Do you have a morning routine? Does it resemble one of these two scenarios?
Wake up. Notice the birds chirping outside your window. As your sit up on the edge of the bed you think of three things you are grateful for and how wonderful your day will be. You sit in meditation or prayer for 5-10 minutes. Fire up your blender with a delicious green smoothie. Get to work with 15 minutes to plan and focus for your day. Start your day with coffee and a smile.
Wake up. Slap the snooze button. Repeat this for 2-5 rounds. Drag yourself out of bed. Skip breakfast because you are running late. Get to work just in time or a few minutes late. Start your work day with coffee and a little anxiety.
Sound familiar? Have you ever planned scenario #1 the night before, gotten a terrible night sleep and found yourself in scenario #2?
Who are those elusive unicorns who manage to pull off scenario #1 most days of the week?
Is it magic? Luck? Nope–just planning and strategy.
Why morning routines matter
A morning routine can:
- Increase productivity for the day ahead
- Create space for you to have some personal time in your day
- Increase your focus going into the day
- Create a sense of continuity and calm by having a ritual, thereby decreasing decision fatigue
- Set you up for success in your day
Maybe it’s as simple as making your bed. It doesn’t have to be elaborate; the key is consistency.
Some ideas for simple morning routines:
- Lemon water: Starting your day with warm water with lemon is a nice way hydrate and stimulate your digestion.
- Tongue scrape: Ayurvedic medicine recommends tongue scraping every morning to remove built up bacteria and “ama” (toxic build up).
- Journal: If you are new to journaling, you might find a short gratitude practice is a habit that will stick.
- Yoga practice: A home yoga program is a nice way to start your day with mindful movement and breathing.
- Meditation: Even spending 5 minutes in the morning is enough to boost your focus and presence. It’s as if you are putting coins into a piggy bank every day and saving up for when you need the extra focus!
Is meditation something you practice? You’re on the right track.
If you suffer from persistent pelvic or other types of pain, a morning meditation practice can help build resiliency. On your better days you may not see the effects of your morning routine, but when you need to pull from your reserves you’ll be grateful you put the chips in the weeks prior.
If guided meditation is a style you like, try my morning meditation:
Perhaps your life is so hectic right now that your morning meditation practice is sitting at the edge of your bed and thinking of three people to send love to. That’s fine too!
Where do you lose time in the morning?
In order to set ourselves up for success, we need to:
- survey our current habits
- identify our strengths
- notice how we get in our own way
Once we figure out where we are falling off the rails, we can strategize to get ourselves back on track.
Challenge: I’m a chronic snoozer.
Strategy: Charge your phone across your room instead of bedside so you need to get out of bed to shut off the alarm.
Challenge: I have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep and then I am groggy the next day.
Strategy: Practice good sleep hygiene to the best of your ability. Tim Ferriss has a podcast episode about optimizing sleep. Set yourself up for a good night’s sleep by nourishing your nervous system before bed.
Challenge: It’s dark when I get up and I’m too sleepy to get out of bed and I’d rather stay under the covers than get up and meditate.
Strategy: In the dark, cold winter days I turn on the light next to my bed, pop up into Puppy Pose (like Child’s Pose but with your rear end in the air). I keep my eyes closed at first and let the light seep into my eyelids and give myself two minutes to get the courage to get out of bed.
Challenge: I have too many morning responsibilities…children, pets, etc.
Strategy: Try and do as much as you can the night before. As if you haven’t thought of this before!
My favorite strategy is to phone a friend. Having an accountability partner is beyond valuable.
I called my friend Sara Talley and asked her if she needed some support in any areas of her life. We both found that we could use and appreciate some accountability in some aspects of our personal lives.
Having someone to check in and report our successes to everyday is very helpful!
Reading personal stories about routines is always interesting to me. Here are a few ideas to inspire you/ to check out:
- Tim Ferriss podcast on morning routines
- Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages
- Mediation app (I use Sounds True because I also have purchased their products, but you might already be using Headspace, 10% Happier, etc.)
- I subscribe to the My Morning Routine newsletter and enjoy a quick skim through
- OR….have an evening routine if you aren’t a morning person!
Want to share your strategies for success? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!