Crafting a Morning Routine

Are mornings just the worst for you? Not feeling motivated, energized, or excited about each day? Our energy levels always ebb and flow and not every morning is going to be sunshine and rainbows but it doesn't need to be a sense of dread every day either. And routines can help. It's easy to feel drained before the day even starts when you don't know where you're going, and a routine can set a tone for the day and jumpstart your health goals. There's no one size fits all routine. Some will naturally fit in more things than others, but no matter the level of difficulty, there's benefit in committing to just a few steps that work best for you.


Not everything on this list needs to be in your personal routine, it's just a bunch of options to choose from. My advice is to choose four or five things from this list and start incorporating them into your morning every day. 


Physical Health

Stretching and/or moving. Nothing major, just 5-10 minutes of moving your body. You body gets stiff after sleeping all night so spending just a couple minutes each morning getting some stretching and light movement in gets the blood flowing again and helps wake up your brain. 

Go for a walk. It doesn't need to be a long one, but it can be a nice way to incorporate a lot of healthy thing things in one - movement, fresh air, sunlight, gratitude, meditation, even quality time with a loved one (I take Hawkeye!) 

Adopt a skincare routine. Skin is the largest organ in the body, so take care of it! It's one of those things that pays off in the long run. A lot of skincare routines online are much more complicated than they need to be, so this doesn't need to be the huge undertaking it seems like. I love Hyram over on YouTube if you want to get down to the basics and essentials. Personally in the morning I cleanse with a super gentle cleanse, put on a vitamin c serum, moisturize, and add SPF. And as a side note, Pacifica makes a vitamin c - moisturizer - SPF combo so bam, two steps and done.

Take a shower. Most people fall into the category of being a morning shower person or a night shower person, but people who shower in the morning report feeling cleaner, more energized, and ready to be productive throughout the day. It could be worth a try for you too.

Make a smoothie. If you struggle with getting enough fruits, vegetables, or greens into your diet, starting off your morning with a smoothie is the way to go. Smoothies are a great way to give yourself energy first thing in the morning and take only a few minutes to make.

Drink a large glass of water. I feel like everyone is under-hydrated. If you forget to drink throughout the day, drinking a large glass of water each morning can jumpstart your hydration.

Make a cup of coffee or tea. Yes, physical health! There are a lot of good nutrients and antioxidants in both of these beverages. If you don't load them with sweeteners, they're a healthy part of a morning routine and help with focus throughout the day. It's why my dad allowed coffee for me so early, he knew it would improve my brain power at school. 


Physical Space

Make your bed. Making your bed each morning is an easy way to start the day with a small win. It makes the space feel tidy and is something to enjoy at the end of the day too. And a small win like that builds momentum to head into the rest of the day.

Open a window. Homes can often feel stuffy and stale, especially overnight when the air just isn't circulating as well. Opening some windows allows the oxygen to cleanse your home and gives you more fresh air and energy. 

Let light in. Try letting some daylight into your room as soon as your alarm goes off. We're naturally programmed to wake with the sun. So your body sees the light and responds to it, waking you up faster and bringing some energy to your morning.


Productivity

Identify the top three priorities for the day. We all know the overwhelm of having a giant task list but the truth is, we're only going to get a finite number of things done in a day. Most planners and other goal setting tools have space just for the top three priorities for the day for that reason. Knowing these top three gives the day a sense of direction and know where your priorities lie.

Brain dump everything else you want to accomplish that day. Yes, yes, just top three priorities. But it can also be helpful to do a brain dump and list out everything that you want to accomplish. You won't get it all done, but mentally, it helps to get everything out on paper and out of your brain. Then you can organize the information and make a plan on tackling the tasks for the day. 

Lay out your clothes the night before. This is an element that you’re actually doing the night before in preparation for the morning, but it still counts - one less decision you need to make in the morning! The choice was made the night before so no closet battle during the precious morning hours.

Get fully dressed. Getting fully dressed every day is part of the Fly Lady routine, even if you have no plans to leave the house. It's because it's a way to mentally prepare for the day, so your brain know it’s time to be productive. 


Mental Health

Read a chapter of a book. Refer to my post last month about reading more - there's a lot of benefits to it and we all want to do it, so if you work a chapter into your morning routine, you'll finish more books than you thought possible.

Listen to a podcast. But, your brain may not be fully awake and functioning at maximum capacity to read a book. Fair. Listening to a podcast instead can be a great way to get your brain working and learn something new each day. 

Write down your gratitude list. This is a powerful habit that can impact how you feel throughout the rest of the day. If you spend time reflecting on the things you have and are grateful for, it lifts your entire mood  and energy levels for the day.

Meditate. Distracted or constantly chasing thoughts all day? Meditation. Best way to get centered and focused before the day starts. You can also set your intentions for the day while you do so, giving your day better flow and clarity.

Pay a little attention to a loved one. It's such a tiny thing but can have a big impact on your loved one's day. It could just be saying I love you with a kiss before someone you live with heads off for the way, or it could mean sending a text to someone you miss. It makes everyone involved feel good. And who doesn't want a little positivity in the morning? 

Spend time on a hobby. Puzzles, taking care of plants, writing, scrapbooking, it doesn't matter what your hobby is, only that it sparks joy in you rather than feel like a chore. Incorporating something simple and fun into your morning takes just a few minutes but improves your mood for hours.


So think about what four or five of these elements you want to incorporate into your morning routine so that you can create one that works best for you and serves your mental, physical, and emotional health goals. You can always tweak it along the way to find what system works best for you.

Mine? Coffee, skincare, attention to a loved one, and walking. I also usually end up getting fully dressed and making a smoothie, but those tend to come later in the morning.

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