Do you find yourself rushing out of the door each morning, seemingly with no time to spare? If your mascara is barely dry on your daily commute (and you may or may not be wearing mismatched socks), it can be exhausting feeling like you don't have a single second to spare. It may be time to reassess how establishing a morning routine and giving yourself some room to breathe in the morning could potentially be a game changer for your stress levels.
You may be thinking, "Well, I already have a morning routine." While that may be, take a moment to ponder: Does your current routine set yourself up for a day that affords you room to take care of your physical and emotional needs? Starting off on the wrong foot in the morning undoubtedly creates a ripple effect that can be hard to stop, so be honest with yourself and what you'd like to improve.
Remember: Morning routines look different for everyone. So, when prioritizing what should be included in your own, don't think about what others might be doing (especially when morning routine videos on social media are super common and set unrealistic expectations). Simply examine what your own personal needs are and go from there.
As a night owl through and through, I had never put much thought into my morning routine until I realized it was necessary for accomplishing a number of goals I'd set for myself. Here are a couple things I've noticed since getting consistent with my own individual morning routine:
I don't always default to what's convenient.
Some mornings, I take the time to make myself a nutritious breakfast from scratch instead of reaching for a frozen breakfast sandwich, or worse, not eating anything for breakfast at all. Sure, some items of convenience are still awesome to have (pre-made cold brew vs. making my own), but having the choice and not always being forced into choosing what gets me out the door quickest feels like a wonderful luxury.
I feel energized and productive.
While I'm not usually a morning workout person, some days are busier than others and you've got to fit movement in somewhere. And I can't lie, getting your daily movement checked off your list in the early hours of the day feels super good. It also affords me more time in my afternoon to accomplish other things, whether it's spending time with friends and family, running errands, taking the dog on a long walk or simply spending a night in.
I don't feel like I'm always playing catch-up.
We all know that running late feeling—and it's a huge bummer that can create a feeling that influences the entire rest of your day. By waking up early enough and having an "auto pilot" morning routine I can rely on, I've found I can approach the day more intentionally while looking forward to what's next.
I appreciate the time I have with myself.
During my morning routine, I'm able to reflect on what I've got coming up for the day or week. It's also a time that can be used to check in with my own thoughts and feelings, and to truly slow down a bit—especially during busy times of the year. Having some "me time" in this way allows me to be the best version of myself for my family, friends and workplace.
It's important to recognize that not everyone is starting on an even playing ground here. Some folks might be able to spare two hours in the morning for their routine, while others only have 30 minutes. Some might have childcare lined up, while others are not afforded that privilege. Either way, doing your best to ensure that how you spend that time serves you in the best way possible is what's important.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for West Michigan Woman.