating breakfast are inconceivable to me at this point because it’s not an option. Who wants headaches, poor productivity, and low energy?
Plan for the day ahead.
I usually like to get settled into my workbook or planner before getting my day started. This is usually quick and easy as I do the bulk of my planning the night before. I’m either adding to the list of to-do tasks and items or prioritizing them in terms of importance.
Planning and making to-do lists are absolutely vital in this routine. Without them, I might lose focus and get lost in meaningless distractions, and before I know it, the day is over and have very little to show for it.
I have the most energy in the morning and am the most focused, so I do my biggest, most challenging, or even unpleasant items first thing in the morning if I can. I’d rather get it out of the way and be smooth sailing the rest of my day.
Fueled and Ready to Conquer
Once my morning routine is complete, I am good to check my emails and start my workday or do whatever it is that I have planned. And the same goes for the weekends; I might sleep in a little later, but I still make sure my needs are met.
Because I prioritized myself and took care of everything that’s important and meaningful to me, I can better serve my role at work, pour constructive energy into my blog, and be there for my friends and loved ones to the best of my ability.
The cool thing about creating a morning routine is that it can be more or less of what I do for myself. There are people who wake up at 4am and run in the dark for an hour. Some opt to stay in bed for an extra hour to catch up on the news.
The optimist in me would hope that adopting a morning self-care routine will come to you as easily or naturally as it did to me, but that won’t be the case for everyone. So, the best thing you can do is adopt one habit at a time and go from there as the more you practice and adapt, the easier it will become.
And of course, do what works for you.
Create a morning routine of your own and share it below!
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