The idea of a morning routine might make you cringe. The thought of being told what to do and when to do it, especially when you first get up, sounds restrictive and unappealing.
If you take a minute to think about it, you might be surprised to realize that you use routines every day. You have a sequence you use each morning to get dressed — a series of steps that take you to get ready each morning before you head out the door.
All of these are routines you have developed over time, and now you do them without thinking.
If you are anything like me, you probably don’t jump out of bed full of energy, ready to start the day. As slow starters, we need all the help we can get to wake up and get the blood flowing.
While the idea of a routine may sound restrictive and confining, a healthy morning routine can help:
- Eliminates the need for big decisions first thing when we wake up, who has the brainpower for that?
- We already know what we need to do, which helps us reduce mental fatigue, which can give better energy management for the day.
- Set a positive tone for the day.
Knowing this brings up the question, “what should a healthy morning routine include?”.
Before we get to that question, it might be helpful to consider what not to include.
Recently I began to examine my mornings and realized that my routines had fallen apart. As a result, I was not as productive, and my days often felt chaotic. It may have impacted my ability to reach some of the goals I had set for the last quarter.
It was a wake-up call. So I began to evaluate my morning and find what was and wasn’t working.
There are two things I know should not be in my morning routine or yours, email and social media.
- Notifications that chime on your phone is a known trigger of stress. We’ve programmed or brains to think that ding means we need to respond immediately
- Many of us have developed FOMO, thinking that if we don’t at least look at the notification, we might be missing out on something.
- Whether you consciously feel it or not, your brain is immediately stressed in response tho that chime.
- It’s way too easy to get lost in scrolling through Facebook or Instagram and lose track of time.
What should be you include in your morning routine?
Type that question into “The Google,” and you will get see list after list of links that say something like, “10 Things Successful People Do Before You Even Wake Up.”
Learning new routines is not easy, and you can drive yourself crazy, trying to copy what all those Successful People are doing. And while you can glean some great ideas, I can tell you from personal experience, the simpler, the better.
When you make your morning routines too complicated, you won’t get it done, and you will be frustrated before the day gets going.
Set aside a few minutes to brainstorm a list of ideas for the questions below:
- What helps you wake up and feel ready to face the day?
- Are you more creative in the morning? Is this the time to make art? Write? Draw? Doodle?
- Would a daily review of your goals, or creating a to-do-list help you develop the right mindset to start your day?
- Does exercise help you in the morning?
- Would reading your Bible help create a better frame of mind for your day?
Next, pick 2-3 from the list as a starting point for your new morning routine. Experiment, try it out for a week and see how you feel.
At the end of the first week, evaluate what worked, what didn’t, and what was missing? It won’t go perfectly. Consider it as an experiment. Take your time to adjust and make tweaks to find the right routine that will help your day start on the right track.
I’m going back to my short and sweet routine:
- A walk with Bailey
- Quiet time to read my Bible and pray
- 15-30 minutes to read and write
- Get showered, dressed, and ready for the day
Why Do I Start With a Walk With Bailey?
Our morning walks are essential for both of us.
Often I’m just rolling out of bed, throwing on some clothes, my hiking boots, and the all-important hat to hide my hair. Then it’s heading out the door with a leash in hand and driving to of our favorite local trails.
Over the years, these daily walks are where:
- My head starts to clear, and my brain starts to work
- The muscles loosen up, and blood starts pumping
- My shoulders begin to relax
- I begin to breathe deeply
- I begin to notice the little things, the small spots of beauty that brighten my day (and the #bestillmoment in my Instagram Feed).
These walks are also a time where I get to see Bailey come to life. His ears perk up, his tail wags, and his tongue hangs out as he runs and explores. His joy makes me smile and laugh.
When I first wake up, my mind starts to race, thinking through to-do-lists, things I want to do, and need to do, or things I don’t want to forget. I’m stressed even before I push back the covers. Walking, breathing fresh air, and being out in nature, helps my brain slows down, and be present in the moment.
Sometimes, morning walks are a time to pray and just be.
On the days we don’t make it out for our morning walk, I can tell. I’m not nearly as productive, and often Bailey seems a little depressed and lethargic.
These are the reasons I walk my dog every morning.
Is a daily walk part of your morning routine?
Need more inspiration? Here are a few resources that might help.
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her buddy Bailey. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books including her newest, “Confident Hope: A Daily Quiet Time Journal”. Start your own daily gratitude practice with our, “7 Days of Gratitude Challenge – A Gratitude Journal Starter Kit”.