Many of us spend as little time being awake in the morning as possible, jumping out of bed at the last minute to hurriedly brush teeth, slam down breakfast and run out the door. It’s little wonder we look forward to each morning like a sane person looks forward to Trump’s latest tweet. But setting up a good, fulfilling morning routine will help ease you from the warm clutches of your bed into the cold, tedious indifference of the real world… So let’s get started!
Benefits of a Morning Routine
Apart from being able to pity brag about how early you get up in the morning, there are other benefits to getting up a little earlier:
- Starting the morning with a structured plan sets you up to be productive and focused
- There’s an awesome feeling of accomplishment checking off several to-dos before you’ve even left the house for the day
- Adding some movement to your morning will help wake you and make you feel like someone who has their life together. Like someone who eats kale a lot and smiles at strangers. A productive hippie, basically.
Components of a Good Morning Routine
Doing 20-30 minutes of yoga is a great start to your morning. Yoga is gentle and works to loosen up muscles that may be tight or tired. If you do any kind of weightlifting or resistance training, doing complimentary yoga the morning following your session is really good for easing out sore muscles, and avoiding D.O.M.S (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). For example, if you do a heavy quad focused leg session, following this up with a yoga routine that involves back-bends and hip-flexor stretches will feel insanely good in a kind of masochistic way. One of my favourite YouTube yogis is Adee of Flow with Adee – She has such a soothing voice, and is qualified in physiology, which makes you feel like you’re in good hands!
Alternatively, you can do a quick mobility routine, or a circuit of core exercises to make you more aware of your posture. Planks and Pilates based abdominal workouts are great for focusing your attention to your core, and helping you to sit or stand with correctly throughout the day.
Taking 5-10 minutes to sit peacefully and breathe will allow you to face your day feeling calm and relaxed. If you find utter silence too distracting, YouTube has an abundance of short meditation music videos, but maybe give them a listen through first. I’ve been shocked out of zen mode a few times by sudden changes in tempo! Alternatively, there are some very good guided meditations to be found of varying lengths. This article here from the New York Times has several recorded guided meditations to start your day with.
Planning and Journaling
I’m sure you will have heard of bullet journaling (or BuJo if you’re a tit). It’s basically a fast and efficient way of recording to do lists, events and notes all in the same place and you can make it as simple or as complex as you like. Good starting guides are here and here. I use the basic future, monthly and daily logs, but I also like to add a page to track habits next to my monthly log, and a page to summarise the start of each week.
The start of each day is a great place to take 5 minutes to look at what you didn’t get completed in your daily log yesterday, and move anything relevant across for the coming day. Or, to cross it out and pretend you don’t actually need to clear out your wardrobe today, because who can be arsed trying to decide which of your 5 “favourite” pyjama tops need binned?
You can also start to solidify your morning routine by breaking it down into habits, and tracking these in your journal. For example, you could have meditation, yoga, and sitting down to eat breakfast as a simple start. Breaking down your morning in this way makes all the tasks you’ve scheduled seem a lot less daunting, and getting a full house of habits ticked off in the morning feels incredibly satisfying. An interesting experiment here would also be to track your mood and productivity levels for the day to see if implementing a morning routine has a positive impact on your overall well-being.
Ah yes, probably the best part of a morning routine – Having the time to make a reaaally good breakfast. Now with extra time, you can fulfil your dreams of making Instagram worthy poached eggs on avocado toast, or one of those fancy smoothie bowls. Sitting down to eat and having the time to really appreciate and enjoy your food will allow you to feel more satiated, and this is also a good opportunity to slip in a little mindfulness. Leave aside the phone, newspapers and TV, and solely concentrating on the taste and textures of your breakfast.
How does your morning routine compare? Are you a natural early riser, or is it a total struggle to get up with your alarm? And what are your strategies for getting up early? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
May your mornings be more productive,