Your morning routine sets the tone for the rest of the day, and a bit of morning “me time” is the secret of success for many high-performing people. Instead of just getting up and rushing into your busy day, consider giving one or more of the tips below a try.
Start The Night Before
Consider the things that stress you out the most in the morning and find ways to tackle them the night before. This might include selecting your outfit for the day, packing your lunch, setting the timer on the coffee pot, and packing your laptop bag for work. If you have kids, have them do the same.
In addition to taking a proactive approach to your morning, look for ways to improve the quality of your sleep. This might include taking a bath before bedtime, drinking a cup of chamomile tea, a nighttime yoga routine to stretch away the stress of the day, taking a CBD tincture to help you relax, or investing in a new bed, pillows, and comfortable sheets.
Minimize PM Stress
Be mindful of the unexpected stressors that can keep you up at night or make your sleep less restful. If you toss and turn at night, or don’t sleep well, you might unknowingly have developed a few unhealthy sleep habits. This includes but is not limited to:
- Unplugging at least 1 hour before bedtime, with the exception of your eReader
- No watching or reading anything disturbing 2 hours before bedtime
- Cut off caffeine by 5 pm, and keep alcohol to a minimum
- No working up until bedtime, and no work in the bedroom
- Schedule your workouts 2 to 3 hours before bedtime
Use A Real Alarm Clock
Most of us have grown accustomed to using our smartphone as our alarm clock. The problem with this is it means we bring an electronic device into the bedroom at night that we are sometimes (or always) tempted to use. Checking our smartphone to see what messages and alerts came in overnight is the first thing many of us do when we wake up in the morning, which can be a jarring and stressful way to start your day. Ideally, you want to wait between 30 to 60 minutes after you wake to check your phone.
By switching to a real alarm clock, you can turn off or completely silence your smartphone, minimizing your temptation to check messages, both in the evening and when you wake. If you must bring your phone in the bedroom with you or keep it powered on, make sure it is silenced and keep it in the nightstand drawer. Bonus points if your alarm clock is a combo sound machine. At the very least, select an alarm clock with a soothing alarm—not the traditional buzzer or beeper. It’s a bit of an investment but you may enjoy waking to a sunrise alarm clock.
Get Up Earlier
Time is already tight, so getting up earlier might be the last thing on your mind—especially if you aren't a morning person. Start waking up 10 minutes early to stretch, gratitude journal, or read a daily quote or devotional. You could even download a meditation app, like Calm or Headspace and do a 10-minute morning meditation. Consider using your extra morning time to work out, work on an art or craft, read, prepare a healthy breakfast, or plan your day. This might include chopping veggies for dinner, popping a meal in your crockpot, or meal planning for the next few days. The options are endless!
I began with a 10-minute morning routine, that over the next few months turned into getting up 30 minutes earlier to ease into my day. By the time I'm ready to hop in the shower I am energized and motivated.
Nourish Your Body
It’s ideal to stop drinking fluids two or three hours before bedtime to reduce the likelihood of having to get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. This means that when you wake up in the morning your body may be a bit dehydrated. Even if you plan on drinking juice, coffee, or a smoothie with your breakfast—start your day with 8 to 16 ounces of water. This can be herbal tea or water with lemon juice.
Even if you aren't hungry in the morning, a small meal is essential to provide you with the energy to make it through until lunch. Make sure your breakfast includes protein, fiber, and at least one serving each of dairy and a fruit or vegetable. For example, a slice of whole grain toast with peanut butter, a banana, and yogurt.
Plan Your Day
We mentioned planning your day above as one of the things to do when you get up earlier, but let's discuss it in a bit more detail. Even if your schedule is packed from morning till night, take a few minutes to see what lies ahead. When completed with consistency, your daily planning can create streamline and flow. One strategy to consider is:
- At the beginning of the month create a master to-do list of items that are not currently on your schedule. Add to this list as new to-do items arise.
- Pick a day every week to add these to-do list items to your weekly schedule.
- Begin each day by prioritizing what needs to be done, including what items you didn’t get to yesterday.
- Cross to-do list tasks off as they are completed to give you a sense of accomplishment.
- As you get used to your new way of scheduling and prioritizing, consider what commitments can be delegated or removed—such as the things you find stressful, like doing least, or create the biggest time-crunch.
Leave The House 10 Minutes Early
Consider how often the stress of your morning is related to dropping your kids off to school on time and getting to work on time. If this is a constant source of stress, it's time to start leaving 10 minutes early. I know it might sound impossible, but yes you can get the kids on board with a 10-minute time change. With 10 extra minutes it won't be as stressful if you get stuck in traffic, and if you arrive a few minutes early to school or work it gives you and your kids a little extra cushion to ease into the school and workday.
Just because you arrived to work 10 minutes early does that mean that you must start work 10 minutes early. Use this extra time to read the newspaper, answer personal emails, chat with a coworker, or pop into a cafe for a coffee.
Give Your New Morning Routine At Least 3 Weeks
If the perfect morning routine above sounds like a lot, not to worry—as change takes time to adjust to. Start small with 10 minutes, and once that becomes part of your daily routine, add on another small morning change. Give every new change at least 3 weeks before you decide if it’s working for you, as it takes 21 days for a new habit to become routine.
Here’s to starting each day off right!