When my anxiety was at its worst, starting the day was extremely difficult.
When my depression was at its worst, starting the day was pretty much impossible.
It wasn't until I slowly began to infuse my mornings with mindfulness, spirituality and personal growth to specifically target my stress and anxiety, that I significantly decreased my stress and anxiety throughout the day.
I get super pumped up when I talk about morning routines. They have honestly changed my life.
Even as I learned to manage my anxiety, and manage it extremely well, I continue to start my day slowly and with intention.
When you intentionally set your mornings up around the kind of day you want to have you OWN the day. When you own your day, everyday… you own your week. When you own your weeks, you own your months. And guess what? When you own your months YOU OWN YOUR YEAR.
Hello productivity and major lifestyle changes 👋🏽👋🏽👋🏽
And no, a morning routine is not hitting snooze a million times and rushing out the door to work.
If you haven’t read The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma I HIGHLY recommend it.
A typical morning for me looks like this:
Wake up anywhere between 430-6 AM, depending on when I went to sleep, or when my cats decide it’s time for me to feed them... (usually the latter).
Scrape my tongue
Drink a big glass of water
Sit in meditation for 10-15 minutes (I usually do a Gabby Bernstein guided meditation)
Sip a bulletproof-type-coffee-or-tea-drink-thing while I journal. My journal practice changes depending on my current spiritual or personal development work but the 3 things I always, always include are: gratitude, writing out my goals/dreams and writing out ONE thing, and only one thing, I can do today to move the needle forward.
Spend some time snuggling my kitties
Go to a spin or yoga class, or do some yoga at home.
Make my bed and start getting ready for my day
I have worked and re-worked this routine a million times. This is most definitely not what it looked like when I first started. And it will continue to change and evolve as I continue to change and evolve.
The best way to start, is of course to start small.
As with everything, if you want to see consistent, sustainable results you need to move slowly. Instead of jumping into a big morning routine, start by waking up only 15 minutes earlier and try out a few of these mindful morning hacks.
1. Wake up with your alarm
Morning routines always start the night before. Set yourself up for success! Keep your cell phone out of the bedroom and don’t touch it until your morning routine is over. You do not need it to get up - that’s what alarm clocks are for! And don’t hit snooze. You made the intention last night to wake up at this time, you made that promise to yourself - keep it.
2. Take 5 deep breaths and do a quick, mental gratitude practice
Spend a few minutes every morning, before you do anything else, before you even get out of bed, training your mind to look for the positive. Instead of focusing on the challenges, frustrations or slights you have encountered this week, choose to focus on the positive things that happened yesterday or things you can look forward to today.
3. Follow a simple bathroom ritual
Smile at yourself in the mirror!
If you shower in the morning practice a shower meditation.
Brush your teeth mindfully.
4. Drink water
I could go on and on (and on and on) about the benefits of drinking water, especially first thing in the morning but I’ll keep it short. You are dehydrated! You’ve been asleep for 6-9 or more hours, your body is thirsty. Especially if you drink coffee or tea first thing in the morning, start with a big glass of water first.
5. Make your bed
My mother used to bug me all the time about making my bed in the morning. It was super annoying. But as always.... Mother was onto something. I later got this from Gretchen Rubin who writes about happiness and habits. Making your bed is a “keystone” habit. It sets the tone for accomplishment throughout the day. Making your bed is the smallest resolution, I know, but the sense of accomplishment that comes from keeping resolutions, big or small, goes a long way. Especially if you feel overwhelmed, stressed or anxious. One little task like making your bed, if done regularly, grows your sense of self-mastery. This grows your confidence in your ability to tackle tougher situations.
It also creates a peaceful environment in your bedroom. I don’t know about you but outer order hugely influences my inner calm. In fact, one of the first things a therapist had me do was Marie Kondo everything in my tiny condo at the time.
If you don’t know already I am a huge fan of starting small and slow. No act is small. Everything small adds up to create massive change.
6. Create a coffee or tea ritual
Whether you enjoy a coffee or nice, calming herbal tea in the morning, allow yourself the time to sit, be fully present and enjoy.
7. Listen to or read inspirational content
Use inspirational books, podcasts or meditations to help set the tone for your day. Part of being a mindful person is challenging your beliefs and assumptions. It is continuously learning and educating yourself on how to best support your values, goals and passions.
If you are using your phone for this switch to do not disturb mode. I will often listen to podcasts or meditations on my phone. My phone is set to do not disturb until 9 am so I can remain in the present moment all morning and am not distracted by any text messages or emails.
8. Practice a Mindful Commute
Whether you drive, walk, bus or bike, whatever your commute to work looks like, practice it mindfully.
If you're done reading this and thinking holy moly that's way too much to do in the morning. Remember to start slow!
Maybe tomorrow, you set your alarm 15 minutes earlier and only move through #1-3 before you rush out the door. That’s great! HUGE congrats on starting!!
Maybe next week, or the next day, you set your alarm another 15 minutes earlier and get through #1-6.
WOO-HOO! You're amazing.
The week after that you are pumped, you can feel and see the changes to your mood and day just by waking up 30 minutes earlier to infuse mindfulness into your mornings. So you set your alarm another 15 minutes earlier and now you now have time for #1-8.
You are SLAYING your morning. YOU OWN THE MORNING… so naturally, you own your day, week, month, year, LIFE...
Don't underestimate the power of a morning routine. Try it for a few weeks and let me know how it goes!
And remember to always, always be patient and kind to yourself 💜