Ideas for a morning routine right for you
Do you have a morning routine? There are so many books and frameworks available now that each believe to have the secret to the perfect morning routine that is going to change your life – and they may do for some people. Read on to find out how you can create a morning that is best for you.
So what is a morning routine and why have one?
A morning routine is, as you might imagine, a routine, or set of activities you perform every morning before you start your day and face the world. Although I don’t believe in a rigid approach to morning routine, I do believe that by taking some time for ourselves ideally first thing in the morning, that we can have a hugely beneficial impact on our mind-set, mood and energy for the rest of the day.
By taking time before we engage with the rest of the world, whether that is through our phones, social media, and even our families, we start the day on our terms, and are able to create a spaciousness to allow us to connect to ourselves, our intentions and decide consciously how we intend the rest of the day to follow.
Everyone is Different
Although there are certain things that are probably beneficial to most people to include in their morning routine, not everyone is the same, and different things work for each of us, depending on our preferences, our energy and our life circumstances.
This is key when starting to think about your own morning routine, and what it might look like.
Some guiding principles for your morning routine
The idea of a morning routine is to create space, tune in to yourself, and set you up for the day ahead. It is not intended to cause you any stress, overwhelm or guilt by becoming another list of things to check off your to-do list (or not). With that in mind, consider these guiding principles when think about your morning routine.
Keep it realistic – how much time can you make? What is your energy like in the morning?
Keep it simple – choose one or two things and start there. See how you feel over a couple of weeks before adding anything else.
Make it obvious- I don’t know about you, but it takes about 30 minutes before my brain kicks in in the morning, so make it obvious. Leave your journal out, have your yoga clothes or running shoes already laid out.
Keep it flexible – so important! Every day is different. Try your best to do something every day, but give yourself permission to change your plans.
Ideas for what you could include
1. Meditation– I have placed this at the top of the list for a reason. I believe this is THE ONE thing we should all do every single day. I wrote a blog post last year with a few pointers to get your started. There are also some great apps available to guide you in meditation. A couple of my favourites are Sanctuary and Insight Timer.
2. Yoga postures– a close second. This doesn’t have to be an elaborate sequence (although of course you can do as much as you want!), and could be as simple as a few sun salutations, like I wrote about here. If you haven’t practiced yoga before, it’s best to learn the correct alignment breathing from a teacher in person, but you can also lean a lot from online classes if going to a studio is not feasible for you.
3. Breathing exercises– or Pranayama. My favourite daily pranayam is alternate nostril breathing or Nadi Shodhana. So many benefits, and will reset your nervous system for the day ahead. You can also do this prior to your meditation. Watch a tutorial and learn a bit more here.
4. Morning pages– Morning pages is a form of journaling, when you just write and allow your stream of consciousness to flow onto the page, first thing in the morning, when your mind is still not fully awake. This is great for getting all of the noise out of your head to create spaciousness, and it also gets your creative juices flowing, and can lead to great shifts and realisations. Watch Julia Cameron, who created the idea of morning pages, explain here.
5. Spending time outside– Maybe your urge first thing in the morning is to get out into the fresh air. Perhaps your morning routine is as simple as taking a glass of water or hot drink into your garden to sit, or to take a walk near your home or in nature.
6. Exercise– Move your body! Indoors or outdoors, whatever is your preference (and of course may change depending on weather, season etc). Maybe go for a run, go for a walk with your dog, create a short circuit at home (for example, jumping jacks, skipping, running on the spot, push ups, sit ups).
7. Reading– use this time to read a few pages of a book. This is especially great if you find you don’t get time to read for the rest of the day, 15 minutes every morning adds up, and you’ll be getting through books in no time!
8. Planning your day and other projects– Do you wake up with your mind on overdrive with things to do and ideas? Take the time in the morning to get everything out of your mind, plan your day, plan your various projects. This will help you feel more in control and reduce overwhelm and help the rest of your day run more smoothly.
9. Visualisation – We create our realities. Use the power of imagination to visualise how you would like your day to unfold. Reaching for a goal? Visualise the attainment and feeling of your goal and dreams. This has a powerful effect on your subconscious mind.
So there are just a few ideas. Your morning routine can look however you want it to. We are all individual, and what works for someone else may not work for you. Also, what works for you one week, might not work another. Our needs change with the seasons, with our monthly cycle as women and with our life circumstances.
Although I truly believe in the power of creating this space for ourselves and in the cumulative power of habit, self-compassion is key. This means do what you can but don’t hold yourself to unrealistic standards and allow yourself flexibility if you need it.
My hope is that you find some inspiration here for creating a morning routine, or have gained some new ideas, or a new perspective on morning routines.
What are your thoughts on morning routines? Do you have one? I would love to hear what you think!