Morning routines make many of us cringe. The thought of being told what to do, especially when we first get up does not sound inviting. However, it is important to note that the right routine can help start your day off right and most importantly not forget to floss your teeth or put on your watch before you leave the house.
Have you ever left the house without putting on your watch? I have. Not. Fun. The rest of the day feels out of whack, and of course, these are the days I check my wrist more than ever.
Most of us do not 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 eliminates the need for big decisions first thing when we wake up. We already know what we need to do which helps us avoid mental fatigue which gives us space and energy to engage in our day.
So what should you include in your morning routine?
Let’s first take a look at what NOT to include.
While the answer to this will be unique to you, I can tell you for sure that it should not include these two things:
- Social Media
The ding on your phone letting you know of a new email arriving or that you have something new to check out in social media is a known trigger of stress. That silly little noise makes it seem like it’s something important and that we need to respond immediately.
That notification on your phone also triggers:
- FOMO (the fear of missing out) the what if’s and the need to be in-the-know.
- The age-old problem of comparison as we check out what is happening in everyone else’s life and wonder why ours is not “fairy talish” like theirs.
The reality is that these are detrimental to the start of your day. Whether you consciously feel it or not, your brain is immediately stressed, and it’s way too easy to get lost in scrolling through Facebook or Instagram and lose track of time.
What should be included in morning routines?
Aah, that is the magic question, isn’t it? Type that question into The Google, and you will get hit with list after list of “10 Things Successful People Do Before You Even Wake Up”. Well, at least something along those lines.
You can make this as simple or as complicated as you want, but I can tell you from personal experience, simpler is waaaaay 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 ask yourself a few questions:
- What helps you wake up and feel ready to face the day? Quiet, coffee, tea…
- Are you more creative in the morning? Is this the time to make art? Write? Draw? Doodle?
- Would reviewing your goals, creating a to-do-list a good way to get you in the right mindset to start your day?
- Does exercise help you in the morning?
- Does reading your Bible help create a better frame of mind for your day?
The ideas and answers you come up with will give you a list of ideas and a great starting point in putting together a morning routine. It will take some time and experimentation but in the end, the right routine will help your day start on the right track.
My list is short and simple:
- Daily walk with Bailey
- Quiet time to read my Bible and spend some time in prayer
- Writing / Reading time
- Get showered, dressed, and ready for the day
Why Do I Start With a Walk With Bailey?
Our walks are essential for the both of us.
Often I’m just rolling out of bed, throwing clothes and a hat to hide my hair, grabbing a leash and heading out the door, usually to a rotating list of favorite local trails.
First – Bailey is begging to get outside, which is an excellent motivation for me to get moving.
Second – No big decisions needed.
Over the years, these daily walks are where:
- My head starts to clear and the “little gray cells” start to activate.
- The muscles loosen up, and blood starts pumping.
- My shoulders start to relax.
- I start to breathe deeply.
- I start 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 perked up, tail wags, and his tongue hangs out as he runs around up and down the trail, the beach, or in and out of the crashing waves. His joy makes me smile and laugh.
As I wake up, racing thoughts come as I think about client projects, to-do-lists, things I want to do, need to do… and the stress begins to build up. Walking, breathing fresh air, and being out in nature, my brain slows down again and helps me be present and in the moment.
These are the times when my sub-conscious goes to work troubleshooting website issues that are hanging over my head. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come up with the solution I was looking for during a morning walk.
Morning walks are also 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 and why walking is part of my morning routine.
Is a daily walk part of your morning routine?
PS – Here is a fun resource to take a look at:
Bailey and I have the opportunity to live along the coast lined with great trails and beach access that are a few minutes away, and we love it. But, not everyone has that opportunity.
I recently found a great set of exercise videos on YouTube by Jessica Smith and I LOVE her programs. I try to add in one of her workouts 3-5 times a week as a way to bump up my cardio. Often my walks are full of starts and stops as I wait for Bailey as he sniffs and smells his way down the trail. 🙂
She offers a wide variety of low-impact walking, yoga, stretching, and interval training videos that range from 10 – 40 minutes. Her videos might be an excellent resource for easily adding a walk to your morning routine too! Click here to check out JessicaSmithTV
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, “Choosing Gratitude: A Daily Quiet Time Journal”.