For years, we have heard that eating breakfast is the key to a good morning routine and kickstarting our day. However, this is just one aspect of starting the day confidently. Maintaining a consistent morning routine has been linked to reducing stress and anxiety and improving productivity. By starting the morning on your terms, you are taking ownership of your schedule rather than letting it control you.
Find What You Can Remove
Focus on the pieces you can eliminate from your morning routine, not what you want to add to it. For instance, say you think waking up earlier will help with your time management. While this goal might be rooted in good intentions, it can be counter-intuitive if the snooze button becomes your best friend. Hitting snooze could be setting you up for a false start to your day, limiting your ability to gain control. Instead, listen closely to your body to help you pinpoint your ideal wake-up call.
You will also want to reconsider how long you stay in bed once the alarm goes off. It’s important to get up and move to wake up your muscles and mind. This doesn’t have to be rigorous movement it can be as simple as a 10-minute full body stretch or a walk around the neighborhood – breathing in that crisp morning air.
Such activities help promote the practice of stillness. Take advantage of these quiet mornings for prayer and meditation, instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media. Stillness helps to ground you, acting as a reset button from the day before, for the day ahead. From this exercise, you can also set an intention for the day with a self-affirmation.
Review the Day Ahead
Take a moment to review your list of daily action items, deciding where your energy and efforts should go. Not everything has to be top priority and it’s okay to prioritize certain tasks over others; take the day one step at a time.
Similarly, don’t rush through your routine. Whether it’s 30 or 90 minutes long, your morning routine is what you make of it. Take the time to focus on yourself and your needs. Don’t be afraid to have fun in the morning! It can be an “adult recess,” because why should school-aged kids be the only ones to enjoy this perk? Find one thing that makes you smile or laugh, whether it’s listening to your favorite playlist while you make your bed or dancing around your living room.
Whatever your morning routine involves, the goal of a routine is to reduce stress, not add to it. It should be your way of letting the light in your day with serenity, confidence and optimism.