Mornings can be HARD.
Ok, you’ve probably heard a lot about ‘morning routines’, have come across articles that give you a list of 20 things to incorporate into your morning to be “happier” and “successful”.
Can a morning routine do this? 100%. But sometimes articles, mainly those business type articles, can try to make it seem so unattainable, easy peasy and intimidating.
This is not one of those articles. I’m sharing with you small simple things that I have added to my morning over time because mornings used to be ROUGH for me and I didn’t really take full advantage of them.
I mean, THIS HOW MY MORNINGS USED TO BE:
And no, I’m not about to tell you I wake up like this now:
But, I DO wake up more like this:
With a little more ease and little more intention.
(p.s if I was offered an extra hour I would take it. I’m not perfect!)
In the past I would set my alarm 15 minutes before I had to leave, I was rushing, forgetting stuff (lot’s of stuff), running around and really moody by the time I walked out the door. I thought that was how mornings were meant to be.
Appreciating mornings and developing my routine definitely DID NOT happen overnight and making the changes wasn’t easy. When that alarm went off I still hit snooze a couple of times until i was late and running behind.
Making a routine out of the few things I added over time to my morning brought stillness, peace, and organization to my morning and a clearer mind and more stability to my day. Being able to really own my morning sets the stage for the rest of my day.
1. I have to be flexible in my approach
Mornings don’t have to go perfectly. And they won’t.
I can be a HUGE perfectionist! That’s not something I want to brag about because at the bad end of it, it can be so easy for me to be hard on myself if things don’t go exactly as planned or if other things come up along the way, so going into my mornings with a flexible approach and not a perfect, unchangeable list of things to do is important.
This little article blurby blub explains my flexible approach perfectly:
"Let go of any expectations to develop the perfect routine and perform it perfectly every morning. You are not looking for perfection at all in this new habit, just intentional energy being put toward creating a morning routine that works best for you. Being flexible means that you can allow yourself to adapt and adjust, finding what works well and being willing to let go of what doesn't work well. Remember that you are developing a morning routine to live more productively and peacefully, not so you can live with even more stress!"
2. Get organized the night before
This one SAVES my mornings. I can be forgetful (I mean does the rushing and remembering combination work for anyone?) so I’ll do a few things at night that could leave me running behind and that could be easily forgotten in the morning.
Before bed things:
- Make sure my water bottle is in my bag
- Lay out some clothes for the next day
- Prep food that I will have for breakfast
- Add a change of clothes for my post workout shower to my bag
- Add anything anyone asked me to bring in for them (items, documents etc)
If you do little things like this, your morning self will thank you!
3. Write down tasks for the next day
writing things down gets them out of my head and lets me get a peaceful sleep. Anyone else’s brain turn on when your head hits the pillow?!
Before I go-to bed I take my planner or the notepad app on my phone and write down EVERYTHING I need and want to get done tomorrow so it’s not floating around in my brain and stuff I don’t want to forget in the morning.
If I don’t, sometimes it can feel like the list grows and GROWS and starts to overwhelm me as soon as my head hits the pillow: “Oh don’t forget to bring that document in”, “Run by the office before leaving the gym”, “Pick up a new suitcase”.
Just ALLL the random things. I write it all down. A brain dump.
4. Set two alarms
The first alarm is to wake me up, and 10 minutes after, the second alarm means time to get out of bed. What I do during those 10 minutes changes every day.
Every day I wake up differently so within those 10 minutes I honor what I need – a good stretch in my bed, a few deep breaths, keep my eyes closed and accidentally fall back asleep or just lay there until I stop denying that it’s morning, meditate (I love and use the Headspace app!), set an intention, or whatever else I need. Whatever I do, I have 10 minutes until my next alarm goes off and I HAVE to get out of bed.
Like I said, I’m definitely not one to bust out of the bed at the sound of my first alarm, so my two alarm trick is KEY for me. On top of that, no matter what time my goal to leave the house is, I always set my alarm for one hour before my goal time to leave is. It gives me time to move slow, roll around, make a good breakfast and a chance to really wake up.
Also, social media isn’t an option during those first 10 minutes of my day. See below.
5. I check in on myself before I check in on social media
the first 15 minutes of my morning are phone free and I check in with myself before checking in with what everyone else is doing and saying on social media and in e-mails.
Checking in: hows my mood? Hows my body? How am feeling? If it’s not great, what do I need to do today to feel better? Is my energy low? How’s my mindset? What am I telling myself about the day? What can I choose to tell myself about today? If i’m already saying, “Ugh I’m so tired, today is going to bed so hard. I should have went to bed earlier last night.”, this is where I catch myself. “Ok, yes, I’m tired, BUT I can choose to be thankful that I woke up this morning, I’m healthy, I GET to work out (not, i HAVE to workout) and let’s make it a good day. how can i have a positive energy.” I don’t believe we are meant to be happy 24/7 but do get to choose what type of energy we bring to those around us.
6. Make my bed
If I fail at everything else that day, at least I accomplished one thing, and that was making me bed! WOOP!
There have been books written about the power of making our beds. Yep, I was skeptical at first, but I absolutely believe it gets my momentum going in the morning by accomplishing something right away. Plus, my room instantly feels more organized, I feel like a functioning-put-together adult and it puts me in the mindset to tackle other tasks.
Related: View my favorite books
"If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. And by the end of the day, that one task completed, will have turned into many tasks completed." Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...And Maybe the World by William H. McRaven
7. Drink water
Nothing like chugging water as soon as I get out of the bed and walk into the kitchen. This one is for my body. After 8-9hrs of no water, it’s time to get my body going and hydrated again.
Room temperate water is where it’s at for me! I think playing professionally overseas and living in Europe for so many years got me hooked on warm temperature water.
*In my doctor voice* Drinking water immediately after waking up purifies the colon, making it easier to absorb nutrients. When we drink water in the morning on an empty stomach, we will release all your toxins and it will improve our digestive system.
Who doesn’t want all that?
8. Eat breakfast
No matter what I have lined up for that day, what I eat for breakfast is going to fuel me and set the tone for what kind of energy I’ll have that morning and potentially that day.
I love, love breakfast. I’m not a nutritionist, but breakfast isn’t only important because I’m a professional athlete, but because I’m human. I know some people do the intermittent fasting stuff and I respect that, but I’ve learned that my body needs a big breakfast in order to have fuel for all I want to get done that morning: workouts, practice, meetings etc. Find what works well for your body and energy level.
If you’re someone who says, “I don’t like breakfast”, try playing around with items that are cold vs hot. Liquid vs solid. I typically like warm things in the morning like oatmeal but some days I crave something cold and I’ll grab some pre-prepped overnight oats from the fridge or a smoothie instead.
Just try something small, it doesn’t have to be extravagant It can be an apple, banana, toast and almond butter, glass of almond milk, or a granola bar. Just SOMETHING. (protein, fruit, and whole grains.)
Here is one of my favorites:
OVERNIGHT OATS: This is for people who want something substantial in the morning for breakfast but don’t want to commit to a long process to get it. With overnight oats, all the magic happens the night before. This was my go-to for a while. Just prep, make everything the night before and grab and go in the morning.
Try different toppings like strawberries, blueberries, bananas, etc
Ok, that’s all I got! Hope something in their might make your morning more enjoyable and smoother!
Be patient with yourself, add one thing at a time, and do your best!