Is morning your least favorite time of the day? Do you often feel completely frazzled and worn out by the time you race out the door? Developing a morning routine can help make your morning less stressful and more productive. If you want to create a morning routine that will help you start your day successfully, here are seven habits you may want to incorporate into that morning routine.
Lose the snooze
Get out of bed when the alarm goes off. Having an alarm clock go off every 7 or 9 minutes isn’t helping you get any more rest—and certainly not quality rest. Here are some of the downsides of using the snooze button. Set the alarm for the time you actually need to get out of bed and then get out when it goes off. To break the snooze habit, put the clock out of reach. If you have to actually get out of bed to turn it off, you’re more likely to stay out of bed.
Give Yourself Enough Time to Get Ready
Right along with that snooze thing, figure out how much time you need to get yourself—and everyone else—out the door in the morning and then set your alarm for that plus a little time cushion (the smaller your kids—and the more of them you have, the more of a cushion you need). How much of a time cushion I will leave up to you. But wouldn’t your day go more smoothly if you didn’t feel like every morning was a tornado getting out the door?
Schedule time for physical activity. Even 10 or 15 minutes of some kind of physical activity will help get you going. It doesn’t have to be heavy-duty exertion. Yoga or other stretching is a great way to get your body fully awake as you start your day. I am no yoga expert, but I did find this 10-minute morning yoga routine that even I, a confirmed klutz, can handle in the mornings.
Give Yourself a Boost
No, not the caffeinated kind. Now that you’ve gotten your body moving, help your mind to awaken pleasantly and give yourself a positive start. Allow time in your morning for a little meditation, prayer, uplifting reading, whether you’re a scripture reader or another book with uplifting messages, snuggling with the kids or the dog, whatever will help you to feel less stressed and start your day in the right frame of mind. I often listen to one of my favorite motivational or business podcasts while I get ready in the morning. It’s kind of multi-tasking and it gets my thought process moving toward productivity and creativity to start my day off right.
Don’t Touch that TV
Leave the TV off in the morning. If you have littles you’ve got to get out the door, TV can be the kiss of death. Not having to drag them—or you—away from the TV to get going will decrease your stress exponentially. Ditto for the computer/tablet/smart phone. If it’s a distraction, leave it alone. You have more important things to do and the email will still be there when you get to the office. And really, do you need to start your day off with bad news?
I understand some people need to check in before they leave the house to update early morning appointments, etc., so if you’re one of those, then you need to discipline yourself. Check the essentials and leave the rest for later.
Eat Something Healthy
Again, coffee is NOT breakfast. Whether it’s a grab-and-go (here’s a popular easy breakfast at our house) or a sit-down breakfast, opt for something real—and preferably—healthy to start your day off right. Smoothies are a breakfast favorite at our house. Depending on how much time I have in the morning, it may be one of these delicious ready-made smoothies or I might get ambitious and make green smoothies for everyone in my blender. You’ll be able to think more clearly, be less crabby and be a lot more productive if you’re not running on fumes.
Get Ready the Night Before
Are you a brown bagger? How about your kids? Have everyone make lunches the night before—perhaps while you’re in the kitchen making dinner or cleaning up from it. If everyone’s lunches are prepped and lined up in the fridge, that’s one HUGE chore off your morning list.
Review your schedule for the next day. Organize and assemble whatever it is you need for work, school or whatever you’re doing. Lay out everyone’s clothing. It’s rare that the weather forecast changes dramatically between dinner and breakfast (note—I said FORECAST, not weather; I live in Colorado where the weather can change dramatically between dinner and dessert, but the forecast usually gets it pretty close), and for the rare times it does, you can always make a change when you’re dressing. Knowing it’s all done means one less thing to think about in the morning—and maybe one less morning battle with your kids.
I can’t promise you stress-free mornings, especially if you’re a parent (I have adult children at home and I have to admit that some days I breathe a big sigh of relief when they’re out the door). However, if you’ll start implementing even a couple of these habits into your morning routine, you will start your day more successfully. And how you start your day often sets the tone for your whole day. So here’s to starting your morning successfully to have a less-stressed and more successful day.
How do you start your day? I’d love to hear from you below.