fbpx
Menu Close

Why You NEED a Morning Routine and How to Create One

You might be hearing all of the buzz lately about the importance of a morning routine. To be honest this buzz might’ve been around for a while but I was definitely avoiding it! As a self-proclaimed night owl I have always scoffed at the morning routine and the implied superiority of being a morning person! I’m known for telling people that rather than advising me to “just wake earlier” they should “just” stay up later. It has been especially easy for me to indulge my natural night owl tendencies because I work from home for myself and have for MANY years. But, the truth is, whether you keep later hours or not you still need a wake up routine! Find out why you need a morning routine and how to create one!

5 Reasons a Wake Up Routine is Important

Whether your day starts at 5 am or noon you need to have a routine! It is very important to be gentle with yourself when you wake up and to set the tone for the day. Will the tone of your day be chaos, anxiety and stress? Or will it be peaceful and filled with victories and accomplishments? When I put it that way it seems pretty obvious what the better way is to start the day!

1. Don’t waste morning energy

We all have a finite amount of energy to expend in the day. Yes, this is even true of toddlers! The amount of energy we have is based on many factors, for example, sleep, nutrition and exercise. When we first wake and our brain is still in that phase between sleep and wakefulness it is very sensitive to energy expenditure. This is particularly true because it hasn’t had any nourishment and may be dehydrated. Using your brain to make multiple small decisions in the morning is taxing. It starts you off at a deficit. If you have a wake up routine you do the same thing every day. This minimizes the number of choices you have to make and gives your brain time to wake naturally and prevents needless energy expenditure. This is especially true with a little prep the night before!

2. Take time for yourself

I’m not suggesting that you have to wake before everyone else in your house. I’m proposing that you create a morning routine that is just for you. Taking time for a little self care in the morning creates a feeling of appreciation throughout the day. It is also beneficial to your health and sets the tone that you are a priority!

3. Set intentions

There is no better way to be productive throughout the day than to set your intentions with your morning routine. Having a methodical routine helps you clearly focus on and achieve your goals. It gives you a sense of direction and a road map to get you started.

4. Create great habits

The easiest and best way to create great habits is to add them to your wake up routine! When you first wake your body and brain are content and happy to act on autopilot. Anything you add into your routine will quickly become an automatic action. Just make sure that you allot enough time for your added tasks and that you are still sleeping 7 – 9 hours. This might require some bedtime adjustments.

5. Build Momentum

It feels amazing to have a completed “to-do” list! When this happens you feel like you can conquer the world! Imagine having that EVERY DAY! Each day when you complete your wake up routine you have accomplished multiple small but meaningful tasks to start your day right! This sets you up for success for the rest of the day!

Create Your Own Wake Up Routine

Save it! Share it!
Pin it!!!

Now that you see the value in having a wake up routine let’s talk about how to create one! There are 3 big considerations in creating a wake up routine, preparation, time and what to include.

Preparation

If you want to succeed you’ll need to prepare! First, you’ll need to prepare by going through this exercise to get an idea what you want your routine to look like. But you’ll also need to prepare for your wake up routine the night before! The best wake up routines include decision making and planning before bed. (Maybe I’ll write a more in depth post about bedtime routines too).

Things you should handle the night before include, selecting clothes for the next day, writing a “to-do” list or reviewing the following day’s schedule (or both) and preparing breakfast or lunch if necessary. These are important things to do to help you be successful when you wake up. Remember that you are trying to prevent decision making upon waking. All choices should be made the night before!

Time

Speaking of the night before… you are going to need to set your alarm for the morning so it might be helpful to know how long your routine will take. If you are just starting out you may want to add one thing at a time to your routine (more on this further along). A full morning routine generally takes about 90 minutes or more. This means you’ll need to do a little math and calculate a new bedtime! Your morning routine shouldn’t be carved out of your sleep schedule! The average healthy adult needs around 7 – 9 hours of sleep a night. So… You need to head to bed 8.5 – 10.5 hours before you’re going to go anywhere the next day. This means if you need to leave for work at 7:30 am, you wake up at 6:00 am and you are in bed between 9:00 pm and 11:00 pm. You should try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule with little deviation.

I know that the temptation might be to carve into the sleeping time and stay up until 11. Don’t do that! If you typically need 9 hours of sleep it is better to gradually move the bedtime to an earlier time and add things to your morning routine as you begin to wake earlier. You will NOT stick with a wake up routine if you are depriving yourself of sleep! This isn’t healthy and you won’t reap the benefits of the routine if you do this!

What to include

I know… 90+ minutes seems like A LOT of time to some of you! You must be wondering what you’re doing with all of that time! For each person this varies slightly. There are a few things that are essential and some that you might want to consider trying out to see how they work for you.

Essentials

There are the 3 things you MUST do to start your day right! You may have your own spin or favorite ways of accomplishing them but you can’t skip them!

Hygiene

Whether you work at home or outside the home there are certain hygiene steps that shouldn’t be skipped. Things like brushing and flossing your teeth, washing your face and applying sunscreen and deodorant need to be done daily. If you shower daily it’s a great idea to include that in your wake up routine. Baths are best taken at night.

Hydrate & Nourish

Hydrate

Be sure to drink at least 12 – 16 oz of water throughout your wake up routine! Starting your day hydrated makes you more alert and improves your focus and attention span. It also give you a head start on your water consumption for the day and remember that momentum thing we discussed above? Well… that really helps you get all of your water in for the day!

