Do you feel like there’s never enough time in the day to do the stuff that truly fills you up and sets your heart on fire? Do you feel pulled in every direction, by all kinds of people, all day long? Do you feel like you never get a moment to yourself?
These are some of the struggles many people (especially women) feel on a daily basis. Not only are we constantly needed (by our kids, our spouses, our family members, our friends, our colleagues, etc) but we live in a society where we are constantly bombarded by external stimuli. Unless we make time to fill our own cup, we can be easily left feeling depleted, drained, and exhausted.
Enter: the morning routine.
A morning routine is the practice of setting aside intentional time for yourself before the rest of the world needs you. It’s about getting up early to the do the things that make you the happiest but that you never seem to have the time or energy for. It’s about filling your own cup and setting your heart on fire, so that you can shine more brightly for others.
The morning routine is something we are starting to hear more about as we begin to realize that intentional time to fulfill our own needs is not only enjoyable, it’s critical for our mental health and overall wellbeing.
I have been hearing about – and working on implementing my own – morning routine for at least a year now. Although I am always tweaking it to meet my own needs and to best serve the season of life I am currently in, here’s an idea of what it can look like.
(Disclaimer: The key to a successful morning routine is to do the things that fill YOU up and what sets YOUR heart on fire. YOUR morning routine may look different than mine, but I’ll share mine just to give you some ideas and because I believe that some of my own personal practices should be part of every woman’s morning routine.)
No phone in the bedroom
My morning routine actuallly starts the night before and that’s with a good night’s sleep. For awhile now, I’ve made the commitment to leave my cell phone out of the bedroom. Not only does the blue light from the screen negatively affect our sleep, but I know that I will stay up way later if I am scrolling mindlessly on my phone. Instead, I use my Alexa Amazon for my alarm. If you don’t have an Echo you could get an old-fashioned alarm clock or I’ve heard about these really great alarm clocks that are available on Amazon that emulate a sunset so that you can wake up to the room gradually getting lighter rather than a blaring alarm!
Say no to snooze
The second part of my morning routine goes hand in hand with the alarm clock and that is that I do not snooze (or at least I try really hard not to!) There is a lot of research out there about how detrimental snoozing is and how it negatively affects your day! The Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins and The Ripple Effect by Greg Wells both have awesome information about why you should not snooze. Make it part of your morning routine – your alarm goes off and you get up and get your day started! Really, your morning routine should be so fulfilling that you can’t wait to get up and get started!
Start your Power Hour
I always try to wake up so that I have at least an hour for my favourite activities before I need to start getting ready for my day. Lately, 5:30 has been working well for me. When my alarm goes off at 5:30, I get out of bed and know I have the next hour (or more) to do the activities that make me the happiest. Between 6:30-7:00, I start getting ready for work (hair, makeup, breakfast, dressed, brush teeth, etc) so that I can be out the door just after 8:00.
Meditate/ Quiet Time/ Pray
When that alarm goes off and I am out of bed the first things I do are pee, wash my face, and drink some water. Then I head to my home office where I light a scented candle, turn on some relaxing music, and sit in silence for anywhere from one to five minutes (or more if I am really feeling it). During this time, I am basically practicing meditation. Other than the music (which you can eliminate if you prefer total silence) the house is silent because everyone else is still sleeping. I focus on my breath (without forcing anything unnatural) and use this time to listen to the voice inside my heart – aka my intuition. I listen to my inner voice (my thoughts) and acknowledge them without judgement. Then I let them go. Recently, I’ve also started exploring my spirituality so I sometimes use this time to talk to God -whether it’s sharing what’s on my heart or thanking him for all my blessings. Although this is a fairly new practice for me, it’s incredible how amazing it feels to just sit and be with myself and my thoughts + feelings. After all, it’s really the only time in my day when I am not reacting to or responding to external factors!
Journaling + Writing time
Next in my routine, comes my favourite part – coffee + journalling! I am a writer at heart so writing has never been an issue for me. Sipping on a warm mug of coffee while writing? Even better! Normally, I write what I call my ”morning pages”. Basically, I just sit at my iPad and write about whatever comes to my mind. This is a free-flow type of writing that I find helps me to sort through my thoughts. Sometimes I will reflect on thoughts that came to me during meditation, other times I will write about how I am feeling about the upcoming day. Other times, I have written out prayers, a list of goals that I am working towards, or read a religious devotional and write a quick reflection on it. I also enjoy writing out a list of positive affirmations so that I go into my day feeling confident + positive.
Another thing that I have just started doing is writing my gratitude list at this time. I used to do it at the end of each day (as part of my nighttime routine – stay tuned for a future post!) until someone suggested writing about the day’s ‘wins” at night. That idea really resonated with me so now I write my gratitude list in the morning.
The next part of my morning routine has been an absolute game changer for me and that is reading (or listening to) personal development. Personal development is basically a more modern term for “self-help”. I feel like my own personal development has been a journey on its own (again, stay tuned for future blog post) so I could go on and on, but basically what I do in the morning is either read a personal development book (my most favourite so far is You are a Badass by Jenn Sincero) or listen to a podcast and take notes. The nuggets of information I get are absolutely amazing and have brought me miles on my personal wellness journey. Like I said, I will write a post soon where I share my own personal development journey and share lots of great resources for you to check out!
Another thing I like to do during my personal development time, is work on skills or projects that I call my “heart work”. My heart work is like work but it totally sets my heart on fire. It lights me up and makes me so excited. It is my passion. Lately for me, this is planning + creating content for my health + wellness Facebook group Made for More (if you are not part of the group, and want in, message me!) I’m also going to be using this time to plan my very first workshop I’ll be leading coming up in April! I’m parterning with Rebel Soul Tribe and going to be talking about the power of a positive mindset when it comes to healthy eating! I am totally terrified but also really excited – I’ll share more details as I know them!
I’ve included movement here because most people who have an intentional morning routine include some sort of exericse or movement and swear by the benefits of exercise in the morning. For me, personally, I have a pretty well established evening workout routine. I prefer working out in the evening because it helps me blow off any stress I’ve experienced that day, and I prefer to shower at night so it makes sense to work out before I shower. What’s most important about movement and exercise though is that you find a routine that works for you! Who knows, maybe some day I will try incorporating it in my morning routine. For now though, this works for me and that’s what’s most important!
So there you have it! Like I mentioned above, this is my morning routine and yours won’t necessarily look the same. I would encourage you to try getting up even 15 minutes earlier and seeing what you can incorporate in the morning to fill yourself up before you have to face the demands of the day!
If you do try to incorporate a more intentional morning routine, I’d love to hear about it! Or if you already have an established morning routine, please tell me all about it! As I said, it’s one of my most favourite times of day because there’s really nothing better than filling my own cup so that I can pour into others!