“How you start your day is how you’re going to live your day and how you live your day is the way you live your life.”
How do you start your day? What are your habits like? Are you rushing to get showered, dressed and out the door? Do you fit a workout in? Maybe you meditate. We’re all different.
Think about how your mornings usually go. Now grab a pen and paper and write down a bullet point list of what you do from the time you get up until you get to work or your main tasks of the day. Make your list now (if you wait, chances you’ll take the time to write it out go way down).
Now that you have your list, look at it. What could be improved?
The way we start our days really does set the tone for the entire day. Think about a morning when you have time to sit and read a little or listen to a podcast or go for a walk. Now compare that to a morning when you hit snooze one-too-many times and are hurrying to get ready so you can be on time to work. Big difference.
Not only does that mental difference affect your emotions and mood as it’s happening, but it keys up your nervous system for the day ahead. When you’re already in a stressed state in the morning, it leaks into the next part of your day, and the next. You tend to feel like you’re already behind in things, whether it’s meeting or projects or getting a hair cut.
When you start your day in a non-rushed state, such as with mindfulness or exercise and allowing yourself a time buffer – you can sit and sip on your tea or coffee without having to constantly glance at the clock – your day flows from that place of being in control.
It’s simple, but you WILL notice the difference.
A big game-changer here, at least for me, is the time buffer. Allowing yourself extra time may mean you have to set your alarm a tad earlier and rouse yourself sooner, but the luxury of sitting and eating breakfast (and/or whatever other activities you choose to constitute your morning start) are SO worth it. And not only that luxurious time for yourself in the morning, but the rest of your day benefits too.
This doesn’t have to be every single day, but you will see and feel the difference. As much consistency as you can have, especially on work days, the better you will feel.
Some powerful activities to include in your morning routine include (try choosing 1 or 2 to include):
Physical movement (examples: exercise, yoga, walking)
Mindfulness (examples: meditation, writing)
Personal development (examples: reading, podcasts)
Good nutrition (examples: water, protein)
Connecting with others (example: spending a moment to check in with your family members or pets)
Remembering to breath
Of course, there are all sorts of recommendations for the best things to do to fill your morning routine. These recommendations can certainly be helpful, but I’m of the mind that every one of us is an individual with different set points, and that what’s best for each of us may be different. Yes, there are generalizations that can be very helpful for the vast majority. But find your own stride, your own rhythm – that’s where the most powerful place for you is.
Still want a few examples? Okay!
(Obviously, if you have kids, pets, or other family members in your home, or if you have specific needs to take care of in the morning, you’ll have to adjust for that – these are general outlines.)
Sample Morning Routine A:
5:00 am – Wake up! Drink a glass (8 oz) of water for rehydrate your body.
5:05-5:45am – Exercise: walk, jog, yoga, etc. Finish with stretching
5:45-6:15am – Shower and get dressed, put bag together for day
6:15-6:30am – Make food for the day, including breakfast
6:30-7:30am – Sit and eat breakfast, reading a book or the news, connecting with family, or watching nature out your window
7:30am – Leave for work and listen to a podcast on your drive, walk, train ride, etc.
Sample Morning Routine B:
6:00 am – Wake up. Drink a cup of hot water with lemon juice
6:10-6:30am – Yoga and stretching exercises, alternating days with alternate-nostril breathing meditation
6:30-7:00am – Shower and get dressed, put bag together for day
7:00-7:15am – Food prep for the day and make breakfast with your family
7:15-7:45am – Sit and eat breakfast, reading or listening to music or enjoying nature
7:45am – Leave for work and listen to some energizing music on your commute
Sample Morning Routine C:
6:30am – Wake up.
6:30-6:40am – Stretch and drink a glass of water.
6:40-7:00am – Shower and get dressed.
7:00-7:15am – Food prep for the day, including breakfast.
7:15am – Leave for work 1 hour early.
Arrive at work 1 hour early: Sit at your desk and enjoy your breakfast, reading or listening to a podcast. Afterwards, stand up and stretch, and take a 5-10 minute stroll around your office or ideally outside if you can. Return to your desk and review your schedule for the day – you are still ahead of schedule and have that luxurious time of being in the office before you have to start work – this sets the tone for your day to flow with you in control.
Sample Morning Routine D:
Write out what your ideal morning routine would look like. Start by writing down the time you need to leave for work (or an hour beforehand, if you liked Routine C and want to arrive earlier). Then work backwards timing-wise.
Pro Tip: At the end of your work day, take 2-3 minutes and jot down a to-do list of items that need done tomorrow and that are outstanding. When you put it down on paper, you are less likely to stress about it later – ie you can enjoy your evening and sleep better. It’s already on your list for the next day. And as Scarlett O’Hara said, “Tomorrow is another day!”
Do you have any must-know tips for morning routines? What really works for you? Please leave a comment if so, I’d love to hear.
May you be well!
The information provided here is not intended to replace medical advice or to treat or diagnose any medical condition. Please consult your doctor with specific questions and prior to beginning any significant diet or lifestyle changes.