Nourish

Eat a well balanced breakfast! If you read my blog regularly or follow me on social media you know that I practice intermittent fasting (aka timed eating). Due to this, eating breakfast is the last thing I do in my morning routine. Try to eat protein, fat, and a veggie for breakfast. If you’d like to add fruit just make sure that it is low glycemic index (GI). Berries, cherries and citrus are all good choices. You want to avoid high GI fruits (melon, pineapple, banana, and mangoes, to name a few), sugar and refined carbs for breakfast. Most of the things people eat for breakfast set them up for a sugar crash in the afternoon. Don’t fall victim to this. If you aren’t a big fan of breakfast and struggle to get it in consider a green smoothie. Simply toss frozen mixed berries, a handful of greens, half of an avocado, collagen powder and around 8oz of water into a blender. Mix till smooth then enjoy!

Move

I know that you might not like to hear this but nothing gets your day off on the right foot like movement. (See what I did there)! Maybe a full workout isn’t going to fit into your schedule or your fitness level. That’s ok! Start off with some simple stretching, basic yoga or just a brisk walk around the block. Getting some exercise into your wake up routine increases circulation and gives you a sense of accomplishment. It’s also a great way to get your brain fired up and focused!

Additional things to consider

These items are no less important than those above. You’ll just want to select the ones that most apply to your personal goals.

Affirmations

I’m such a firm believer in affirmations that I seriously considered putting this item in the above list. Creating an affirmation list or posting them on your mirror and reading them to yourself throughout the day is imperative to personal growth and self esteem. Starting your day with validation, kindness and grace makes a huge impact!

Goal setting and intentions

Most successful people spend time goal setting and writing out their intentions every day. Whether you practice manifesting or simply like to review your long term goals and short term guideposts, reviewing your goals and intentions daily gives you direction. Ignoring this step is like starting a journey without a map.

Journal

Many people find it helpful to journal or write as part of their morning routine. Some write a specific number of pages and others opt for a designated amount of time spent writing. Whichever works best for you, this can be a great way to get your creative juices flowing. It can also help you get things off or your mind or chest to make it easier to move through your day unburdened.

Spiritual enrichment

Spending time daily reading the Bible, in worship and / or in prayer is a very common practice. Making this a part of your wake up routine helps keep you focused on your faith throughout the day. This is often considered the most important part of a wake up routine for people of various faiths. Many people note that it helps them feel more connected to God and gives them a sense of peace and well-being as they move through the day.

Mental preparation

It can be extremely beneficial to spend time reading a non-fiction or personal development book as part of your morning routine. People often pair this practice with journaling. This can help motivate you for a challenging day or it can inspire you and fill you with a sense of accomplishment. Nothing is quite as invigorating and exciting as learning something new and growing as a person.

Meditation

Spending even 2 – 5 minutes in quiet meditation can do wonders for your day! Meditation has a whole host of health benefits including helping to repair cellular damage and reversing aging. It also helps achieve laser like focus and increases productivity.

Tidying

Since I work from home I find it imperative to have a clean uncluttered house. Most of my tidying is done in the evening but I feel that making the bed every morning helps me feel a sense of accomplishment. Some find it helpful to also complete tasks like emptying the dishwasher. This isn’t the time for heavy cleaning but a bit of straightening can be a nice way to start the day fresh.

Dry brushing

I discuss dry brushing more in my article How to Minimize or Eliminate the Appearance of Cellulite. Dry brushing aids circulation, literally getting the blood and lymph flowing freely. This is invigorating and stimulating. It aids in health and overall well being. If you add dry brushing to your routine be sure to do it before showering.

Hot or cold therapy

Hot and cold therapy have a multitude of health benefits. Including them in your wake up routine can be a great way to get them in and get yourself alert and awake quickly. Spending some time in the sauna or trying out a cold water rinse in the shower is a great way to add hot or cold therapy to your day.

Affection

Make sure you carve out a minute or two to share some affection. Cuddle your significant other, kids or pet before you head out into the world! A good snuggle increases oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is the hormone that makes us feel bonded to others and secure. It gives us a sense of well-being. What a beautiful way to start the day!

Creating the routine

Once you have determined the core items you want included in your routine start doing them. Keep it simple! You may want to start with only the essential 3. I recommend you try it out on a weekend first to get an idea how long it takes to complete. Once you have this figured out you should be able to incorporate it into your weekday schedule. You are working towards progress, not perfection! So be kind and gentle with yourself!

When beginning a new routine I like to use the “don’t break the chain” method of tracking. Each day that I complete the new task I’m trying to make a habit I mark my calendar. I love looking at my calendar and seeing the notation that I have completed the task for several days in a row. It fills me with a sense of accomplishment and motivates me to continue so that I don’t break the chain!

Adding to your routine

I found that it was best to have a 30 day chain before adding to my routine and then I began adding one thing at a time. In truth I’m still developing my morning routine and I’m sure that it will change in the future as well. You should feel free to try different components to see what works best for you.

In order to add new things to my routine I use the stacking method. Because your wake up routine is on autopilot it is easy to add things and have them quickly become habit. If you start doing a new component simply add it between 2 existing tasks. Before you know it, it will be just as automatic as the task before and after it.

Your Very Own Wake Up Routine

Your wake up routine won’t look like anyone else’s and it doesn’t have to take place at the same time as anyone else’s either. How you start your day does matter though! Getting a head start on gathering wins for the day and building momentum toward a productive successful day is worth some extra time and planning.

If you have any questions about how to create a wake up routine ask in the comments! What have you found helpful to include in your wake up routine?

Posted in Adulting Basics, Nurtured Self, Personal Development, Self Care, Wellness

2 Comments

    • Cassie

      I love how including even simple things like drinking a glass of water can have such a profound impact on your whole day! I feel like I’ve found some amazing, super secret life hack!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

72 Shares
Share
Tweet
Pin
Email