A while back, I talked a bit about my pre-bedtime screen-free hour and now I’m back to talk about the importance of developing a morning routine. As a self-proclaimed “morning person,” the period between 6 and 10AM is typically my favorite, and often most productive, time of the day. This may sound ridiculous to all of the night owls out there but I do really enjoy my first few hours of being awake. Despite being a morning person, coming into the day can still be challenging. Because I usually wake up energetic and ambitious, it’s easy for me to end up frazzled and overwhelmed within the first ten minutes of being awake. Furthermore, as a graduate student, my schedule is often somewhat open, leaving it up to me to create structure. Developing a morning routine has been absolutely critical to helping me center and ground before embarking on the day.
The critical components of morning routine are: warm lemon water, 5-15 minute meditation, a non-politics related podcast. These practices naturally developed for me.
Think about what you already do: Rather than designing an overly romantic list of morning practices, think about the things that you already do in the morning. Do you usually make coffee when you wake up? Maybe you rinse your face with warm water to give yourself a jolt? In an ideal world, we could all have elaborate morning routines that served no practical function but in reality, most of us have things to do. So instead of adding things on top of what you already have, think about taking a different approach to the practices that you already have in place. This brings me to my next point …
Bask in the Ritual: This point is essentially a continuation of the previous one, adding in the element of mindfulness. In order to transform your morning habits into a — morning routine, shift your mindset to one of self-care. Take the practices that you already have but instead of running through them passively, perform them mindfully and with an ethos of self-love and compassion. Taking this approach to your morning helps set a tone for the day ahead.
Set a Tone: For me, the most important function of a morning routine is to set a tone for my day. What feelings do I want to characterize my day and how I can cultivate those feelings on my own before exposing myself to externalities? I use my morning meditation practice to create a feeling of calm and positivity before things gets going. Experiencing this feeling first thing gives me a foundation that I can return to throughout the day.
Set Yourself Up: This tip is the most practical of the list. In order to get the most out of your morning routine, do yourself a favor and set yourself up the night before. If you know that waking up to the smell of coffee makes you feel amazing, set your coffee pot to start brewing five minutes before your alarm. If you’re like me and your love waking up to a clean kitchen, wash your dishes and wipe down the counters as a part of your night time routine. These little setups usually take less than five minutes and they can make a world of difference for your mood coming into the next day.
No matter if it’s 10 minutes or an hour, take a little time to indulge in your morning routine. It doesn’t have overly luxurious, it just has to work for you.