Creating a Morning Routine for a Healthy Day
We’ve all been there: we somehow manage to sleep through our alarm (and then the two back up alarms we’ve set), are crazy rushed to get out the door, forget our coffee, and spill the yogurt we are trying to shovel into our mouths down the front of our shirt… and then we get stuck in traffic. Mornings that are rushed and chaotic are no fun, and set the wrong hectic tone for the rest of the day.
Establishing a balanced, organized, and healthy morning routine can make all the difference in the world when trying to establish some order and structure to your day. Plus, if you plan things well enough, you will surprise yourself at how productive you can be in those first few hours after rising.
The Night Before
A great morning routine starts the night before. For those of us who are not planners by nature, this might take some time getting used to. But getting a few things together and organized the night before means you have less details to think and worry about when you first wake up and are groggy. You’ll also have less excuses to wake up and be productive because you have already prepared yourself to be productive.
Start by laying out clothes for the next day. For most of us, this looks like figuring out two different outfits: one for exercise and one for work, school, or just to wear the rest of the day. I am an early morning gym-goer, so I have to lay out my exercise clothes but I pack my work clothes in my gym bag to change into after showering. Wherever you plan to shower and get ready is fine, just make sure you’ve got your clothes ready.
The next things to do the night before are assemble, pack, and prep any meals and snacks you will need throughout the day. Go ahead and save yourself even more steps in the morning by tossing non-perishables right into your bag/purse/briefcase/ or even into your car. I usually leave immediately for the gym in the morning, so my perishable and refrigerated items sometimes sit in my car for a few hours before work. When that is the case, I simply put them all into a cooler in the morning, and tote the cooler out to my car.
And don’t forget the coffee! Do yourself a favor and invest in a coffee machine that you can prep the night before and then set to turn on at a specific hour so that your coffee is brewed and hot right when your feet hit the floor.
The final thing is to set your alarm. Give yourself enough time go get everything done – but not TOO much time so that you feel you can dilly-dally in the morning. This usually means setting that alarm three or four hours total before you have to be into work. (This is also completely depends on how much time YOU need for each task you plan to complete the next morning.)
The Morning Routine
After a good night’s rest, the alarm goes off and it’s time to start that healthy morning routine! First things first – get up. Sometimes this can be HARD. If you use an alarm on your phone to wake you up, try putting the phone across the room before you go to bed so that you have to get up and walk across your room to turn off the alarm in the morning. Or get into the robotic habit of turning on the light first thing to help wake you up.
After you’ve brushed your teeth, gotten dressed (in whatever clothes you plan to wear for your next task), and splashed some water on your face, grab that already-piping hot cup of joe that’s been conveniently brewed from you (from last night’s prep work) and slowly ease into a productive mindset. The caffeine mixed with a personal form of thoughtful reflection really helps mentally prepare you for any hard things that might come up later on. This may be ten minutes, or it may be an hour. Whatever you feel like you have time for and whatever amount of time you need to mentally prepare yourself.
For some, this might be 30 minutes of yoga or stretching, quiet meditation, prayer, or journaling or reading. I find that quieting my mind, reflecting on my blessings, and preparing myself to find the courage and preparedness to take on the day, especially those taxing projects at work, helps me feel more confident in my abilities as a worker, daughter, wife, and friend. This is also the time to enjoy slow, nourishing breakfast as well to fuel you for your next task: exercise.
Upon grabbing your refrigerated breakfast, lunch, and snack items, load them into your cooler, grab your gym bag and head out. You might also prefer to run outside or have a home gym – to which you save yourself even more time and headache!.At this point, you’ve had some caffeine and some time to wake up and center yourself so you’re good and ready for a solid sweat session.
After you hit it hard, you are likely down to the last hour or so before you have to be at work. So it’s time to hit the showers and get dressed and ready. And just like that, you’ve accomplished more before 8am than most people do in half a day!
Of course, this is just an example of one healthy morning routine. If you have young children, this probably won’t work as well for you. But you can use this task-oriented model to figure out an ordered system and schedule that does work for you, your family, and your lifestyle.
It all comes down to first figuring out what you want and need to accomplish in the morning, and then knowing yourself well enough to know what you will stick to and what’s not as much of a priority to you. As long as you pick out a few things you can get done the night before, and then write out a very specific, timed schedule for your morning, things will go smoothly and you’ll probably surprise yourself with how much you can get done in the mornings.