Embracing a Morning Routine

There are two things I can tell you about mornings: yes, they're hard, but there is hope.

Allow me to set the scene for you. My eyes are barely open before I'm reaching for my phone in order to make sure nothing incredibly important has happened in the online world since I fell asleep seven hours ago (eight on a good night), and my mind is already running a mile a minute with everything I need to do that day. I'm already stressed, I'm  dreading those few tasks I really don't want to do but know I have to get done today, and just generally feeling overwhelmed by life in general.

Everything's rushed, and because I know I won't be able to fit in a workout first thing, or make a decent breakfast like I know I "should", or bother actually put together an outfit I'm excited to be wearing, I've practically already given up before my feet hit the cold floor.

Sound familiar?

I made a promise to myself recently to change that. To identify what I could do in the morning that would leave me feeling inspired and ready to tackle the day instead of dreading the never-ending to do list.

And instead of coming up with an elaborate "dream morning" routine that might be a bit of stretch to realistically pull off, I decided to start small, to embrace a few small morning routines, one at a time.

For me, that means first of all challenging myself to avoid my phone and computer until I'm ready to actually start my workday, as I find there's an instant feeling of anxiety and expectation as soon as you dive into the digital world. I've been trying to distance my myself and lessen my dependency on technology in general, so this felt like a good practice to put in place.

Coffee or tea is a pretty integral part of every morning, and a simple breakfast is a staple. In the winter I tend to opt for a hearty bowl of oatmeal, and recently I've been topping it with a dash of Kitten and the Bear jam, which never ceases to delight my taste buds. It's all about those simple pleasures.

And then this is where the big change happens, because usually once I have my coffee mug and bowl in hand, I would head straight into the office to tackle my inbox. But instead, I now settle in at the kitchen table, set my alarm for 30 minutes and read. I've made my way through Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and just finished The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown, which gives you a sense of my reading material of choice during this morning routine. And both of which, by the way, I would highly recommend. My aim is to jumpstart my mind and inspire creativity, so that once the timer goes off and I'm fully caffeinated, I'm feeling inspired and prepared for my day.

It's been game changing. I still have a ways to go and I'm learning how essential it is to carve out that time in the morning and protect it, no matter what else is going on in your life, but it's made a huge difference in how I start my day and my mindset going into it. And it means I'm finally making my way through the list of books that I've jotted down over the past year. So I think this is probably just the beginning of establishing new routines.

I'm curious, do you have any morning routines that you've established along the way?