Create a mindful morning routine
Updated: Dec 21, 2019
Something I’ve found to be really impactful when it comes to feeling happy and well is how I start the day. How we approach our mornings sets the tone for the rest of our day, so being intentional about what we do can help us to set ourselves up and feel at our best.
Why morning routines work wonders
There are loads of benefits to having a regular morning routine, from reducing our stress levels to increasing our productivity for the rest of the day. First thing in the morning can be one of the quietest times of day, before distractions and responsibilities shift our focus, which can make it easier to prioritise things we want to do and develop new habits.
Each morning also brings with it a brand new day - a new opportunity to start afresh and gain a new perspective. By starting our day intentionally, we make a conscious choice to be proactive rather than reactive, and thereby claim control over our day instead of letting the day control us.
For me, it’s usually 10 minutes of meditation and some form of exercise, yoga or stretching, depending on how I feel and how much time I have. Then as early as I can, I’ll get outside for at least 20 minutes, either for a walk or coffee/breakfast in the garden. (I’m convinced that getting some natural light in the morning has helped me to sleep better, and there’s science to support this, so perhaps something to bear in mind if you’d like to improve your sleep!)
Now before thinking about your morning routine, I’ll share with you five tips I find helpful for making your mornings your own.
Some top tips for success
Make it work for you
You might be thinking, “this all sounds good but how on earth can I have time to myself with a husband and kids?” You’re not alone, and it’s normal for responsibilities and expectations to weight heavily on us. This is where you have to make it work for you. Could you perhaps wake up 5-10 minutes before the rest of the family does, giving yourself a little dedicated me-time? This could be the ideal opportunity to do something you want to do, putting you in a good headspace for the rest of the day.
Trial and error
Part of making it work for you is testing things out - not everything will suit us perfectly! Trying new things and experimenting can be a great way to discover what fits you and your lifestyle best. Don’t worry if it doesn’t seem to work at first, just notice what you do and don’t find helpful, and change it up as you go. Eventually you might find you’ve crafted your ideal mindful morning.
Aim to stop using your electronics at least an hour before bed to help ensure you get the best night’s sleep possible. Want to take it a step further? Before you go to sleep, put your phone on airplane mode, and keep it on for your morning routine. If you use your phone as an alarm clock, you might relate to the horror of being hit with a barrage of notifications when you reach to turn it off! But if your phone’s on airplane mode, you’ll be able to stay in your happy bubble of post-sleep contentment for a little longer. This gives you the time and space to decide what will help you wake up in a positive way and where you want to direct your attention. Perfect!
Make it easy
Lastly, I heard someone say recently ‘if you want to do something, make it easy’, and I think we can use this advice here. Have what you need ready and available for the morning (whether it’s your yoga mat laid out, a notebook to write in, or your coat and shoes for a walk). If there’s less effort required to do something, we’re much more likely to do it and therefore to make it a habit.
Keep it simple
There are so many things we could do in the morning, but we can’t do everything. I actually think that trying to achieve too much can be counterproductive, because we feel like we’ve failed after one day of not completing what we set out to do. Instead, I believe the key is to pick just a couple of things that make you feel good in mind and body, and make them a regular habit. It’s our small but significant daily actions that have the greatest impact on our lives.
Create your own morning routine
So here’s the fun part… time to create your own morning routine! Here are some ideas you could consider:
Walk in nature
Mindful cup of tea/coffee
Eat a healthy breakfast
Cuddle a pet/family member
Whatever you incorporate into your morning, enjoy carving out that pocket of time just for you. Start your day mindfully, on your own terms, and in the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, “Smile, breathe and go slowly.” You might just be amazed at the impact on how you feel.