A good morning routine fills your cup so you’re ready for the day.
You start the day intentionally, tuned in to yourself, rather than having your thoughts and emotions run on default, filled with the turmoil of the news of the day and social media.
What works for me and makes my morning routine something I looked forward to is having a morning-routine buffet.
There is a loose structure. I typically wake up before the family is up (somewhere between 4:30 and 6:30 – mid-life has made sleep weird). I sit on a cozy spot on the couch with my blanket and coffee, and I have a few particular ways I like to spend my time.
What I choose to do and for how long, depends on how I’m feeling, what I need and how much time I have.
I’m sharing my morning routine selections below to give you some ideas and resources that you might want to use as you create your own self-care spread. But I encourage you to check in with what feels right to you and then give that time to yourself.
Practicing meditation quiets the mind and helps you get into the present moment.
Tara Brach is my very favorite meditation teacher. Her guided meditations are straightforward, with no music and long stretches of quiet. She has years of free meditations of various lengths to choose from.
Insight Timer is a smartphone app has a timer if you want to meditate on your own, but it also has a huge variety of free guided meditations or music to choose from.
Writing down your thoughts keeps them from swirling around in your head, taking up your mental energy, and gets them on to paper where you can see them for what they are and choose to do something about them or let them go.
Self-Connection Journaling Prompts
These were created by my friend and mentor Carrie Contey. Your answers can be as short or as long as you want, but they are a way to tap into your body, mind and spirit.
- How did I care for myself yesterday?
- How will I care for myself today?
- Right now I feel… (physically and emotionally)
- I am appreciating… (list 5 things, big or small, that you’re appreciating in this moment)
- My intention for today is… (how do you want to show up to the day?)
- I am joyfully anticipating… (this can be something concrete that is actually in the works or it’s something you hope will happen someday)
- Lately I’m learning… (what’s a recent “a-ha” or insight)
Write out all the thoughts and feelings swirling around in your head. Hold them with curiosity instead of judgment. If you are familiar with self-coaching or you are working with a coach, you can map out how your thoughts affect your feelings which affect your actions and explore how they are serving you.
If you have specific goals you are working on, use a journal to write them out in the present tense, as if they have happened. Then sit with the feeling that accomplishing those goals brings.
READING & LEARNING
Sometimes I use this time to read a bit of a book, do some self-study, or read, listen to or watch my favorite coaches and other thought leaders.
Here are a few of my favorite books for personal growth and self-reflection.
- Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create and Lead by Tara Mohr
- Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Yourself by Kristin Neff and The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook by Kristin Neff, PhD and Christopher Germer, PhD
- The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown and her podcast, Unlocking Us.
The quiet of the morning is a wonderful to connect with my higher self and a higher power.
You may want to read a religious text and sit in prayer.
Here is what I’ve been reading.
The Daily Word
Read “Today’s Word” in The Daily Word for a daily message and teaching from Unity Church, a non-denominational New Thought church.
A Course In Miracles
A Course in Miracles is a spiritual text from the ‘70’s that helps people develop a deeper connection to the Divine. The workbook lessons are typically read daily over the course of a year.
Moving your body so you’re breathing hard and getting your heart rate up has so many health benefits – physical, mental and emotional. But if it’s not fun, you’re not going to want to do it. Find movement that brings you joy. For my mom it’s water aerobics, for a client it’s rowing, for a friend it’s a daily morning hike. Here are some of mine…
A walk in my neighborhood is my happy place. That’s where, without trying, I come up with good ideas and solutions. I feel off when I don’t get my walk in.
I find running to be very challenging so it’s not my exercise of choice. But when I want to push myself a bit more than just walking, I’ve turned to Jeff Galloway’s run/walk method. It’s helped me actually enjoy running and keep going longer distances.
I’m sure there are many online yogis to choose from but I especially enjoy Yoga With Adriene’s free videos. Maybe it’s her laid back all-are-welcome-here vibe, maybe it’s because she’s from Austin, or maybe it’s her cute dog Benji who wanders into the videos occasionally.
Create Your Own Morning Routine
Now that you have some ideas, you can make it your own, because you know what will serve you the most.
Here are some questions to think about:
- What do I want to get out of a morning routine? Why am I doing this?
- What do I want to feel as I begin my day?
- What are some things that fill me up or give me those feelings I listed?
- How can I make this easy and simple?
- How will I respond to interruptions or other things that might keep me from my morning routine
- What would make this experience enjoyable and something I look forward to?
I hope you’ll find some of the resources interesting and helpful as you put together your own morning-routine buffet.
Remember, there is no right or wrong, there is no all or nothing.
I very rarely do all of these in one morning. I have my essentials and then I listen to what I need in the moment and am flexible if my time is short or my attention is pulled away.
I also give myself a lot of grace if I don’t do my morning routine. Maybe I needed more sleep, maybe my little one needed me, maybe I just didn’t feel like it.
My morning routine is meant to fill me up and not be a reason to beat myself up.
And each morning we have an opportunity to do it again.
Do you have a morning routine? What are some of your favorite ways to start your day? Share with me in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.