Starting off on the right foot: ideal morning routines

Woman stretching in the window

Image by Free-Photos on Pixabay

 

Two years ago, I asked the question can a morning person be created or are they born that way? While I have not yet learned to love my alarm clock, I am happy to report I have developed a deep appreciation for the morning, thanks to my ideal morning routine.

Affirmations

The very first thing I do each morning—right after turning off the alarm clock and before getting out of bed—is repeat this mantra to myself, not just once, but as many times as it takes to start believing it.

I am full of gratitude and love for another day on this earth.

Later, while I’m showering, I repeat other affirmations. The exact affirmations change periodically based on where I am in my life’s journey. Here are some of my current choices:

  1. I love my strong, healthy body.
  2. I make my own choices, and there is always a choice.
  3. Happiness is a choice that I make.
  4. Today is a precious gift. I choose to treat it so.

Before you write off affirmations as wishful thinking or little white lies, remember words are powerful. The negative stories we tell ourselves often become self-fulfilling prophecies. Why not fight back against those negative stories that we so easily accept with positive ones that take a little longer to stick? Exercise for your brain.

Rehydration

Once I’m upright, one of the next things I do is drink a glass of water. After going hours without liquid, your body is dehydrated. From what I’ve read, starting your day with 8-16 ounces of water rehydrates you and aids digestion and metabolism. I’m no scientist or doctor, but it makes sense. I say it can’t hurt, and it might help. Drink up!

Essential Oils

After drinking that glass of water, I take a couple of deep breaths over my peppermint oil bottle and dab a small amount on the back of my neck. The scent of peppermint is refreshing and invigorating. It is said to help with clarity and alertness. And even if it doesn’t, it smells good, which improves my mood. Throughout the morning, I also diffuse essential oils—sometimes peppermint; other times eucalyptus, citrus, or a blend called Serenity.

Refueling body and mind

For me, this means savoring my first cup of coffee and eating a healthy breakfast while I write. That writing might be crafting posts for this blog, responding to your comments, or reading and commenting on others’ blog posts. I prefer to write in the morning to take advantage of the peace and quiet—both in my house and in my mind.

As for the eating, I grew up being told that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. More recently, fasting has become a popular trend. I won’t argue the merits of either in this post. Suffice it to say, I eat breakfast every morning. It’s part of making all of my senses happy to start the day.

Meditation and gentle stretch

Finally, after the refueling, I go down to my room, plug in the diffuser, sit on my cushion, and meditate for 10 minutes. Sometimes it’s silent meditation, sometime guided meditation using the Simple Habit app. Whichever I do that day, I finish with a gratitude prayer. This is my opportunity to feel and express deep gratitude to the Universe for all that I have. I say the words thank you and list whatever comes to mind. It might go something like this:

  1. Thank you for the air I am breathing.
  2. Thank you for my lungs, my heart, and all my other organs.
  3. Thank you for my senses that allow me to enjoy the world around me.
  4. Thank you for this cushion I’m sitting on.
  5. Thank you for my home.
  6. Thank you for my family.
  7. Thank you for the beautiful mountains.
  8. Thank you for the sunshine.
  9. Thank you for the delicious food I ate this morning.
  10. Thank you for the cow that gave the milk, for the farmer that cared for the cow, for the driver that delivered the milk, to the cashier who sold it to me.

You get the idea.

Following the formal meditation, I move into a gentle stretching routine timed with my breathing, which makes it feel like an extension of the meditation.

The benefits of regular meditation are well researched and documented, including stress reduction, improving attention span, enhancing self-awareness, decreasing blood pressure, improving sleep, even increasing kindness. For me, the stretching, helps wake up my body and ease me into the day.

The ideal morning routine

This morning routine requires me to get up about 60-75 minutes earlier than I would if I just got ready for work as quick as I could. This might sound counterintuitive for someone who is not naturally a “morning person,” but I have found the extra time to be well worth the sacrifice of getting up earlier. I feel happier and more productive going into the day, and that feeling carries through in everything I do after that.

Your ideal morning routine may look much different from mine, but if you don’t have a purposeful routine that works for you, I strongly encourage you to experiment until you find one that does. I am now of the belief that a morning person can be created. And not only that, but having a positive morning sets you up for having a positive day, which sets you up for a more positive life.

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” ~Annie Dillard

Transformation Challenge – Week 6

In order to create accountability for myself, I am giving a weekly update of my efforts and progress in the 8-week Transformation Challenge. If you are not interested in this portion of my blog, good news, only two more weeks. Please feel free to skip down to the Comments. I’d love to hear from you.

Workouts

I attended three Orangetheory classes this week. 

