Written by: Via Rutkowski
The art of creating a morning routine is something we’ve seen increasingly on social media over the last few years as the importance of self-care has become more familiar. I have watched countless vlogs and read dozens of articles wondering what all the hype was about. With 5 am fitness classes, green smoothies, and heaps of affirmations, these routines were certainly intriguing to watch but felt unattainable and a bit intimidating. I used to always say that I didn’t have time for these things and optimized trying to squeeze in as much sleep as possible, waiting until the final alarm to spring into action. Until it was time for a major change…
To paint the picture for you, I used to wake up every morning in a mad rush to get to the nearest subway station. I’d run through the streets in heels with coffee spilling in hand, plus whatever other baggage I had with me for the day. Then I would cram myself into a stuffed subway car while I tried my best to balance and shrink myself into a corner where I could hold down the fort for the next few stops. Though my commute was only a short 15 minutes to the office, the day always started with feelings of stress and rushed chaotic energy. I never had much of a routine or goal except to get to the office in one piece.
When I started working for myself from home my day-to-day life changed drastically. The extreme change in pace turned out to be a huge indicator that it was time to restructure the way I had been handling my mornings. The key to many things seems to be: SLOW DOWN. It came with a lot of adjusting. I was now responsible for building my own structure to get going each day. It took me about a year to really understand how to find the morning routine that worked for me, and though every day isn’t perfect, it’s great to have a go-to structure to return to and hop back on track when you’re in need of a reset. (You know those days.)
Creating a morning routine helps to provide a bit of predictability in your day and can help set you up for success, reduce anxiety, and boost productivity. The best part is that you can tailor this to your life however you see fit. It’s all about what makes you feel your best. Whether you work from home or commute each day, here are a few ways to build a special morning routine you’ll look forward to.
Lose your phone!
Hide it, fling it away, lose it! Leave that tempting little device in another room overnight and keep it off of your nightstand. Rolling directly into a never-ending scroll is too much consumption first thing in the morning and takes valuable time away from us. Try to avoid starting the day with major stressors like news, emails, notifications, etc. I find it to be an instant relief knowing that I don’t need to answer to anyone first thing in the morning. “Do Not Disturb” mode is your best friend.
Do something mindful first to set the tone.
If meditation, journaling, or a gratitude practice is in the cards for you, do that next! Reading something inspirational is also a great practice to weave in at this phase of your routine. The book Atomic Habits by James Clear is a great tool to guide the formation of impactful habits and routines that you can look forward to. Reading about others’ experiences and techniques can often be motivating to get up and try it yourself! With your phone away and unable to distract you, take a moment to enjoy this period of time dedicated to calmness before the day takes off. An inspirational YouTube video or two can’t hurt either! Since my phone is still away I opt to play these videos on the TV to prevent extra distraction and passive phone scrolling. This step sets the tone for the day.
Make a list and cross your least favorite things off first.
If you dread exercise, cleaning, or any of those types of tasks on your to-do list, getting them out of the way first always makes me feel better. I always remind myself that objects in motion stay in motion. Once you start accomplishing to-do’s it’s likely you’ll want to keep going. And as a result, you’ll free up more time for yourself later.
Get yourself ready.
While full glam is by no means necessary, it feels good to be fresh and ready for the day. Take this time to take care of YOU! Hydrate, moisturize, throw on your favorite outfit, do what makes you feel good and most like yourself- even if you have nowhere to be! Use this time to do that extra little something that gives you a boost of confidence to conquer the day.
Whether it’s a quick walk or relocating yourself for your daily work-from-home session or your walk to the train, try to savor it. Jam out to your favorite playlist, build in a little reward for yourself along the way (like a coffee from your favorite cafe) or take a new route to see something new. If you’re living in a metropolitan area, consider taking a Citi Bike for a spin in a quiet area to clear your mind and add in a little extra movement.