Creating a Morning Routine
“When I’m tempted to skip my morning routine or another form of self-care, I remind myself that I can better serve the people I love and the projects I care about when I start with me.” – Courtney Carver
The beginning of our day holds promise. We can decide from the moment our eyelids reach for the sky--exactly how we want to begin the blank canvas of a day that is before us. I am a big believer in the power of routines. No surprise there, to those of you who know me! Routines have the power to bring us back to what we desire most. They remind us of who we are. They can also serve as a barrier to distractions that may be enticing in the moment but may inevitably leave us drained or more anxious later on in our day.
What is a morning routine?
Morning routines are as varied as we are. Some people enjoy two to three hour routines every morning. An example of a deliberate, more involved morning routine by Courtney Carver can be found here. Are you aware of her? She is the author of the Be More with Less blog and the book, Soulful Simplicity. She is also known for the minimalist fashion idea, Project 333 . So much goodness comes from Courtney Carver! I love how her routine grew out of a desire for self care after a medical diagnosis. But don't let the elaborate routine intimidate you! I find that most people have more simplified versions for every day, with one to five components that last anywhere from ten minutes to an hour. Start small if you are new to a routine as it will make it easier to be successful. You can always build on when you have the basics down.
An example of a simple morning routine. This past week-- my sister, Catherine, began waking up ten minutes earlier each morning. In that ten minutes, she allows herself time to start her day with intention. Catherine thinks of each of her children in love. The qualities that stand out about each one of them. She considers her husband in this way also. Amidst these thoughts, Catherine centers herself in the way she wishes to respond to her loved ones amidst her day. That is it! She has four children at home, spanning every major age group category. High school. Middle school. An elementary school age child. And a baby. We are talking about ten minutes. Catherine was sharing recently how this simple routine has allowed her to feel anchored in her day. She no longer wakes up in a state of panic but takes a moment to breathe deeply and to feel grounded in intention. How do you feel when you wake up in the morning? Are there ways you could feel better?
How do I build a morning routine?
First, consider and decide on an amount of time that you can realistically commit to a morning routine. Is it ten minutes? Thirty minutes? For many of us, this may dictate how much earlier we need to wake up each morning (Ahem! Morning routines are often times tied to night routines in this way. Our ability to get to bed at a healthy time is crucial to the success of our morning experience). Be realistic here. If you don't need to wake up early for your routine-- what might be a good start time based on how much time you have allotted? My morning routine is broken up into parts currently. I try to meditate before the children wake up. Hence, I wake up at around 6:10 am to allow for a quiet space in the house. Bam! My meditation is done. I then take a morning routine break to prepare breakfast and any lunches for my children who are heading off to school. Since I have my meditation done, I tend to be more attentive and more connected during this time. After I drive Winston to his nearby junior high school, my morning routine picks back up. I make our bed, get dressed, and head out to exercise. Upon returning, I eat breakfast and enjoy a hot drink. My day has officially begun! So technically, my morning routine includes morning meditation, making our bed, exercising, and enjoying a healthy breakfast and hot drink. You may want to try to only routinize the components that are naturally challenging for you. Here are some options for consideration for your morning routine.
I encourage you to choose components that seem naturally nurturing for you.
Some form of movement (yoga, gym time, weights, running or walking)
Making a hot drink
Turning on soothing music
Writing out a plan or strategy for the day
Reading some centering material
Why should I consider a morning routine?
The benefits of a morning routine are well documented. People often talk about feeling more focused in their day. Or feeling more centered and grounded. Beginning your day with a routine can allow you to experience a sense of accomplishment and self-mastery. You may feel more connected to yourself and others as you have fueled yourself in vital ways before turning your attention outward. I have found I am more productive and focused. Try it and see how you feel!
Morning routines should not feel daunting or demanding. A well- structured routine should feel good to you. Like soul food. My advice is to keep it as simple as you can. Set yourself up to be successful. Take the time to really figure out what component (s) will give the most to you and go for it! Do you have a morning routine? What does it look like? How has it benefitted you? I would love to hear about your experience with morning routines.