Orangetheory Fitness workouts

 

In addition, I rode the stationary bike once, completed a yoga session, and took two rest days.

Nutrition

Sunday was food prep day. I made kale/spinach/strawberry smoothies and crustless cauliflower quiche for breakfasts. (I’m starting to sound like a broken record. Any ideas for healthy breakfasts that can be made in advance?) For lunches, I made a quinoa edamame salad. 

Your turn

  1. Mornings–love em or hate em?
  2. Do you have a purposeful morning routine, or do you wing it?
  3. Any suggestions for healthy breakfasts that can be prepped in advance?
  4. What is your wellness goal this week?
  5. Share anything else you’d like to–any topic at all.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Shared on the GRAND Social and #MLSTL, and Blogger’s Pit Stop.

39 Comments

  1. Mornings-not my favorite time of day. I’ve never been a morning person. I only am when I have to be. My trick is to do lots of prep the night before because I know I won’t b fully functional when I first get up. My fitness goals right now involve getting outdoors for hikes and walks as often as possible. Usually this is twice a week.

    • I’m with you Leah. First thing in the morning is not my peak time. I also like to prep as much as possible the night before. Your fitness goals sound delightful. It’s still pretty cold here. I guess I could bundle up and get outside, but I’m holding out for warmer weather.

  2. Well done with your morning routine and Transformation challenge, Christie! I’ve always been a morning person, and do have a purposeful morning routine. I’m doing activities that I enjoy so I look forward to getting up and moving on each day. #MLSTL

    • Thank you Natalie. I’m actually really enjoying the challenge this time around. As far as mornings, I claim not to be a natural morning person, but the truth is I just don’t like the sudden jarring awake of the alarm and rushing to get ready. The trick for me is to get to bed early enough that I am fully rested by morning and to have a peaceful morning routine that I enjoy.

  3. Getting up a WHOLE hour earlier is pretty impressive Christie! I get up 1/2 an hour early on my work days so I can get some time on the Elliptical Machine/Torture Device. I don’t love it, but I always feel proud of myself when it’s done. I’m having some time away from work atm (deciding on my future!) and the morning sleep ins are going to be bliss – but I’ll still try to fit in a few of your suggestions – particularly the positive mantras to start my day right.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    • That is motivation Leanne and you should feel proud. The great thing about working out in the morning is you get to have that wonderful “I worked out” feeling all day. Best wishes for your “deciding-the-future” timeout. I’m inspired by the inner work you’ve done over the last couple years and really appreciate you sharing it with us through your blog. Thanks, as always, for hosting #MLSTL.

  4. Living in Scotland, March is when we are just coming out of the ‘darkness’ of winter. With the brighter mornings, I find it easier to wake up naturally about 7:30am, (I’m retired – no alarm clock for me!). My energy is returning after my winter hibernation mode! Like you, I also do daily affirmations, I find them really helpful.

  5. Hi, Christie! Your mornings sound sublime! I am an early morning person and pretty much have been since having children many years ago. I care for my elderly mother, so my day usually begins with that, but once her hired caregiver arrives at 8:30, the morning is mine, but the routine varies. (Guess that’s not a routine then!) I was very interested in your Transformation Challenge, as I also am an OTF client, and I participated in the challenge last year. Kudos for all your progress! I have a make-ahead breakfast I’ve used, but not sure you would consider it healthy as it involves a bagel, cream cheese, bacon, and egg. It sounds like you eat much more healthier than I do. I love your blog!

    • Hello Gale and welcome. Thanks for chiming in. I’m always interested to hear from other bloggers with shared interests–like OT. This is the second time I’ve done the challenge, and I’ve worked harder this time, so we’ll see if the results show in my follow-up scan. I must be hungry right now because the bagel sandwich sounds delish!

  6. Hi Christie,
    I don’t have a morning routine…things are bit fluid around here now that I do not need to rush out to a job each am.
    HOWEVER, I do know that I would benefit from one. I like your affirmation routine and think I could easily incorporate that. I’m with you about breakfast, too. Even the name says you are breaking your overnight fast. I always eat breakfast – oatmeal, fruit, flax, almond milk, coffee. Or a smoothie. I just feel better overall if I do.
    I’ve tried using the CALM app for meditation and it helps me a bit…I have trouble calming my mind-it tends to race all around. I actually wrote about this and how knitting (go figure!) is helping me be more present in the moment.

    • Good morning Nancy. Oatmeal with flax, fruit, and a couple of walnuts is one of my go-to breakfasts as well. I hadn’t thought about it before, but I can definitely see how knitting would be meditative–as long as it wasn’t too complicated! Of course, even complicated would bring you firmly into the present moment. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. It’s always good to hear from you.

