How do you feel about your mornings? Do you have a morning routine, or do you go with the flow? Do you hop out of bed ready to tackle the day ahead, or do you start counting down the minutes until you can crawl back into bed at the end of the night? If you’re not a morning person, they can easily feel tough, lonely, and downright awful, especially if you’re getting up before the sun. But what if there was a way to take them back and make them more enjoyable?
We are constantly met with distractions that are vying for our attention. Nearly every app we download immediately wants to send us notifications, and most people expect us to be readily available, so, sometimes just the idea of putting our needs first can feel incredibly selfish. We get so busy filling our days with the needs of everyone else that we often fail to acknowledge our own.
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Using your mornings as an opportunity to prioritize your own needs gives you a strong foundation for your day. Think about it like the story of The Three Little Pigs. The first two pigs quickly build their homes out of straw and sticks respectively, and then go off to play and have fun. The third pig, on the other hand, invests more of his time building a house out of bricks. He misses out on the short-term fun to set himself up for a strong future. When the wolf arrives, he can easily blow down the homes of the first two pigs but is unable to get through the third one. Use this as an analogy for your day. When you roll out of bed, brush your teeth and leave for the day, you’re essentially laying a foundation of straw or sticks. While there may still be a bit of a foundation for when things are going well, you may find it comes crashing down at the simplest threat. However, when you spend a little extra time in the morning working on your own needs, you’re essentially crafting your foundation out of bricks and can withstand more than your day may throw at you.
Life can feel really tough sometimes. Things can come up that tests us, pushes our limits, and challenges us. Sometimes our days can feel never-ending, and it can feel difficult to know which way to turn. Tending to your own needs in the morning may not stop the bad things from happening, but it can help to give you the strength you need to make it through. Think of it as charging your phone fully the night before, instead of trying to make it through your day with only 30% battery. A 30% charge may be enough on days you don’t use your phone much, but as soon as you need to make an unexpected long call, use your GPS, or find yourself stuck in traffic and want to listen to the new Taylor Swift album on Spotify, your battery may not last. Use your mornings to recharge your batteries, and go be the best version of yourself.
Why do you need a morning routine?
What you do in a day turns into your ritual and habits, which manifests into your life. This doesn’t just apply to the good things that we want to happen, but also the not-so-great things, too. For example, not doing your dishes and letting them pile up turns into a habit, just as maintaining a spotless kitchen does, too. Rolling out of bed last minute creates a habit, just as waking up earlier does, too. The goal with a morning routine is to get repetitive with the same behaviours every day to turn them into a habit and change your life.
If you’re new to routines, they may seem foreign to you. You may still be questioning if you really even need one in the first place. Habits take a while to form before you can maximize the results. Think about anytime you try something new: you’re typically motivated and excited initially, and it may feel easy to stick with. However, as time goes on and the excitement wears off, it may feel increasingly more difficult.
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Embarking on a new morning routine to prioritize your needs and goals may feel easy(ish) at the start because it’s new and exciting. Chances are though, sooner or later, it will get hard. Your bed will feel comfy and you may hear a little voice telling you it’s selfish or unnecessary to put your needs first. Stay dedicated to your goals during this and it will get easier over time. Believe in yourself, pick yourself back up if you fall, and love yourself through it all. You’ve got this.
What should your morning routine include?
Let go of this framework of what your morning routine needs to look like, because ultimately, what works for others may not work for you. As a general rule of thumb, focus on a few key things that benefit your life as a whole. Your routine doesn’t need to be elaborate, but try to include something that benefits you mentally, something that benefits you physically, and something that benefits you spiritually. For some, that could look like taking a walk, reading a blog post or non-fiction book, and meditating – for others, it could look like a 2-hour workout, journaling, and saying affirmations. We’re all unique, with unique goals, dreams, and beliefs. So naturally, we can’t compare what we need to do for ourselves to what someone else needs to do for themselves.
We also need to remember that we change from day to day. For example, think about what you needed in January or February 2020 versus March or April 2020. Of course, this was a pretty drastic change, but we also go through subtle changes in our daily lives. Something as simple as not getting enough sleep or a rainy day can impact our mood immensely. While you get used to following a morning routine, give yourself 3 options: a high vibe morning routine, a medium vibe morning routine, and a low vibe morning routine. The idea is that you can follow the appropriate routine for your current situation. You’ve woken up late and don’t have a lot of extra time? Do the low vibe routine. Don’t have a lot of time but still need a little extra TLC? Do the medium vibe routine. Your morning routine should be used to build yourself up, as opposed to tearing yourself down, so be kind to yourself when things come up, and make adjustments where needed along the way.