How you start your morning sets the tone for the whole day.
Creating a morning routine that is tailored to your personal preferences/likings can easily become the backbone of your self-care.
An established morning routine means starting the day with intention and taking control of your day (instead of just letting things happen to you).
Benefits of a morning routine
There’s been a long-standing discussion among psychologists on whether or not willpower is an infinite resource.
I can see the argument for both.
On one side, it often feels like there’s only so far you can dip into your willpower bucket before feeling like you need a break.
For example: if you had to push through a tough day with an overwhelming amount of tasks, you’re less likely to find the resoluteness to go to the gym in the evening.
On the other hand, there’s the belief that willpower can be trained the same way we train our muscles.
Doing hard things repeatedly toughens you up – utilizing your willpower becomes easier.
Anyway – why am I talking about willpower here?
Because regardless of what your stance on the matter is, and however deep your pool of willpower, building solid habits can immensely relieve the need for it.
That’s precisely what a routine is – a set of habits that we perform regularly.
Automating our morning habits can soon turn into our second nature.
And since we know that our habits either make us or break us, we ought to be very prudent and careful when choosing and creating our routines.
“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”– John C. Maxwell
So what can a robust morning routine do for you?
1. Reduce and control stress levels
Starting the day in a set and predictable way (especially one that brings you joy) gives a sense of comfort and minimizes feelings of anxiety and stress.
Moreover, setting aside that time in the morning for yourself gives you the chance to focus on your needs, in order to be your optimal self during the day.
As we mentioned earlier, a morning routine means starting the day with intention and puts you in control of your day.
I don’t know about you, but knowing that I’m the one steering the wheel of how my day goes (instead of just going with the flow), gives me an immense sense of satisfaction and peace of mind.
2. Increased productivity
Psychology is fascinating.
Learning how the mind and brain work can tell us so much about our own behavior and how to modify it to achieve our goals.
For example, small tasks in your morning routine that are easy to check off your to-do list can give you the dopamine boost you need to motivate you with the more demanding assignments ahead.
It’s pretty much like the snowball effect.
Apart from that, starting your day with determination can do wonders for your focus and productivity throughout the rest of it.
How to create a morning routine that you can stick to?
Obviously, there are a few things that belong to every morning routine – you know, the “get ready”-list – teeth brushing, shower, getting dressed, etc.
So, to start – sort your “get ready”-routine ahead. Having a precise order in which you do things means fewer decisions to make right off the bat in the morning.
Being faster and efficient with these tasks frees time for more enjoyable activities.
Now, everyone’s ideal morning routine will be different and based on their personality and goals.
The way I like to approach this is by using these 5 essential questions as a guide to what should one’s morning routine include. Here they are:
– What grounds you/comforts you?
This could be breathing exercises in bed, practicing gratefulness, meditation, quiet time thinking while enjoying tee – anything that answers the question for you.
– What inspires you?
Is it reading, listening to music, or an audiobook? What makes you feel like nothing’s impossible and you can’t wait to better yourself?
– What brings you joy?
Might be a hobby? Or dancing? Video games sound great too! Anything that brings you joy and makes your heart feel lighter!
– What improves your health?
Nah, I’m not gonna tell you to squeeze a workout into your morning routine. If you’re not a morning-training person, there’s no need to push it.
But some stretching feels pretty nice in the morning to get the blood flowing.
Some warm-ish lemon water, a nutritious breakfast – great options to boost your health from the start.
– What spikes your creativity?
Is it painting, journaling, writing? Find something that unlocks your creativity.
Write down your answers!
Writing down the answers to those questions can give you a good idea of what you should include in your morning routine.
Obviously, most of us have a limited time in the morning and you probably won’t be able to include everything you want, but that’s where prioritizing comes into play.
Again – simply write it down. This will help you sort out what’s really important to you.
Use your notes to guide you until you solidify the habits and your morning routine becomes second nature.
What morning rituals are worth including in your routine?
Like we said already, everyone’s morning routine will look differently. These are just a few suggestions that are worth to at least consider and can benefit your life and health long term.
1. Make your bed
The benefits of starting your day by making the bed are manyfold.
It’s the first small step to keeping your home nice and clean, and we all know that a cluttered and untidy living space affects both your mood and productivity.
There are other psychological benefits to making your bed first thing in the morning. Ticking off an easy task like that feeds your brain with just enough dopamine to motivate for the rest of your to-do list.
Also – who doesn’t like to crawl into a nicely made bed at the end of the day? I’d argue that this also contributes to better sleep hygiene and may help you sleep better.
2. Phone-free time
Grant yourself some phone/social media-free time at the beginning of your day.
I don’t know about you, but I like to have stress-free mornings, and for me, this equals phone-free as well.
The internet and all its extensions bombard us with information, and, like it or not, this has a direct effect on our mental health.
Why not postpone this a bit and enjoy a peaceful morning?
I feel like I write about how important drinking water is in almost every post lately – lastly – here, where I tell you why staying hydrated is one of the best (and simplest) tricks for weight loss.
After spending 8 hours (hopefully) in bed, your body is desperate for water.
Before reaching for the coffee, make sure to drink at least 1 to 2 glasses of warm(ish) water.
Ideally, you can add some squeezed lemon in for an added zing and vitamin boost.
I kid you not, I’m the least morning person there is.
It’s really hard for me to motivate myself to do anything in the morning so having a set routine really helps me.
This is also true for my morning stretching routine. I keep it simple, and, frankly – almost always the same.
Despite that, it feels great to stretch and get the blood flowing in the morning.
You can check out my morning stretching routine in the video below.
You know how they say “Sleep on it!”?
Great ideas and wiser decisions do come at night/after a good night sleep!
Start your morning by pouring down whatever crosses your mind on paper.
Morning writing allows you to engage with self-reflection, sort out your thoughts and feelings, and boost your creativity.
6. Creating a to-do list
We already mentioned how important it is to start the day with intention.
Having a game plan for the day makes all the difference in the world.
For most of us, days are hectic and we jump from one task to another. It’s easy to get distracted, influenced by emotions or demands from others.
To be in full control of how your day goes and what you want to achieve, plan it ahead of time, and stick to your to-do list.
Doing this consistently will surely skyrocket your productivity and help you achieve all your goals.
I’ve always been very meticulous with my skincare.
Truthfully, for me, skincare is a form of self-care.
Grant yourself some beauty time with a mini pampering session in the morning that will keep your skin healthy and glowing.
After years of tries and errors, I’ve concluded that the best and most effective skincare routine is a simple one.
My go-to face product in the morning is Juno by Sunday Riley (aff. link). I kid you not, it has transformed my dry and sensitive skin, and I swear by it. No wonder it’s such a hyped product.
Things to keep in mind
A morning routine starts the night before
Proper sleep is essential for well, basically everything. Without sufficient sleep, it will be hard to stick to any morning routine.
If you’re struggling with sleep, I highly suggest you check out this article on natural ways to improve your sleep quality.
Keep it simple & realistic
Don’t be too ambitious when building your morning routine.
Stay realistic and keep in mind that you have a limited amount of time after all.
Write down the activities that qualify as must-do, calculate the time you need to execute them, and fill in the rest of it with activities that appeal to you (using the guide-questions above).
Building new habits takes time, effort, and determination.
As with everything in life, the most important factor is consistency.
To help yourself with that, especially in the beginning, use notes to keep you on track.
A well-thought-out morning routine can transform your life.
Putting in the effort to build one and sticking to it is an investment that pays out big.
Challenge yourself and better your life. You can do this!