I'm saying this to you as someone who had a solid morning routine and then in the midst of quarantine it was shattered and have now found my way back to accord. If you are someone that needs some form of routine to aid in your mental stability, lack of free time because you don't have a proper schedule, or whatever the reason, I'm here to help and share what worked for me. Getting back to the "me time" I needed to have a productive day.
When quarantine happened I still succeeded in my waking up early, getting my sweat on, journaling and little work gigs here and there. Then a month went by and still quarantining was going strong. Family time with my siblings and parents were still being enjoyed as we all stayed safe and away from everyone else. I was really opening my eyes to less spending (even when I thought I was budgeting well) and taking back the weekends we used to have in the 90's where we spent the majority outside playing, bbq'n and simple quality time together.
Then we had a death in the family and then another three weeks later...
It wasn't Covid related, the only thing Covid related was the fact that mourning the usual way we do and the events that usually follow after a death are spread out over several weeks and limited to only immediate family. I don't wish that experience on anyone. One week is the wake, the following a burial, the following a mass etc etc wash and repeat... It was terrible for everyone. I forgot where i heard this but funerals and masses aren't for those who passed, but for the living. I'm glad I got to honor my cousins who passed, even in the most unconventional way...
Couple that with the limbo we are in today and the protests and riots we've witnessed. It's heavy, it's really heavy. Lot's of sadness and evil is out there, a lot of change is happening. Good and bad. The hope is for the good to always overcome the bad, right?
I like to think that to tackle any of that, be it personally or publicly, you begin at home with your mindset, actions etc. Filling your home with gratitude to overflow to anyone who crosses paths with you and your family, but first YOU have to fill your cup. It's got to runneth over.
For me it's my mornings that have to have a sense of peace and structure. In my morning block I want to sweat, journal gratitude, enjoy my first sips of coffee, have a plan of attack with my "to do list", and do one extra thing that makes me feel good; reading, tend to the garden, meditation. Everyone's idea of the perfect morning may be different, but I highly advise that you do something to release endorphins.
From the end of April to the end of June I struggled to lock in my routine. It took me some time to get it down, but July was my non negotiable to figure it out. Everyone's ideal morning routine is different, but these are the main things I do and if one or two or all seem like ideal tasks, this is how I got my mornings back:
WEEKDAY EARLY RISING: I look back months ago and can't believe I was setting my alarm for 4:45am to workout at 5 on the nose every weekday. Now I'm not doing that right now, but I will return to that as each month progresses. Right now I'm keeping a steady 5:45 am alarm to get up, hydrate and dressed to work out. On the weekends I get up at 7 and enjoy a slower pace. If you aren't an early riser or once were and need to ease back in, Start with whatever average time you're getting up and set your alarm 15 minutes before that. Try it for a week and then every week increase another 15 minutes or 30 additional. Until you are at your goal time. The idea is to get up before anyone or before work can interrupt your "me time" for at least a good solid hour. Just like Rachel Hollis' #5tothrive style (read more on that here). During the heavy covid months I would be good a few times a week and the others sleep in. If you can maintain 15 minutes earlier for a week, and then continue to increase the time to wake up earlier, that habit will strengthen.
LIMIT PHONE USE: If I'm posting in the AM it's because I'm showcasing lifestyle moments for the blog or work/fitness inspo. However, I film it first and post a few hours later. When your alarm goes off, don't go straight into email or DM checks. It can wait, besides it should be early enough where people wouldn't expect a response. If you want to record something to showcase your home workout, journaling etc. go for it, just post it later so you don't get sucked into scrolling. You don't want to bombard yourself with any draining images or posts either!
MOVE YOUR BODY: Yes often said by many wellness and life coaches, " Move your body". Whatever that means to you; strength training, running, yoga etc. Do something that will rev up your heart , increase blood flow and release endorphins for at least 30 minutes. Often people ask when is the best time to workout, for me I've got to get it out of the way to prevent myself from dragging it out to the late hours of the evening. It's also scientifically proven that when we wake up we naturally have high levels of cortisol and working out early in the morning, before eating, will help your metabolism burn from your current fat reserves. So if you needed a reason to work out early in the A.M. there you go!
GRATITUDE & AFFIRMATION PRACTICE: I do my gratitude & Affirmation practice with journaling, I use the Start Today method, which is a mix of writing 5 things your are grateful for within the last 24 hours and 10 manifestations you have. I swear I write " I am a morning person." in my 10 manifestations. I keep my journal in my gym area so I have it ready to go post workout! However, journaling may not be your thing. It can be hard to sit there sometimes to write if your mind is taxed. Maybe you visually like to look at images and symbols. Maybe your thing is a vision board. Often people look at visions boards as manifesting into the future, but what about the present? My board is a curated blend of things I dream for but many things that are present. Quotes to live by each day. Pictures of my family, a map to signify all the travel I've done in a short span, workout programs I've completed, a goal I reached. Sometimes you forget to sit down and look at how far you've come. Often if you think of looking back you live in the past, but what about those precious moments that are still reflected today? Other ways you can practice gratitude is through mediation and visualizing within all that you are grateful for. There are tons more ways to practice gratitude, but here are a few to start you off!
EAT & DRINK WELL: You can pair this with your morning hobby or browsing your check list(s). All I know there is nothing like the first sip of coffee in the morning. I even eat my eggs and spinach (seriously that my go-to mon-fri) firsts and let my coffee steep just a tad longer in the french press. I finish eating and then I sip that coffee slowly...real slow. Then when I'm feeling all cozy, I'll look over my tasks for the day, or blog etc.
HOBBIES THAT FILL YOUR HEART WITH JOY: If time permits add something in there. Is it reading for an additional 30 minutes, listening to your favorite podcast, meditation, watering a pruning the garden, drafting a blog post lol. What little hobby or project that just solely for you can you fit in there? Write them down and put them on cue.
CHECK YOUR " TO DO " LIST: The last thing you do just before you dive into the rest of your day and get all your work projects in is check and revise your " to do's". Maybe something has come up, or maybe you have more clarity as to what order to do them in. You just want to make sure you have a plan of attack. If you know what you're doing, you will procrastinate less. I like using my "Priority Planner" that lets you put block scheduling in and the allotted time it may take you to do it and a section to check them off as your get them done. Allowing you to be more organized and efficient, may even allow you to create a night time routine and enjoy more of your hobbies.
Hope this little morning routine inspo has inspired you to try it out for the weeks to come. I'm very much looking forward to a brand new week and continuing to solidify my morning habits.
Wishing you all peaceful and joyful days ahead,