  7. What a lovely way to start any day, Christie! We are quite similar in our routines. Here’s a tip I found fun: I use my phone as my alarm, and there’s a tone that sounds like birds chirping. I use it only for my waking up and, even though I don’t really need it anymore it brings me such pleasure that I wait for it. (The other reason I wait for it is that my dog thinks it’s time to go as soon as day breaks – she now knows I won’t move until the birds chirp!)

    • Thanks for the tip Agnes. I’ve been considering using my phone as an alarm, because there are more pleasant tones to choose from. The birds chirping sounds perfect. I’m going to give that a try. Isn’t it amazing how dogs figure those things out. At home our dog is always bugging us to get up early, even on the weekend, but when we go to our cabin, where we always sleep in a little later, he leaves us alone.

  8. What a beautiful way to start your mornings, Christie and a positive way to set up for your day. I just can’t seem to get into essential oils but I’ve read about them often on your blog so maybe I should keep investigating. Thank you for sharing your ideas to making our mornings more meaningful and positive and have a beautiful day. #MLSTL.

    • To be perfectly honest, Sue, I’m not sure I have noticed any health effects from using essential oils. I do love the way they smell, so I use them as part of making my environment–and therefore my mood–more pleasant.

  9. I love your morning routines and rituals… a perfect way to start your day. And, a big YES to drinking plenty of water. It’s always a good thing, but even more important as we age. Often if I’m feeling a little “off” or experience brain fog, I drink several big glasses of water and I feel better pretty quickly. I guess that’s one benefit of getting hot flashes: since I often am thirsty, I tend to drink enough water. 🙂

    • Way to look at the bright side of hot flashes Janis! Lucky for me, I like water, so most days it’s not hard for me to get enough, but previously I wasn’t starting with water until after breakfast. Now I jumpstart my consumption with a glass first thing when I get up.

  10. Hi Christie

    I’m retired and still get up at 6:30 each day. First thing, Morning Pages. I write for about an hour. I find the early mornings peaceful and I can slowly work into my day.

    Coffee, gotta have my coffee. Then the day can unfold as it wishes

    Mantras are for bedtime. I fall asleep reciting a mantra for the day.

    Laura

  11. Great morning rituals! Have you tried baked oatmeal? I haven’t but it is all the rage in some circles. Also – I often grab some cottage cheese with walnuts and a few cherry tomatoes when I’m in a hurry.

  12. Hi Christie, it’s great to read of your morning routines. I try to get up when I wake and start the day with water and a cup of tea. I also try to walk, cycle or run in the morning otherwise it sometimes doesn’t get done. #mlstl

    • I hear you, Debbie. I would much prefer to work out in the mornings, and I do so on the weekends, but weekday mornings are already full for me. As the next best thing, I change into my exercise clothes at work and go immediately into my workout for the day, so I don’t risk getting distracted.

  13. I love that you’re turning yourself into a morning person with such a soothing routine. Years ago I went from being a night owl to a morning person because I started writing morning pages. If I wanted to get them done before I got ready for work then I needed to get up earlier. It was a couple of rough months for me and my morning/evening pages but eventually I was able to become a 5 am person and complete the morning pages in the morning. With my husband’s new job, I’m actually a 4:30 am person…we’ll see how long that lasts for me.

  14. I have a morning routine I like. Typically I start with coffee and slowly waking up while reviewing email. Then I spend time writing morning pages and completing Bible study lessons. I walk the dog about a mile before beginning my day.

    I would love to add some yoga exercises to the mix – and I love your idea of including positive affirmations while slowly stretching my body.

    • That sounds like a lovely start to the day, Molly. I find it interesting that so many of us include writing as part of our morning rituals. Of course, we’re bloggers, so maybe that makes sense. I think you would like the affirmations and gentle stretching–maybe right after your morning walk. Enjoy!

  15. I wish I could do all of this in the mornings. But I am generally rushing. The one thing I do take time to do is the affirmations. I do that in my car and when I first arrive in the office. I like the idea of making the green smoothie the night before for 2 days. TFS with #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. It is my pleasure to co-host with you.

    • Don’t you find that affirmations are a great start to the day, Clearissa? I know what it’s like rushing through the morning and out the door. For me, I dreaded mornings so much, I had to do something different to get my days started in a more positive light. So far, this routine is working for me.

  16. That’s amazing Christie! You’re very dedicated and organized. I’m not a morning person. I’m a night owl and I stay up too late and then get up too late in the morning! You’ve inspired me to improve my morning routine!! Thank you for sharing and cohosting at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *