How to start your morning feeling grounded, inspired and ready to conquer the day ahead.
Having a solid morning routine is so important for me to feel like I have my shit together. I’m sure you’ve seen articles with titles like “10 things successful people do every morning”. Having practiced a morning routine for quite some time now I have to say I agree there’s something to it! My days are infinitely more likely to go smoothly if I can start out with the right mindset.
Now I’m not perfect and I definitely don’t do all the things I’m going to mention every single morning. No way jose! But, it’s always some combination of them, generally depending on what I’m feeling that morning.
Giving myself some grace here for flexibility is really important. Having a strict list or order that I vow never to stray from is not realistic for my life, and, much like fad diets and other things that come with plenty of rules, just not sustainable. Feeling like you somehow failed because you missed your morning meditation does not lend itself to the positive mindset we’re aiming for, amiright?
Prepping the night before
My morning routine actually begins the night (and in some ways even the weekend) before. By this, I mean that prepping certain things ahead of time saves me both time and mental energy in the mornings, and makes me more likely to feel on top of my day right from the get-go.
Two things I almost always prep ahead are overnight oats for my breakfast and healthy snacks for my lunches (I’ll do a separate post on food prep if you’re interested!). I typically do this on Sundays and it makes it so quick and easy to have a healthy breakfast and lunch ready with very little effort on any given day.
I also will sometimes pick out my outfit the night before. This is harder to do a week ahead as often the weather forecast fluctuates, but it takes less than five minutes to do before bed each night. I don’t know about you but sometimes my brain just isn’t fully awake in the morning and the seemingly easy task of putting clothes on my body can feel like a chore. Keeping my closet fairly minimal certainly helps but I also think I’m more apt to wear all of the things I own and generally be more creative with my looks by planning ahead.
Lastly, a key part of feeling good in the morning is getting to bed on time! I try to always plug my phone in on the opposite wall from my bed so I can’t be tempted to scroll endlessly when I should be falling asleep.
The Morning Of
First things first
On work days I usually get up around 6:30. For Christmas this past year my husband got me a sunrise alarm clock and I absolutely love it! If you haven’t heard of these they basically mimic a sunrise by gradually brightening up the room in the 20-30 minutes before your alarm time. In this way, your body awakens more naturally instead of being jarred out of a deep sleep by your alarm. At 6:30 if I’m not already out of bed the alarm will play nature sounds. Mine is set to birds chirping but it is customizable.
I try not to hit the snooze button and the longer I’ve used it the more I find I’m often up before 6:30 strikes. The next things I do immediately are put on my thick fuzzy socks and a cozy sweater or robe, unplug my phone, grab my book from my bedside table, go pee (real life), then head downstairs.
While my coffee is brewing I fill a mason jar with water from the tap and get out my vitamins. I take echinacea and vitamin D every morning. I also get my overnight oats out of the fridge and bring all of this over to either the dining room table, or the serving tray on my couch / ottoman, depending where I choose to sit that morning. (I love cozying up on the couch but I find if I’m getting lazy with my routine, or feeling particularly tired, that sometimes the table is better – I’m not as apt to want to fall back asleep because I’m too comfy cozy.)
My “me time”
The next half hour or so is my time to just relax, wake up and enjoy the quiet. In my opinion, there is nothing better than that first-thing-in-the-morning quiet. Especially on a weekend but I’ll take a regular
I subscribe to the Calm app and often will listen to the ten minute guided meditation called the “daily calm”. There’s a new one uploaded every day and it generally involves a short meditation with a brief inspirational story, topic discussion, or quote at the end. If you really connect with a particular topic or meditation you can “love it” which saves it to a playlist so you can easily return to it and relisten at a later date.
Sometimes this is very free form and I will just write anything and everything that comes to my head. I don’t stick to any particular length or number of pages. It might be a lot or just a few lines. Other times I’ll write a list of things I’m grateful for. Sometimes I do both. Keeping this flexibility allows me to do whatever I feel like I need or is serving me best that day, and I really like it this way.
As I said above, I often will intersperse some reading into my morning routine. When I was young I loved to read. Then I went through the heat of undergrad, med school and residency which involved a lot of compulsory reading and I had little time to read for pleasure. Since finishing my training though I’ve rekindled my love for it. I read a mix of fiction and non-fiction books and love love love me some self-development content. My latest of these was You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero (every bit amazing as it’s reviewed to be!). And now I’m on to J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald – The Original Screenplay. (I’m a big Harry Potter nerd and it’s on my list to make it to the theme park in Orlando within the next year or two!)
I like to roll out my yoga mat and spend a few minutes stretching. Or, if I have time, I might do a short yoga practice following one of Adriene Mishler’s routines on her wildly popular YouTube channel, Yoga with Adriene. If you’ve never heard of her or checked out her stuff, I highly recommend it!
Getting ready for work
While this might not be my favorite part of my routine I’ve found it super helpful to try to re-frame my thoughts from “I have to” to “I get to”. So, in this case, I don’t HAVE TO get ready for work, I GET TO get ready for work. Doing so shifts my mindset from perceiving something as unpleasant or a burden, to feelings of gratitude and positivity. The fact that I get to get ready for work means I’m healthy enough to work, and lucky enough to have a
You can apply this to so many things in your day-to-day life as well. “I have to workout” becomes “I get to workout” which implies your body is healthy and strong enough to do so, you have the food and water available to fuel your workout, you have the time and equipment available, etc. It can be life changing to get in the habit of making this simple mindset shift!
Anyhow, off topic! LOL Once I’m finished with coffee, breakfast, reading, stretching, etc. I head upstairs and wash my face, brush my teeth, get dressed then do my makeup and hair. I’m fairly low maintenance and generally shower in the evening so this usually only takes me 10-15 minutes from start to finish.
After that I come back down to the kitchen and pack my lunch. Ideally I’ve already put any leftovers into tupperware the night before and have my snacks mostly ready from my weekly prep so this doesn’t take too long.
I grab my keys and purse and I’m out the door.
Calling my mom
The last part of my routine is calling my parents. I put them on speaker phone (because I don’t yet have a car with built-in Bluetooth – no, not all doctors drive fancy cars :P). We chat for the 7 or 8 minutes it takes me to get to work. I’m super lucky to have such a short commute and I find quick daily check-ins to be a great way to stay better connected to friends and family.
Anyhow, that’s it! Maybe you can relate to some of the things I do, and if not, I hope you can draw some inspiration from it! If you’re new to morning routines I suggest starting out simple. Don’t expect to fit all of these things in right away. Pick one or two things that speak to you, start there, and add or subtract as you go. Find what feels good.