On a warm summer day in Rexburg, Idaho, I was a sophomore in college and my motivation was high. I pulled myself out of bed at 6:00 am, jogged around campus, read The Wall Street Journal as I ate breakfast, and all before the time I would need to get ready for my 8am class.
This scenario happened 2-3 times before I gave it up. My morning aches and pains had not miraculously went away, even though my mind convinced me that I could push through it. I felt like I had failed.
My whole life I was convinced that I was doing mornings all wrong. I have a very hard time getting out of bed and I have physical pain when I wake up, so it is a challenge to be positive in the morning and even harder to overcome my desire to roll over and keep sleeping. Eventually, I brought up my morning struggles with my therapist and she asked me why I had so much guilt surrounding my morning routine.
“I guess I just feel like I am lazy and unproductive.”
“Do you get your kids to school?”
“Does everyone eat breakfast?”
As she continued to ask me questions, I realized that I was being super critical of myself; I was doing more than I realized, and there is not one right way to do mornings. If you have a non-traditional morning routine that doesn’t involve waking up chipper and ready to conqueror the world, that doesn’t mean you can’t be productive or that you are lazy. It simply means you are creating routines that work for your time table and personal and family needs.
I have five children, so my bedtime and morning routines are not entirely controlled by me, but I do my best to help my children maintain healthy habits so we all can enjoy good mornings together.
My babies wake up between 6:15 and 6:30 am. I do not work out, read my scriptures, meditate and get completely ready for the day before they wake up. When they cry out, I, or my husband, go get them in our pajamas. I do my “getting ready” after I get my older kids to school, so sometimes I am wearing pajama pants when I drop off. This doesn’t mean I am a bad person, it means I woke up when I wanted to and I can get ready at a different time.
I do pray and make my bed when I wake up and these two small, easy tasks make a big difference in my day.
What little things–that have a big impact–can you do in the morning to start your day more intentionally?
Remember that you are not required to do all of these or at any particular time. The point is to do the ones that make the most difference for you to be present and productive in your life, not someone else’s life!
Here are a few ideas:
- Prayer/time to show gratitude
- Wash your face
- Get dressed in your clothes for the day before leaving your bedroom
- Read something motivational/inspirational
- Make your bed
- Shower or bath
- Put on makeup
- Brush your teeth
- Drink a glass of water
- Talk nice to yourself in the mirror (positive affirmations)
- 30 jumping jacks to get the blood flowing
- Simple stretches
- Go to bed early enough to get the appropriate amount of sleep–consistency in bedtimes and wake times are healthy
- Eat a nutritious breakfast
- Don’t look at your phone when you first wake up
- Goal and task overview so you know the how and what for the day. Related post
- Capsule Wardrobe or mom uniform-the less decisions you need to make each day, the better
Here are some items that help with morning routine:
- Dedicated space for hair stuff
- Go-to breakfast items
- Cast Iron pan and griddle
- Woosh Beauty Face Palette
- Diaper and Wipe Stations
- Organized space for coats, backpacks, shoes and winter gear
Evaluate Your Morning and Make a Plan
Write down what your morning looks like and then figure out what is working for you and what is not. What part of your morning creates frustration? I suggest my signature P.E.C.: Pause when you sense frustration, Evaluate what is not working, Create a solution that works for the moment.
Replace something that is not working for you with something that you think may help you improve your day. Once you choose, make it easy for yourself to do it each morning. For example, if you find that your phone is far too distracting in the morning and keeps you from moving forward, put your phone away from you before bed so that when you wake up, it is not the first thing you see. Make it easy to do the thing you want to do. This is a principle I learned from Atomic Habits.
Another way to analyze your morning routine is to think about the things that need to get done regardless of whether you are happy about it or not. My three school age daughters need their hair done every morning. I keep all of their hair brushes, tie-backs and product in one location. This makes doing hair easy. Since we have three levels of our home, we have hair things on the top and main levels. Experiment with what helps you get things done and once you are successful, stick with the routine.
I hope you find at least one thing that makes your morning routine better!