The power of a morning routine

 

Tell me if you relate to this picture…

Rolling out of bed at the last possible minute.

Rushing to get ready for work and your kids off to school.

Wolfing down breakfast on the go and barely even tasting it.

Hopping into your car just in time to get to work (IF you hit all the green lights).

Does this sound familiar?

Mornings like this set you up for a stressful day, because you’ve got stress hormones coursing through your body before you even leave the house!

Can you imagine a better way?

Rolling out of bed far earlier than you “need” to, just to have time for you.

Getting up before anyone else in the house to allow for time to settle into your day and get your head on straight.

When your family members get up, you’re in a calm, relaxed, joyful state of mind and the morning goes so much more smoothly.

When you get to work, you feel energized, centered and ready to start your day.

This is the power of a morning routine.

Morning routines are non-negotiable rituals that you choose to engage in every morning as a form of self-care. They can have different qualities, but they have 3 key components.

1. A meditation practice.I talk about meditation a lot because it’s so helpful in so many ways. You’ll be shocked at how much more calm and at peace you begin to feel when you meditate on a regular basis.

As a starting place, I recommend just 5 minutes of meditation. Just breathe in and out and focus on your breath. If your mind wanders (and it will!), just gently redirect your attention to your breathing again. You may have to do this 100 times and that’s OK. It will get easier.

Meditation trains your mind that you don’t have to chase after every thought that pops in. It helps your body to become more accustomed to a relaxed, calm state and that state can become your default mode of being.  It also helps lower blood pressure, improves the quality of your sleep, reduces anxiety and depression, lowers stress hormones such as cortisol, improves memory and concentration. I could go on and on!

Check out this link for a free guided meditation that I made as my gift to you. It’s only 9 minutes long, but highly effective!

2. A journaling practice. There are lots of different methods for journaling, but when you use it in a morning routine, I recommend a gratitude journal. The simplest form would be to have a place where you write down 3 things you’re grateful for. You can do this on your computer, your Ipad, your phone, or my favorite…an old school pen and paper journal.

A gratitude journaling practice helps you to get in the mode of appreciation in the morning, which sets you up for a wonderful start to the day. Not only does it feel good, but research shows that focusing on what we’re grateful for helps improve the quality of our health and emotional well-being.

When you write the 3 things you’re grateful for, you have a few guidelines.

One is that there’s no repeating. It’s usually really easy to find things in the first week. But once you’ve used up the easy ones, you’ll have to stretch to think about what to write. And do you know what this makes you do? It makes you pay attention to wonderful things in your life so you have items to add to your journal the next day. You’ll likely begin to notice that you’re far more aware of good things in your life by doing this journaling.

Another guideline is to choose one thing per day to write about that is really pretty basic, but amazing at the same time. For example, the beautiful sky. The look of the snow in the morning. The softness of your pillow. This helps you become aware of the little, wonderful things that we just naturally overlook.

3. An exercise practice.I know what you’re thinking. Jennie, I don’t have time to work out every morning! But here’s the thing. I’m not suggesting you hop in the car and head to the gym every morning. I’m suggesting that you spend a minimum 5 minutes moving your body in some way after you do the journaling.

For most people, the exercise component means a little bit of stretching. Do you have a favorite stretch? One that feels so good whenever you do it? Just do some of that for about 5 minutes. If you want something else, put some headphones on and dance it out to your favorite music. Do a few sets of 10 squats or 10 jumping jacks.  Work your abs. Whatever feels good to you. It’s only 5 minutes, so you can do whatever you want for those 5.

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So what do you think? Can you set an intention to get up 15 minutes earlier to do this routine? I recommend deciding on a specific spot where you’ll do the routine. Make it cozy with a blanket. Turn on your fireplace if you have one. Brew some coffee or tea. Make it special and it will become your favorite time of the day.

Are you interested to know my morning routine? Just as a warning, mine is pretty elaborate. I love it so much that I keep adding items on, so don’t get overwhelmed by what I do. Start simple and add gradually.

So here is my morning routine:

1. I roll out of bed, brush my teeth and go down to the kitchen. I juice close to a full bunch of celery, which gives me about 12 oz of celery juice. I’m a huge fan of “The Medical Medium” and his celery juice movement. Since starting to juice celery daily, I haven’t been sick once and I have so much energy! While I make the juice and drink it, I listen to an inspirational podcast. I get ready with a blanket, the pretty box I keep my journals in, my phone and my headphones and get comfortable in the spot where I do my morning routine.

2. Then I do a meditation. I have lots of different meditations on my phone, so I might use one of these. I might just do a mantra meditation with a mantra that was given to me by a meditation teacher for my personal use (you can use “OM” as your mantra if you want this method). I usually meditate for 10 to 15 minutes. I sometimes use essential oils while I meditate as well. My favorites are DoTerra oils and I have a little roller ball recipe that I rub into my wrists (clary sage is a great oil for meditation).

3. After meditation, I get a cup of coffee and come back to start journaling. I have a gratitude journal and a manifestation journal. For gratitude journaling, I use “The Five Minute Journal.” A manifestation journal is a journal that you use to write about what you want to experience in your life. I write about my goals, how I want to treat others, what I want to feel like and how to stay aligned with my word for the year (as I’ve mentioned before, my word for the year is “intentional”). This journaling looks different every day, but I always focus on what I want my life to look like in some way and how I can be a positive influence for others.

4. I pick a card from the “Work Your Light Oracle Card Deck” by Rebecca Campbell and reflect on the message from it. I have both the physical cards and the app. I write the message from the card in the “Daily Affirmations” line from my Five Minute Journal. (An affirmation is an inspirational statement that you say to yourself to describe how you want to be. For instance, “I am an inspiration to everyone around me with my kindness and positivity.”)

5. Now I’m done my meditation and journaling and I go to the spot where I work out. Now don’t laugh…do you remember Tony Little, the muscular guy with the glider machine from the 1990s? I bought one of those machines years ago and loved it! I’ve dragged it from city to city to city as I’ve moved around Canada. Ok, to be honest, my husband has dragged it around! So I get my Tony Little Gazelle and do 20 minutes of cardio on there. While I’m working out, I usually watch a video of an online course I’ve signed up for or listen to an inspirational podcast. I break up the cardio with a few sets of strengthening exercises. At the end I do some stretching. Easy peasy. In the summer, I often run outside as part of my exercise in the morning.

At this point, it’s 6:30 AM and it’s time to start the rest of my day. I feel focused, refreshed and in a great state of mind.

Well, I’ve definitely told you a lot about me! More than I planned to when I sat down to write this blog post!

Now I’d love to hear from you. Are you planning to start a morning routine? Do you have any questions about mine? Comment below and remember, I read every one!

 

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2 Comments

  • Amanda says:

    Hello Jennie,

    First of all, Celery juice?!

    I have had a horrible head cold all weekend so getting up this morning was daunting to say the least. I pushed the clock to the last second.

    On a normal day however I do have a routine but none of it is necessarily for myself. I wake up before my daughter, start the kettle to make a coffee, get myself dressed and do my hair and make up and then wake my 4yr old daughter up and start her own routine. She is my main focus in the morning really.

    I feel your morning routine has given me some ideas of what I can do for myself. Even if I start with adding one thing a week to see how it goes.

    Thank you for this post. I don’t feel so alone in the chaos.

    Amanda

    • Dr. Jennie Ward says:

      I know that celery juice doesn’t sound too appealing, but I can tell you it’s actually pretty good! Morning routines can be pretty tricky with little ones and mine is definitely easier now that my kids are a bit older. I suggest just starting with getting up 9 minutes earlier and do the guided meditation in bed. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the post!

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