Morning routines are like wearing clothes.
Getting dressed is not a choice; it’s a necessity. We don’t stand in front of the mirror and think, “Um, should I wear my clothes today? You know what, I’m just not in the mood to wear anything. I’ll go out naked.”
Choosing an outfit is an automatic habit—and our morning routine can be too. With time, it becomes a natural routine, just like any other thing we do during our day—it flows.
You might think: what’s the point of a morning routine? Why can’t I sleep for a few more minutes, or scroll Facebook? I can relax here a little longer, and just hustle to get out the door on time.
Though we don’t plan to rush, rushing hurts us and our day. If we rush in the morning, it tends to carry on into our day, causing a cascading effect of mishaps and other issues. However, when we wake up at a slower pace, our entire day flows better. Giving adequate time to every single thing that we do is a precious way of being grateful for being alive.
It took me years to set up a morning routine without complaining or giving up on it. Therefore, I can tell you that baby steps, willingness, and patience are three essential things for success.
One thing I’ve learned about trying to accomplish things in our lives is not to force ourselves to do them; rather, we should motivate ourselves. To know if a particular routine is healthy for us, we need to experience it at least once first.
Anyone can incorporate the tips I’m suggesting below—even people with full-time jobs. It won’t take more than 40 to 50 minutes of your time. The fact is that we usually spend this time in bed on our phones, then we rush to get dressed and leave the house in 10 minutes. We can all find one hour in the morning, but the important thing is how we use it.
And, if we fail to do our morning routine, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up over it. Give yourself another chance; try again the next day. What’s imperative is to take action daily without making excuses.
Forget your phone, and do this instead. We may be used to instantly grabbing our phones to check the notifications while we’re still in bed. But I have realized that breaking this habit has given me more time in the morning, more energy, and has shifted my attention toward accomplishing more important things.
I even bought a digital alarm so I don’t have to use my phone at all. If you feel like you need an alternative, read for five minutes or listen to your favorite music. Putting your phone aside when you wake up helps you start your day with a calm, peaceful, and aware state of mind—instead of subconsciously storing information from social media in the morning, we can create valuable moments with ourselves instead.
Drink water. Before eating or drinking anything else in the morning, I drink two glasses of cool water (not too cold, not too warm). Drinking water on an empty stomach has many benefits. It hydrates us, cleanses our body through releasing toxins, and gives us an energy boost. Also, it is quite beneficial for those who have constipation problems in the morning, as water stimulates our intestines. Drink it at a slow pace while doing other things.
Make your bed. This might sound trivial, but trust me, it will change your day for the better. I’ve always believed that the way I leave my room impacts the outcome of my day. When I make my bed, I make my day. First, you’re starting your day with an accomplishment—and second, you’re leaving the bed better than how it was, which is what we should do in life: leave everything better than how we found it.
Go outside. Do you have a garden? Go out there for five minutes. Stand on your balcony, or peer through your window. Getting fresh air and exposing ourselves to sunlight in the morning can often help improve our mental well-being. Being in nature during the first hours of the day is great motivation to be productive and of benefit. The birds sing, the sun rises, the sky turns to blue, plants grow. Observe what’s happening around you for a few minutes, and enjoy the morning breeze.
Meditate. You don’t have to light incense, sit in lotus position, or pull out your singing bowl. A few minutes of meditation every morning calms us and prepares us mentally for the day. Meditation helps us become familiar with our thoughts and emotions. It’s a practice that teaches us patience and familiarity, instead of resistance and judgment. Sit in any position that makes you feel comfortable, and observe your breath and your body.
Set an intention. Today I will not judge people, situations, or my emotions. Today, I will be kind, compassionate, and do at least one selfless thing. Today I will be productive and make a change in the world, myself, and others—no matter how small.
What is your intention? Close your eyes, feel it, and say it out loud. Verbalize to the universe what you long to accomplish today. Setting an intention helps us stay centered and gives us the motivation to go out into the world and achieve what we want to do.
Bonus: “5 Mindful Things to do Each Morning.”
Author: Elyane Youssef
Image: Flickr/April Johnson
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Copy editor: Travis May