Morning routines have become fetishised.
Why? Probably because they work and they sound like fun.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of a morning routine (and the only way you wouldn’t know is if you lived in a Wi-Fi free cabin surrounded by woodland creatures for company. If that is the case, do you have a spare bedroom?), let me explain.
A morning routine is a personally curated ritual designed to ‘set you up’ for an ideal day, and it goes way beyond the route habit of bathroom, coffee, get dressed, have breakfast.
Why has this phrase become a part of the zeitgeist? Simple, because (many) successful people have morning routines.
I had a morning routine for a long time, and though that routine changed in response to whatever was going on at the time (work, study, family), I kept at it … until I didn’t.
For the past year, my ‘morning routine’ had two setting: auto-pilot and response. When I wasn’t coasting through my day mindlessly, I was responding to whatever was going on around me.
The reason why the slogan of morning routines revolves around ‘setting yourself up for the day’ is because of their intentionality. Rather that responding to external stimuli, you decide who or what is worthy of your time. In most cases, a morning routine contains some element of mindfulness.
For example, here’s a bunch of activities that often appear in people’s morning routines:
- Breath work
- Walking the dog
- Drinking lemon water
- Gratitude practice
- Dry brushing
- Oracle cards
You get the idea.
How much time you want to dedicate to your morning routine is totally up to you; it can be as long or as short as you want.
Most morning routines seem to be made up of three to five of these practices. And often they go for 30 minutes – two hours.
I had forgotten how effect morning routines were until I started incorporating them back into my schedule.
The reason why I reintroduced a morning routine back into my days is because I was feeling frazzled, unorganised, and like I was no longer in control of how I was spending my time.
For a while, I used the excuse that I couldn’t have a solid morning routine because every day was a little bit different. It wasn’t until I gave myself permission to have a fluid routine that I was able to reintroduce them back into my life.
Here’s the general outline of my morning routine:
- Wake up, but stay in bed for a few minutes. Slowly become aware of the fact that I am awake and try to recall any dreams I had the night before.
- Scrape my tongue and drink a large glass of water.
- Morning pages.
- Meditate for ten minutes.
It takes about 30 minutes (usually), then I take my dog for a walk (30-60 minutes).
If time is on my side, I might read a couple of poems or a few pages of a book.
What has enabled me to keep this routine going is the permission to break these activities up. For example, rather than wake up early on gym days, I allow myself to do activities one and two before heading out the door and then three and four when I get home. On really busy days, it’s totally okay if I don’t do my meditation until 10 a.m!
The point is, introducing a morning routine has made me feel like I have gained control over my days again. Even if my schedule goes out the window – for whatever reason! – I can (usually) control what happens between 5 a.m. – 7 a.m. each day.
Morning routines are useful because they are a curated set of activities that you want to do. It provides a way to pay yourself first by injecting a sense of mindfulness and pleasure into your day.
And because these activities happen in the morning, it’s less like that your plans will be derailed by the forces of darkness (AKA email).
Deciding to do something and then actually doing it is the best way to remind yourself that you are in control of your life.
Now, I’d love to hear from you. Do you have a morning routine? If so, what is it and how does it support you? Leave a comment below and feel free to share your own morning routine.
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