Last Updated on October 18, 2022
I’m in the process of rebuilding my morning routine.
For too long, I’ve been waking up with an immediate sense of overwhelm.
As I lay there in bed, I’d automatically think about what I needed to do that day and whether anyone was waiting on a response from me.
I found myself in the habit of jumping onto my computer right away, determined to get as much off my plate as I could in order to finally “relax.”
But you know how that story goes.
You check your inbox or Slack to see if anyone needs anything, which turns into a whole list of things you hadn’t planned for. You don’t even have time to plan out how you’re going to tackle those things.
Your stomach’s grumbling, your throat feels like the Sahara desert, and the dog’s whining…but you’re stuck where you are now.
The pressure to get things done so you can feel “free” is something that never quite seems to go away.
And that’s why I realized that something needed to change. That pressure is always going to be there. People will always need something.
But I can’t show up as a helpful human being unless I take some time in the morning for myself first. It’s in your best intention to do something for yourself before you give everything to your job (even if you’re self-employed).
How you start your day matters.
Taking that time to be with myself (instead of trying to put out the fires that only exist in my imagination) has made my mornings more mindful – and I’m better off because of it.
Here are three steps for rebuilding your morning routine if you also want to calm the chaos and start your day with the right mindset.
How to rebuild your morning routine
1. Set your morning intention
I was tired of feeling anxious every morning. As soon as I woke up, my brain would start thinking of the things I needed to do, the potential emails I might have, and the fact that I was already behind on what I wanted to do.
I wasn’t present in my mornings at all.
What I really wanted when I woke up was to feel prepared for the day so I wouldn’t feel in a rush. If I felt prepared, I could focus on being present.
I asked myself, “What can I do that will make me feel prepared?”
This intention became a guideline I could use to make sure I was starting my day the right way.
How do you want to feel during your mornings? Calm, energized, present, unbothered? Use this as a starting point to figure out how you might make small tweaks to your current routine.
P.S. Get The Daily Bliss Planner to map out your daily intentions and self-care practices.
2. Your first action matters
When my first action out of bed was to check emails or messages, my days never felt like they started on the right foot.
Your first action of the day creates the foundation for the rest of the day.
Obviously, your first action is probably to stumble out of bed and head to the bathroom, but I’m talking about what happens after that.
You want to create what Casey Dixon calls a “self-supportive habit”.
A self-supportive habit is “something that gives you a boost of energy, a sense of clarity, or a bit of structure to follow as your day gets started.”
What would that habit look like for you?
This first action should be enjoyable and easy, no matter your energy levels.
Try to make it something that relates back to the intention you set for your mornings. Since mine is to be prepared for the day, I might review my daily to-do list to make sure I know what to expect.
If your goal is to have a morning of peace, your first action might be to meditate. If your goal is to feel connected, your first action could be to talk to someone you love.
“Chances are you already have habits that guide your daily routine. The question becomes how can you go about changing these behaviors to establish new habits that are more supportive?”Casey Dixon
3. Recognize what IS working
There’s no need to completely overhaul your mornings. Start by focusing on what’s already working for you.
What things do you do every morning that feel good?
When you know what’s working, you can use these things as anchors to create new habits. Plus you’ll discover something about your priorities and needs.
Here are a few things that were already working for me:
- Take the dog out and get some sunshine (this is, of course, the number one thing sleep doctors and #biohackingbros tell you to do in order to get better sleep at night)
- Empty the dishwasher while I make breakfast. I hate emptying the dishwasher, but I’ve realized it doesn’t take as long as I think it does in my head. Plus, I make it a challenge to empty it before my eggs finish cooking.
- Eat breakfast. If I don’t, I get scary.
- Drink a cup of hot/warm water
- Avoid social media. I no longer sleep with my phone in the bedroom which means I can’t scroll first thing.
Recognizing what is working shows you what to keep prioritizing, instead of getting sidetracked by shiny new habit ideas.
How do you plan to make your mornings more mindful?
Your morning routine doesn’t have to elaborate – it just needs to be intentional. Take time in the morning to make sure you can be the best version of yourself for the rest of the day.
Hi Catherine I absolutely LOVE your article and your blog. I agree with you that “your first action of the day creates the foundation for the rest of the day” and have created a fantastic routine that has helped me feel grounded and focused as well as productive. I wrote an article on The Best Morning Routine for Success and Happiness and I truly believe it has made a world of difference for me! https://pantearahimian.com/the-best-morning-routine-for-success-and-happiness/
I love this. I completely agree that a morning routine is so vital and sets the course for the day. I just have so much trouble trying to fit too much into it! Or too much of one thing- for example, I try to do exercise and morning prayer/devotion time. But I want to do so much with devotion time- prayers, devotions, journaling, reading….. I’m working on setting a rotating schedule so that I can feel calm and relaxed and like I really did something without throwing out any of it completely.