Do you often find yourself mindlessly scrolling through social media or news sites when you first wake up? Or responding to emails and text messages from your boss or bestie? Yep, that’s me too.
Before you know it it’s 3 p.m. and you haven’t had a moment to yourself. You haven’t even brushed your teeth yet...
We’ve all had one of those days. Today, I thought I’d share some tips and tools that I use to start a mindful morning routine—one that involves connecting with yourself first, before tending to others.
What can a mindful morning routine look like?
Most of us have a morning routine of some kind. Whether it’s making coffee while watching the news, or getting our kids’ lunches ready for school. But what would it look like to make your morning routine more mindful?
A mindful morning routine looks different for everyone, and it might even change throughout the year or over the course of your life.
After years of trial and error, I’ve found that the key is to make sure it involves at least a few tech-free moments and an opportunity to connect inward before giving your energy to stuff happening outside yourself.
Maybe you enjoy a few minutes of silent mindfulness meditation or journaling (or both as we do in our Meaningful Mornings practice!). Or even some light movement or stretching. It doesn't really matter what you do, but it needs to feel supportive and be just for you.
Studies show that starting your day mindfully is one of the best ways to set yourself up for productivity and reduced stress levels. We spend so much energy taking care of others and responding to deadlines that it’s crucial to find a sustainable way to give back to yourself so you can give to others in a healthy way.
When you mentally prepare yourself for the day, you have more confidence and challenges become easier to solve.
In order to give yourself the best chance at making this happen, here are three things I’ve found to be crucial for establishing and maintaining a mindful morning routine that will work for you:
Prepare Your Space
It’s important to have a space dedicated to your morning routine. It could be as big as a separate room in your home or as small as a nook with your favourite meditation cushion or pillows.
Make sure your space is tidy and has all the tools you need before you go to bed.
For example, if you’re planning to do a journaling or meditation practice, make sure your dedicated journal and pen are set up and you have a comfortable place to sit. If you’re planning on sipping coffee or hot lemon water with no distractions, make sure your coffee maker or kettle is filled and ready to go the night before.
Set an alarm. One of the biggest hurdles in the way of starting a mindful morning routine is making the time for it. I’ve found that setting an alarm to get up a little earlier than usual to be one of the best ways to commit to your practice.
- Be Persistent + Consistent
Research shows that you have to do something for three weeks to form a new habit. A great resource is the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. When you start a mindful morning routine, it’s important to remember to show up for your chosen practice consistently. It might not be daily at first, and that’s okay.
When you commit to your new routine, you may want to start 3 days per week (maybe Monday, Wednesday, Friday) and then gradually add on from there. Or maybe you start on your days off before adding it to your work days.
Be gentle with yourself as you settle into a rhythm that’s sustainable for you. Starting a new habit takes effort and can feel challenging at first, but don’t sell yourself short by giving up too early or expecting things to come easily. Keep with it for at least three weeks. Then re-evaluate and adapt!
Remember, this is about practice and not perfection!
Starting something new is difficult. Your brain will resist change even if it knows it’s good for you. Each morning when you do your new mindful morning routine (whatever that looks like for you), remind yourself that this is an ongoing practice of self-care, not merely a new productivity tool.
There’s no award for perfection, and don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t always find the time to implement your morning routine and rituals.
The idea is to set aside time for you, become more aware of your thoughts and feelings, and then modify your routine as you figure out what works in your life.
Journaling is an especially powerful way to tune into your needs, thoughts, and desires. Having some form of journaling, even if it’s for 5 minutes, is an awesome tool where you take the thoughts circling in your mind and put them on paper where you can review them without judgement.
Read more: Self-Care 101: Acknowledge, Accept, Adapt
Remind yourself WHY you’re doing this
Yes, you can easily prepare your mindful space the night before. And being consistent isn’t all that hard either. Neither is remembering that this will take time, that it’s about progress not perfection.
But how do you really take a mindful moment and apply it throughout the entire day, week, month, or year?
You do it by finding your WHY—the reason, or reasons, why this new habit is important to you.
Sure, you want confidence to kick-ass throughout the day. And yes, you want to practice mindfulness to make better decisions at work or when you need your brain power. Yet, what is this new mindful habit for? What will it do for your life if you’re successful at it?
Will you become so much sharper at work that you get the promotion everyone else on your team is striving for? Will it mean you become a better parent and give 100% attention to your kids when you’re with them? Could this mindful practice be the beginning of other new healthy habits?
Whatever your reasons are for doing this, keep them in mind on the good days and the bad days. And make the reasons why you’re doing this bigger than you think!
Most people don’t achieve their goals not because they can’t. But because their goals aren’t BIG enough! They don’t have anything worthy to work towards.
We often shrink our goals thinking it’ll make them more attainable. Yet, we really need to be making them bigger. When we make our goals bigger, we awaken a piece inside of us that wants to meet the challenge.
So each morning, or evening, or whenever you make time to practice mindfulness, remember to think of your big vision, “What am I really trying to achieve with this practice?”
There’s no right or wrong way to do this!
Whatever it looks like in your life, I encourage you to carve out time in the morning that’s just for you. This simple act of prioritizing your own self-care through a morning routine will produce incredible shifts in how you feel going into the rest of your day.
Trust me, your day doesn't have to rush by! Your morning routine is a great way to set an intention for what you want from the day. That way your days begin to be filled with moments of growth, learning, and laughter.
Leave a comment and let me know what your morning routine looks like!
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