Building a sustainable morning routine will give you control over your day and set you up for success. I set a new years resolution to “become a morning person”. I was tired of being the last one up and feeling like I was already behind before my feet even hit the floor. Not a calm or confident way to start the day!
Several years ago my resolution was to learn to like bloody marys and so I set about on a quest to find the ones in the city that I liked the best. It isn’t my first order now but I’m not repulsed by them anymore.
Knowing I’d taught myself something I didn’t think possible I set the become a morning person resolution. I want to start my days refreshed. Confidently. Prepared. As a parent and business owner confidence and preparedness are important. Refreshed can be faked with coffee when absolutely necessary but I have found that my morning routine does the refreshing for me.
My morning routine isn’t set in stone. And Sundays are for sleeping in. But no matter what time the alarm is set for (or not set) the following tips are how I’ve boosted my routine.
WRITE IT OUT
As you commit to becoming a morning person it is helpful to plan out your morning routine. And how much time each task will take.
You may want to meditate, exercise, shower, do your hair and makeup, make (and eat) breakfast, clean the kitchen, start a load of laundry, sit and drink coffee and journal every morning. Fantastic. You’ll also need to know how much time all of that will take.
When I did this for myself I wrote down every possible thing I could do before leaving the house on the school run at 7:30am. And I was going to need to wake up at 2:30am to get it all done.
I whittled the list down to the essentials and now I have a morning routine I can stick to. (See the last tip)
Ideally I wake up at 5am, make my side of the bed, brush my teeth and drink hot lemon water while journaling and reading philosophy or mindset texts. I then begin writing content for my personal site and when the kids begin to stir around 6:15 I close things down and make their breakfast. Once they’re eating, our bathroom is usually freed up and I head in to do my morning skincare routine and then I get dressed. By 7am I am usually dressed and have had at least one glass of water. I’ll either put on my makeup or head down stairs to sit at the breakfast table with the kids before we all get our shoes on and walk to school.
When I return from the school run I continue my morning routine with my own breakfast, cleaning up the dining room and kitchen, starting a load of laundry and having a cup of coffee. Then I sit back down at my desk and either continue the work from earlier or dive into other tasks for myself or clients.
Saturdays the first part of the routine is the same and instead of heading to school we pack up for the farmers market. Sundays I don’t set an alarm and instead wake up naturally. (The kids know how to turn on cartoons by themselves)
FIVE SECOND RULE
No snooze button and no scrolling under the covers. When the alarm sounds turn it off, open your eyes wide and count 5-4-3-2-1 and lift that head off the pillow.
Laying in bed and letting the cortisol that naturally rushes through your system when you awake settle on your inbox or social media immediately puts you in a reactive state. This is a whole book by Mel Robbins and if you’re inclined to read it please do so. It boils down to having four seconds of courage to just do the dang thing.
So tomorrow, hop out of bed like a child on Christmas morning. Brush your teeth and move on to the next tip.
Cold water. Hot water. Room temp. With lemon. With apple cider vinegar. Whatever. Just drink at least 16 oz of water.
There are a multitude of reasons to drink water first thing in the morning. My favorite is that it helps boost brain power. Our brains are 75% water and there is a natural dehydration process that occurs as we sleep. Water in the morning refreshes your brain so you can bring your fullest capacity with you into the day ahead.
Another reason to reach for water, especially before coffee is that our body produces hormones to get us up and moving after sleep. When you add caffeine to the rush of those natural hormones you’re actually creating a caffeine resistance and you’ll “need” more to keep going all day.
By all means have a cup of coffee as part of your morning routine but try water first and then wait 45-120 minutes after waking up to pour your cup. See if you feel more boosted than if coffee is the first thing you reach for.
MAKE YOUR BED
I know Mom! If this tip is triggering I apologize 🙂
But Mom was right. Making your bed every morning helps to set the stage for the day. And then when you crawl back in at night you’re able to peel back the covers and slide in. Instead of fidgeting with the covers when all you want to do is get some shut eye.
Making your bed in the morning also signals to your brain that you’re not going to crawl back in! Straighten those covers, chop the pillows and start your day.
As with everything in life, consistency is key. Waking around the same time each morning (also going to bed around the same time each night) will help because you’re working with your body’s natural rhythm.
Some Moms wake up at 4am. Some at 7. The time itself isn’t the factor. You need to set a wake up time that works for you and stick to it.
Following the same set of steps in the morning also helps build the routine. You’ll get used to the pattern of starting your day and even on weekends and holidays you’ll find yourself yearning for your routine.
OK, SURE, BUT I HAVE KIDS – HOW DO I DO THIS WITH KIDS?
I get it. If you have an infant this might not be the season for a multistep morning routine. Pair baby’s morning feeding with your water intake. Tummy time for baby = journaling for you.
A toddler can also make a solitary morning routine tricky. Do what you can to wake up before they do, if only by 5 minutes, and hop out of bed, brush your teeth and drink your water. Then work in the rest of your routine while you help them get going.
Encourage your younger children to engage in quiet play while you start your day. Maybe that is paging through books, building with duplos or legos, or helping their baby doll get ready for the day. This teaches them to enjoy some solitude in the morning and hopefully allows you to attend to your morning routine as well.
As they grow up they need less assistance. Some need none at all! We have one kid who hops out of bed, gets dressed, brushes teeth and heads downstairs without any reminders. We have another who “noodles” and seems to completely forget what needs to get done every single morning.
On weekday mornings we have a NO TV before school rule. I occasionally set out a “morning invitation” for the kids. A toy or game on the coffee table for the kids to play with instead of getting lost in the basement. Dominoes, a 100 board, puzzles, coloring pages, candy land and letter beads are in the rotation with a four and six year old. The kids are invited to play with them however they choose while breakfast is being made and when they’re finished eating breakfast they continue to play.
This idea is a combination of ideas I’ve gathered from Other Goose Homeschooling and Days With Grey. The goal is to provide the kids with a stimulating activity that starts their brain up for the day.
And it reduces the number of “Mom, is breakfast ready?” inquiries.
Everyone’s routine is different. Everyone has different priorities. Everyone is in different phases of their life. Design your morning routine to best fit you! Starting your day with calm, confidence and clarity will lift your spirits and bolster you for the day ahead.
Let’s do this! Let’s becoming morning people!