The point of developing a morning routine is to feel more relaxed, focused, confident and productive throughout the day.
"For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself - ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been ‘No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something."
- Steve Jobs
From the moment we wake up in the morning, to starting our first task for the day, our morning activities not only have a huge impact on our mindset and wellbeing throughout the day, but also on the quality of our sleep at night.
Some may view a morning routine as a system of oppression, but the fact is - humans are creatures of habit. Understanding this, and developing simple structures to navigate each day will ease any feelings of overwhelm and help us thrive. Here are 11 inspirational ideas for your morning routine!
1. The Universal 3
There's probably not an ideal morning routine that fits everyone perfectly. However, there are three morning activities that are universally helpful. They are:
- Let natural light in.
- Make your bed.
As soon as you're up, open your curtains and let the morning sunshine in! Open the window, and allow that fresh morning breeze to clear out the stale air inside.
Letting natural light in each morning will keep your body clock ticking away on time, which helps you stay energised throughout the day and sleep well at night.
If you make your bed as soon as you wake up, you won't be tempted to get back in it! It'll also make your mother proud - but there are actually real benefits to making your bed as part of your morning routine.
Drinking 500ml - 1L of clean, filtered water first thing in the morning is really important because it kickstarts your metabolism and ensures you start the day hydrated.
Having your water bottle waiting for you on the bedside table is a great way to remember, but adding freshly squeezed lemon juice is a great option too.
This is a tasty and refreshing drink, but it also has a lot of benefits - here are 10!
2. Create a morning playlist
Music is one of the most potent neurobiological tools we have to change our mood, mindset, and behaviour. Create a playlist that makes you feel happy and motivated in the morning - whether it's upbeat music, something chill, or even motivational speeches.
What you listen to is a matter of personal taste, but it has to make you feel good and reflect how you want to feel for the rest of the day.
When your alarm wakes you up, grab your phone - but instead of checking emails or scrolling social media, put your morning playlist on shuffle and let the music work its magic.
3. WRITE - journalling, gratitude & positive affirmations
Writing is a powerful tool that we can use to create, clarify and manifest our dreams. Including as little as 5 minutes of writing in your morning routine can have a profound impact on your wellbeing and productivity.
Positive affirmations are a great start to a writing habit, and they go hand-in-hand with a gratitude practice. Writing down the things we're grateful each morning is so effective because it re-wires our brains to focus on the positives, while our affirmations build our confidence and self-love.
It doesn't always have to be sunshine and rainbows though. Getting things out of your head and written down is an excellent way to relieve stress during busy and challenging times. If you ‘re a creative type and want to take your morning journal practice further, try Morning Pages or journal prompts.
4. Meditate and set your intentions for the day
Meditation is like brushing your hair, but for your mind. When we wake up, our mind is all messed up and knotty. Even as little as 5-10 minutes each morning to just STOP and smooth out our thoughts is going to help us start the day's tasks with more focus and clarity.
Mediation is a way of checking in with yourself. It's basically taking a moment to ask, ‘how am I?'
Writing down your intentions and priorities for the day once you've completed your morning meditation is a great way to take advantage of that detangled mental state.
5. Go outside
Each morning, take some time to walk or sit in the sun and enjoy your natural surroundings. You really can't beat that crisp, fresh air in the morning (and vitamin D)!
You might like to combine your outside time with yoga, meditation, journaling, your lemon water or your breakfast. Or maybe all of the above?!
6. Read 10 pages of a book
With blogs and social media being available at our fingertips these days, most of us are picking up fewer and fewer books. And for those of us who were total bookworms in our younger years - it's a bit sad.
Remember how transformative a good book can be? Despite being busy adults now, we can get back into reading books by making it part of our morning routine. Sit in the morning sun and read ten pages of a book you've been meaning to read for years.
Be sure to stick to your morning allowance though, whether it's ten pages, 20 minutes or a chapter - it's just too easy to get sucked in and spend all day reading!
7. Make some morning moves
Let’s be honest - morning workouts aren't for everyone. Some of us have our best sweat sessions after lunch or in the evening. That said, incorporating some form of movement into your morning routine will help you start the day feeling fresh, fit and energised.
15 minutes of gentle yoga or a quick walk around the block is enough to boost your mood and prepare your mind and body for the day ahead.
8. Eat the same breakfast at the same time every day
For many people, the key to a calm and productive morning is to eliminate as many unnecessary decisions as possible. This reserves our mental energy for the important things, and is the reason why so many successful people prefer to have the same breakfast every morning at the same time.
To help you start your day with enthusiasm and joy, choose something delicious and nourishing that you'd love to eat every day. Make sure it's a healthy breakfast that will give you the energy you need for a productive morning.
Need some breakfast inspiration? - look no further!
9. Create a workflow spreadsheet and rolling to-do list
A big part of mental wellness and daily productivity is being organised and in control. The busier we are, the more prone to stress and burn out we become. Many of us feel like there are just too many moving parts in our lives. We struggle to manage our time effectively, and we're terrified we'll forget some vital information.
This is where Google Sheets comes in to save the day! Creating a workflow document is a must - especially for freelancers and creative entrepreneurs, who often have several projects underway at once. This document captures everything you need to do, who's involved, what the deliverables are, as well as the due dates for each project component.
After setting up a workflow spreadsheet, we can then write down our list of priorities for each week. Once we know our priorities, our minds are calmer and more focused - which means we can create an effective rolling to-do list each day.
If you're struggling with time management and productivity, learning to break tasks down into manageable chunks with time blocking will be a game-changing addition to your morning routine!
10. Brainstorm a passion project
You know that thing you've been thinking about doing for ages, but never seem to get around to doing it? If you think about it often and the mere thought of it gets you all excited - then chances are, you have a potential passion project inside you just waiting to come out.
Let it out. You may have work to do for someone else later, but set aside time in your morning routine to focus on your own ideas. This is important! Before doing whatever it is you need to do to make a living or catering to the needs of others, prioritise fulfilling yourself first.
When you feel fulfilled, you'll be able to give more of yourself to others anyway!
Include your passion project in your workflow document, and at the very least - write down 10 ideas about your passion project each morning. Who knows - it might replace your day job one day.
11. Get a little help from Essential Oils
Use a concoction of essential oils each morning to help you carry out your intentions for the day. Aromatherapy is very powerful and can be used to improve just about anything - from increasing your motivation and focus to boosting your immune system and speeding up your recovery.
Each morning, simply select the oils which align with your intentions for the day. Not sure where to start? Here's some inspiration!
The point of developing a morning routine is to feel more relaxed, focused, confident and productive throughout the day. Whether you're an early bird or a night owl, combine your favourite ideas from the list above and enjoy the positive impact they have on the days, weeks and months ahead.