We’ve received some requests to help our community members jump-start the morning, and to be honest, this topic feels a little tricky because there are SO many different ways to make this happen. If you search for “morning routine” ideas online, the results are pretty overwhelming.
This is partly because it really depends on your stage in life. (Are you a parent of young children? Do you work a full-time job outside the home? Are you an entrepreneur? Are you retired? Do you have health issues?)
It also depends on your personality and values. (Do you want to create a day full of energy and accomplish a lot of things? Do you prefer moving at a steady, slower pace and savoring the joy of each moment? Do you like to create a solid plan and work that plan? Or would you prefer to have lots of open time and pay attention to the needs that come up around you?)
Some morning routines my friends have shared on their podcasts would stress me out. They’re waking up before 4am, diving right into work, working all day, barely seeing their families, and then going to bed pretty exhausted–ready to do it again. Now, if that works for their lives because of what they value, that’s totally up to them, but my goal today is to share just a few principles of a solid morning routine that I think will benefit the majority of us.
(1) It works with your sleep schedule and the amount of sleep you need. If you have teenagers keeping you up until 11, then getting up at 5 (if your body needs 8 hours of sleep, and you don’t always have time for a nap) is just going to make you sick and depleted. Our typical schedule enables me to get to bed around 11pm and wake up at 6:30am–and then I take a nap most days for 30-60 minutes.
(2) It leaves us spiritually prepared for the day. In the book Master Your Mind (affiliate link!), I learned that the morning and evening moments–right before you wake up and before you go to sleep–have the most impact on your subconscious mind. And your subconscious mind directs most of the decisions you make during the day. So if, right when we wake up, we have a way to connect with our Higher Power, pray or meditate, read scriptures or an inspiring book, review a vision board and/or positive affirmations, and prepare our spirits for the day ahead, it greatly impacts everything else we’ll do.
(3) It helps us “create our day.” Taking some time to review our calendar and date-specific tasks (which ideally feel simple and focused), spending a few minutes envisioning the kinds of experiences we want to have with our loved ones, thinking through how we will nurture our bodies, and planning how we will use our energy for good that day is also really helpful. (On days when I don’t create my day, I have a tendency to wander…which can be fine some days, but in general, this mental/spiritual “creation” leaves me feeling really happy at the end of the day because I had more intention.)
(4) It prepares us physically for the day. For me, this looks like drinking water, brushing my teeth, getting outside for a walk with Sunny, exercising (Caroline Girvan’s Iron Series right now…), having my morning green smoothie (that lasts me 4-5 hours), taking a shower, getting dressed in clothes I like, and doing basic hair/makeup, so I’m ready to receive visitors, have a video call, go on errands, etc.That physical preparation also includes our environment. I love to start my work day with a clean and tidy home, and because I have my Command Central in place, our house is mostly decluttered, and the routines we have in place generally keep things clean. In the morning, I make my bed and then tidy up the house as I walk through it. Maybe some dishes we washed the night before need to be put away, some items need to go out to the recycle bin, a counter needs to be wiped down, etc. We also do a “tidy” session each night before bed, so it just takes a few minutes here and there.
One final thing I’ll note about the morning routine is that we want it to be flexible enough that the routine doesn’t get in the way of the relationships. If Spencer wants to come in with Sunny in the morning to chat/hang out/look at memes on Instagram, I’m not going to shoo him out of the room and say, “I’ve got to get to my routine!” Or if Eric and I have had a lot going on, and we want to sleep in for a bit, I’m not going to freak out and say, “I have to get up and do my morning routine–even if I am tired–and I am going to go be successful, whether we like it or not!” There’s definitely truth in the idea of “mind over mattress,” and having discipline and consistency is great. I’ve just found that when I stress out over the morning checklist, I often forget how important my relationships are. There’s got to be a balance there.
These kinds of things work really well for me–as an almost empty-nest entrepreneur working from home, but 10 years ago, my mornings were not as predictable. We had four young children (ages 4-12), and my morning routine sometimes stretched until lunchtime. However, I still did these same activities. Sometimes the workout was shorter, the time connecting with God was interrupted, and my daily preparations felt pretty haphazard, but I kept trying…. And if you work full-time outside your home and need to get up super early to commute to work, you might lean more toward audio recordings that strengthen your spirit, exercising during your lunch break, and fitting replenishment into some 10-minute breaks throughout the day.
I don’t think there’s a “wrong” way to have a morning routine, but I think the key question is, “Is my morning routine consistent with my values and does it support me in creating my ideal life?”
I’d love to hear your thoughts! (You can share them in the comments!)
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