Morning Routines

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It seems that everywhere I look these days I see blog and social media posts all about morning routines and how to become a morning person even if you don't like waking up early. But I think that becoming a morning person if you simply aren't, is never going to benefit you. 

My thoughts on morning routines is that everyone should have one, because it definitely can set the tone for your day when done properly, but I don't think you should have to get up hours earlier to make time for an extensive morning ritual. If you are not a morning person, just do your morning routine activities when you wake up! Unless you wake up with just seconds to spare before you need to rush out the door to work, just make time for your routine whenever you wake up. 

Benefits of a morning routine

Whether you believe it or not, a morning routine sets the tone for your entire day. If you get up and spend your morning rushing around the house to get yourself to work on time, you will likely find that the same frantic energy carries throughout the rest of your day. 

Morning routines don't need to be complicated or take a long time, but it is worth putting in some effort to create one that will serve you well.

Benefits of a well thought out morning routine include:

  • Less stress. Having a routine allows you to do things in a certain order without really needing to think about them. And the less you think, the less you stress. 
  • It will save you time. Because you are moving quickly from one task to another without much thought, you actually save time because you don't have to stop and think about what to do next, you just do it. It's like brushing your teeth before bed, you probably don't think about it much anymore. 
  • You are less likely to forget something. Every time my morning routine has been disrupted, I forget a step in getting ready. Every time I have changed jobs in the past four years I have forgotten to put on deodorant before leaving the house for the first two weeks of said new job. This has happened to me on three different occasions, so I'm sure it's more than just a coincidence. Routines help you to not forget things. 

Here are some of my other thoughts on morning routines (many of which are a part of my morning routine):

Your morning routine starts the night before

Your morning routine will help you think less in the morning, but really it starts the night before. Before you go to bed, do a "brain dump" where you just write down everything in your head that you are thinking about. Your to-do list, your grocery list, people who you need to call, what you're packing for lunch and making for dinner tomorrow, whatever is taking up space in your brain that's task related...get it out! 

This does two things, it helps you to let go of things so you sleep better and then you have a head start on a to-do list if you are a list maker. You can also create some calendar tasks or reminders or organize your list into a formal to-do list the night before rather than waiting until the next day. Then you can just let all that go because it's on paper (or in your calendar) and no longer needs to live in your brain.

resist the urge to snooze

Even though you might feel like you are getting more sleep by hitting the snooze button 25 times every morning. Each time you wake up, hit the snooze button, and then go back to sleep, you enter a new sleep cycle which you do not complete before the next time your alarm goes off. This sleep is light and disjointed which actually can leave you feeling more tired. There is also a benefit to waking up at the same time every day - eventually you WILL wake up without your alarm. If you feel the need to snooze, try setting your alarm for the time you actually finally get out of bed in the morning, and try going to bed just a little bit earlier if you are feeling tired.  

True story, I wake up, on my own, every day between 5:30 and 6am. It's very rare that I ever sleep until 7am, even when I am consciously trying to sleep in. 

skip the shower

If you showered yesterday, you probably don't need to shower today. And even if you do shower, you probably don't need to wash your hair. There is increasing evidence against daily showers because it strips your skin of moisture and good bacteria that is critical for health. The same goes for washing your hair (I only wash my hair once or twice per week). If you have very oily skin or hair, you may be making the problem worse with frequent washing. Try not showering or washing your hair over the weekend to see what happens. There will be an adjustment period as your body adapts to less frequent bathing. Start with every other day and increase that interval as you see fit. If you are worried about smelling bad, you can do a quick wash of your pits and slather on some deodorant (I love Primally Pure). 

Make your bed

This is one of the easiest things to do that can be a great trigger for the rest of your morning routine. When I am lacking motivation or direction in my day, I will often do a simple and rather mundane task to get me going. Action brings momentum. So, something like putting in a load of laundry is often enough to lead me to another task and on to another one until I've either cleaned my whole house, or finally sat down and got some work done. Making your bed can serve as the same trigger. It's easy and doesn't require much thought. 

do something for your mind

Meditation, journaling, reading a self-improvement book, or listening to an inspirational podcast can all be great ways to set the mood for your day. If you start the day with intention and feeling grateful, I can guarantee you that the rest of your day will go more smoothly. My morning routine involves a combination of all of these things.

How you design your morning routine should be specific to you and your needs, but these are just some ideas to get you going. 

Do you have a morning routine? What does it look like?

Tell me all about it in the comments!