Morning routines are a popular topic—Google brings up hundreds of millions results!
It’s a practice that virtually every wellness expert recommends, because a solid routine can help to cultivate mindfulness, reduce anxiety, increase productivity and promote overall health and wellbeing.
This is something I’ve been personally working on for quite a while. For a long time, it was mostly an idea in my head—a thing I wanted to do but had no idea where to start. I was stuck in research mode, just reading about the routines of others and not implementing anything for myself.
But over the past couple of years I started trying things out—because how can you have a routine if you don’t ever actually start? I’ve now gotten to a point where I have a certain set of things I do (almost) every day before I sit down to work. And it’s completely changed my life. I am more focused, more centered, more productive, more mindful, less anxious and more content. So I thought I’d share my—incredibly simple—current routine with you today.
My 3-Step Morning Routine
After I wake up and feed our two cats, who are waiting for my attention, the first thing I do is head to my little makeshift meditation corner, and do some focused, deep breathing for a minute or two.
It’s nothing fancy—I know there are breathwork teachers and courses out there; I’ve just never done any of that work personally (but I might at some point!) But it helps me to immediately shift my focus to this simple task—breathing—as opposed to letting my brain frantically run through my to-do list for the day. Just this action alone has been hugely beneficial.
Getting into a meditation practice is, hands down, the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. Again, I don’t do anything fancy—I’ve never had a meditation teacher and I don’t follow any specific guidelines. But taking a few minutes a day to consciously quiet my mind has completely changed how I move through the world.
I first learned by using Headspace, which is hugely popular for a reason. The app makes it incredibly easy for a beginner to learn—I highly recommend it.
Since I developed a more consistent practice, I’ve moved on to using Insight Timer, which is amazing in a different way, for its variety and selection. I’ve come to realize that I like to change things up pretty much every day depending on how much time I have and how I’m feeling. So I just follow my intuition around whatever will be the most beneficial for me at the moment, and Insight Timer provides me with a ton of variety to do just that.
The second best thing I’ve ever done for myself is get into the habit of practicing conscious daily gratitude. Before I get up from meditation I take a few minutes to journal about whatever I’m feeling grateful for that day. I specifically name each and every thing (big or small) and take a moment to fully appreciate its presence in my life.
This practice has created such a powerful shift in my overall wellbeing. It can take less than 5 minutes and has generated a massive amount of calm and happiness in my life.
That’s it! These 3 practices take very little time, but have had a massive impact. If I ever slack off for too long, I definitely feel it. A morning routine like this is the type of thing that requires being proactive and consistent over time to get the full benefits.
Whether or not you have a routine in place right now, I encourage you to just simply start. Start with one thing. Maybe it’s giving yourself 5 minutes of total quiet before you pick up your phone, or reading one chapter of a book each morning, or meditating or taking your dog for a long walk.
Getting in the habit of doing just one small thing for yourself before you start expending all of your energy on work and family and life can have such a big impact—everyone around you will feel it. It will help you that hour, that day, that week, and have an exponential effect over time. So pick one thing, and just try. If it ends up being not the right thing, you can always start again tomorrow.
If you want some more ideas, here are a few resources that might help:
The First Hour: Creating Powerful Mornings
The 5 Productive Morning Routines Of Highly Effective People [Video]