Have you ever dreamed of what it might be like to wake up in peace and serenity? To hear the birds chirping lightly outside your window as you lazily roll around and stretch beneath the warmth of your plush blankets… Then slowly get up, read a book, drink some coffee, go through a relaxing yoga routine.. All before having breakfast, which of course would be a delicious affair, actually eaten at your dining room table and not from a greasy wrapper as you weave through traffic…
As you imagined that luxurious fantasy that you pretended to be your morning routine, I’m sure some of you thought, oh yeah, right like in a million years would I have time with my busy schedule to get all of that done!!
I’m here to tell you that, yes, you do have time. And you can have a peaceful and serene morning routine!
What are the benefits of having a routine that is practiced daily (ritualistically, if you will) first thing in the morning?
You will benefit emotionally
First off, you will benefit emotionally from performing tasks that you want to do. After the craziness and hectic chores of the day set in, we start to feel less and less like we have control over what we choose to do with our day versus what we have to or need to get done. Feeling less in control and instead forced to be moving through the motions of life can lead us to feel anxious, resentful and drained. By starting each morning off with some time to perform the tasks that you want to do you are setting your mind set in a bright and positive direction for the rest of the day.
You will create healthy habits
Second, it creates good habits. I don’t think I need to go into detail about what good habits versus bad habits are, but I will say that humans are creatures of habit.
Whether you think it or not, there is a reason why you tend to frequent the same grocery store, the same coffee shop, the same gas station, the same route to work, etc. Every once in a while we are excited and thrilled by a change that occurs, but if its a change that we don’t anticipate or are prepared for it can leave us feeling unsure and frantically trying to rearrange things back into their previous order.
With that being said, there are a lot of daily changes that occur throughout your day that you don’t have control over: unexpected rain showers cancel outdoor plans; your boss moves up the deadline on a big project; your child throws a tantrum while in the grocery store. All of these changes can add up in your conscience throughout the day, eventually leaving you with a feeling of loss of control.
When you add habits to your life (healthy ones, in particular) you are attempting to gain back control of how your day is dictated. By starting your day off with a healthy, enjoyable routine you are already planning for success.
Where to get the “extra” time from
So where does this “extra” time magically appear from? If you’ve ever complained about not having enough hours in the day I bet you were at least told once by some smart ass, “Well people like Oprah Winfrey or Albert Einstein all had the same number of hours in the day as you do!” Yeah, I know, not helpful to hear this.
However, the statement rings true. You may have a crazy busy schedule where adding in a morning routine just seems impossible. But I bet if you were to take out some less important tasks throughout your day (looking at you, mindless morning Instagram scroll and late night Netflix binges), you would be able to squeeze in some “extra” time in the morning.
What does it take to actually squeeze in that time? Spoiler alert: you’re going to have to make some adjustments to your current schedule.
For me, it was going to bed earlier and setting an alarm when I got up. It was also refusing to hit the snooze button. For you, it might be getting up a little bit earlier than the rest of your family so you can get an early work out in. If you’re tired when you wake up, try going to bed 15-30 minutes earlier every night.
There was a time when I had a job that began at 6:30 am and I had a 45 minute commute, not to mention having to get my daughter up and get her ready to go to daycare…. So in order to get what I wanted done in my morning routine (which included making breakfast, doing my makeup and having a ten minute stretch) I had to get up super early; and you guessed it! Go to bed early too.
What you choose to do with your time should be for you, and only you
When you start to make sacrifices for yourself, you will reap the benefits. Make sure that what you’re choosing to do in your morning routine is FOR YOU and not because its trendy or because the latest cover model of Vogue is doing it.
For example, I tried to work out first thing in the morning, but breaking a sweat before the sunrise just isn’t for me. So instead I do a relaxing yoga sequence. It leaves me feeling energized and gets my blood pumping for the day. I also try to squeeze in 15 minutes of reading a magazine while sipping my coffee before my daughter wakes up and thus ends the morning peace and quiet.
So, what should you do during your morning routine?? That answer lies entirely up to you! Well, really, it depends on how much time you can make, balanced with what is really important to getting your day started right.
If you have a chaotic morning of getting kids off to school, you might consider taking some alone time to sip your coffee and journal or read. Maybe your commute is long and you would like to enjoy breakfast at home then you could take the time to cook a hearty meal. Perhaps you feel that you never have enough energy at the end of the day to work out, so you squeeze in a quick session in the morning. Its also possible to get a load of laundry done if you feel that getting a head start on your chores for the day would leave you feeling great!
Whatever it is you decide to incorporate into your morning routine, I must be clear that you need to stay consistent about it! Remember that healthy habits promote feelings of positiveness and the more often you practice your daily rituals, the better you will feel.
It may be challenging to wake up a little earlier, so set yourself up for success by literally, well, setting yourself up! Set an alarm, set out your workout clothes/gear, set out your book, set up your coffee machine… and set a notification on your phone that specifies what you want to do with your morning to remind you what you want to get done.
There will be days when sleeping in is what you end up doing; and that’s perfectly okay! But don’t lose hope that with practice, your new morning habits will become something you look forward to before you go to bed and when you wake up.