The Power of a Morning Routine

Some mornings feel like a thread is pulled from the sweater of my life, and I am left a heap of yarn at the end of the day. Thankfully, I have had less and of those days lately. Thank you, morning routine!

What’s so great about a morning routine?

A morning routine can both nourish you and prepare you for a productive day.

HOW your start your day makes a big impact on the tone of the day! Begin the day by filling your own cup- it helps you be intentional and energized, and gets you out of reactionary mode.

What makes a nourishing morning routine?

There are lots of morning routine ideas out there; you need to make it your own. Take what speaks to you and incorporate it- leave the rest behind! Just take one or two ideas- small shifts- to prioritize your own well-being!  Best morning routine is the one that speaks to you and that YOU DO!

Some “building blocks” you can add to your own morning routine:

Drink lemon water.  Studies have shown that beginning your day with lemon water (warm or cold) jump starts your metabolism and digestive system, flushes out toxins, and rehydrates your body after sleep. Make it easy: slice lemons on Sunday night for week!

Physical movement. Stretch, yoga, walk. Just get your body moving!

Recognize abundance! Bring attention to all that you have in your life that is plentiful. This could be your warm blankets, hot water in your shower, cozy socks, a car that started. Because what you pay attention GROWS!

Sing! Singing reduces stored muscle tension and decreases the amount of the stress hormone cortisol into your blood system!

Mantras. An easy way to infuse day with positive beliefs and sends out to the world you are ready to receive goodness! A friend of mine recites everyday: “Something amazingly awesome is going to happen to me today!”

Visualization. Imagine the feeling state you’ll experience once you have completed X. (successfully complete the project at work, finish your exercise routine, etc.) Visualize it as if you already have that which you desire. Brain research led by Dr. David R. Hamilton, PhD shows that practicing visualization is so powerful it has helped people improve outcomes in sports, illness and injury.

Practice gratitude! Similar to the abundance practice, being grateful for what is in your life will help reorient your compass towards happiness. Journaling gratitude is a potentl exercise, and it’s accumulative effect is a powerful way to create a positive state of mind.

Meditation. Quieting the mind and tuning into ones own stillness can lower blood pressure, stress and anxiety, and improve self-awareness. It’s called a practice because there is no perfect meditation! Whatever way you come to stillness- by moving the body or by sitting- it all “counts.” And no, thoughts do not just stop- they happen to everyone. (Tip: Let them float by like a cloud instead of following them) Trying to meditate is meditating, so go ahead! Sit under a tree or on your couch and give it a go!

Daily reading. My favorite daily collection is Mark Nepo’s Book of Awakening. Perhaps you have a few books on your nightstand that you love; open one randomly in the morning and soak in whatever message was delivered to you that day!

3 Most Important Tasks. On a post it note write down 3 things that, by the end of the day if you can get these done you’ll feel accomplished. Everyday I have more than 3 things I want to do, but this gives me a visual and a reminder- and it’s quite satisfying to ball it up in the evening and throw it away- done! (Thanks, Courtney Pinkerton for introducing me to this practice!)

Write. Take 5-10 minutes, and practice “morning pages.” The concept is just write- don’t pick up your pen- non stop even if it’s jibberish! The process allows the left brain to be occupied and your right brain/creative brain to be expressed.

Get up too early already? Begin AFTER you return home! Some practices can even be done at work. Even if you have an unconventional schedule everyday starts sometime! Find a place to mark as your beginning, and center your practice then.

To support our nourishing morning routine we sometimes need to BACK INTO it. That means you may need to tweak some habits that aren’t serving you:

  • Turn off notifications on phone so it’s not first thing you see in the morning (reactive v. intentional)
  • Give yourself time to wind down at night. Get to bed 20-45 minutes earlier.
  • SET ALARM for bedtime! iPhone has a bedtime setting in your clock app! As a natural night owl, I can easily zone out and loose track of time. Sometimes I feel too tired to go to bed!
  • Setting out clothes, items you need the next day (works well for kiddos, too)
  • Get the rest you need by honoring the body signals at night. This will also eliminate the desire to hit the snooze button 3 times. Instead you can carve out that 27 minutes for your own well-being!

Remember:

  1. Make your morning routine EASY.

  2. Honor what you are already doing- singing in the car, walking to the train, etc.

  3. Practice layering nourishing practices with things you already do. Name 3 things your grateful for while you make your coffee. Warm up the car and close your eyes for 5 minutes for a meditation or visualization. Create a routine that works for you.

YOU have choices. YOU are in control. These practices are to help you center and remind you of the priorities in your life. Creating a life you want to lead can start with each fresh new day!

Looking for more support to kick-start your morning routine? Check out Practice + Action = Change! for program details!