I’ve always loved the concept of a morning routine. The idea that you can start every day on an even keel, ready to face the world as your best self is hugely appealing.
For a long time, turning this vision into a reality eluded me. Each Sunday I would set my intentions to get up a bit earlier to complete my morning routine before the rest of my household woke up. And each week, by Tuesday or Wednesday (if I was doing really well) the plan would fall apart.
Sometimes I simply needed the extra sleep and chose to listen to my body rather than drag myself out of bed at 6am. Other times I started my morning by scrolling through Instagram and, before I knew it, I had lost my precious 30 minutes down the social media rabbit hole.
Then, along came lockdown and all of our regular everyday routines screeched to a halt. My house went from being a hive of activity in the mornings to being a peaceful place where no children stirred before 8am. This sudden shift in energy gave me the opportunity to hone my morning routine and actually make it stick. With no packed lunches to get ready, school bus to catch or office to get to, the mornings were suddenly there for the taking.
As the weeks progressed, my morning routine became an anchor of familiarity and security at a time when the outside world was in turmoil. On the days when the newspaper headlines were terrifying, repeating the four simple simple steps in my routine calmed my anxiety and focused my mind on something other than the pandemic.
Four months later, life in the UK is becoming less restricted and slowly returning to a new normality. There are many things I won’t miss about lockdown but my morning routine is one aspect that I hope I can hold onto as the world moves on from Covid-19.
My tips for creating a successful morning routine:
1. Focus on what works for you. While many morning routines incorporate exercise, mindfulness and creativity, there is no point making a jog part of your routine if you hate running.
2. Try to incorporate sun, oxygen and water into your routine. This can be as simple as drinking a glass of water, doing some breathing exercises and going for a walk around the block.
3. Try to wake up at the same time each morning to help your body establish a rhythm. Always completing the steps in your routine in the same order helps with this too.
4. What you don’t do is as important as the things you do, whether it is not checking your emails first thing or staying off social media until later in the day.
At this point some of you may be wondering about the specifics of my routine. It is deceptively simple: yoga, meditation, reading and a walk or run outside. In time, I would like to include some journalling but for now it works and is the perfect antidote to my old habit of starting the day by repeatedly hitting the snooze button.
The benefits of a morning routine
And finally, if you are still not convinced, consider the many benefits a morning routine can bring to your life:
- It helps you set the tone for the day
- It allows you to control your schedule, rather than your schedule controlling you
- You will be more focused and productive
- It can improve your health and reduce stress