I am a morning person. Meaning, I love mornings and everything they represent — a new beginning, another day alive, soft lighting, a refreshed feeling from getting enough sleep (sometimes), coffee (always).
But that does not necessarily mean I take advantage of the mornings like I should. Most days, I’m up when my 2-year old gets up, normally around 7 a.m. and I jump right into our family morning routine — making breakfast, packing lunches, getting the kid dressed, throwing clothes on, out the door. It’s great when things work like clockwork but I am always left feeling a little bit rushed and a lot caffeine-buzzed. What about my morning routine, when I take a few minutes before dealing with anyone else, to actually wake up, breathe and focus on the day at hand?
We’ve all read the studies. The most productive and successful people have solid morning routines. Most of them are up by 5 a.m., free-write for 30 minutes, get their workout in by 6 and are showered, dressed and fed by 7, off to start their work day before most people have hit their snooze button. But what if I don’t want to get up two hours earlier in order to be successful and productive? What if I just wanted to sacrifice only 15-minutes of precious sleep in order to improve my day?
I started doing research to see what I could find out about quick morning routines that worked for busy people like me who really loved their sleep. I found a multitude of information and ideas that all seemed effective. Energizing yoga routines, spa-like shower habits, daily meditation prompts.
I wanted to do it all! But I quickly realized trying to fit everything in was not only unrealistic, but it was starting to stress me out more than inspire daily greatness. This was completely against the point of the morning routine in the first place. So, I decided to take a step back and think about what kind of "waker" I was, meaning how I felt immediately when I woke up in the morning and what my body and mind needed most to help me start the day right.
Discovering what kind of waker you are is a great first step to figuring out your ideal 15-minute morning routine that works for you and only you. I realized my body liked it when I took a minute or so to just sit up in bed and breathe deeply. This is normally when I set my general intentions for the day — "I will be patient with toddler tantrums."
Then I take about two minutes to stand up and stretch. I normally do shorthand poses I learned in hatha flow classes to get the blood moving. After that, it's time for what I have generically deemed "me time." I love a nice ritual, so every morning I get up and light a favorite candle, spritz rose water on my face (this one is my go-to), start the coffee pot and grab my pen and journal for about 10 minutes of writing. I'm a big pen to paper fan with an unhealthy obsession with cute journals. Target's selection is always solid but check out Etsy if you want something unique, like these beauties.
I break up my writing into three different categories. Something I saw over and over again when reading about successful people was that they take the time every morning to send up gratitude, acknowledging what they are grateful for, whether it's a tiny detail or something bigger. I take a minute or so to write out what I'm feeling thankful for that morning, then move on to a free write. Sometimes this is just scribbling words for a continuous five minutes or sometimes it brainstorming ideas for books, businesses or blog entries.
Then I spend the last few minutes writing my to-do list for the day. This makes me feel organized and prepares me mentally for what I would like to accomplish for that day. I have a separate little notebook for this list that I keep in my purse because nothing feels better than crossing off a list with a big, fat highlighter.
My personalized morning routine clears my head and prepares me for the day so that when my daughter wakes up demanding waffles, I can make them with a smile. The key is that I tailored my morning routine to fit me and what my mind and body needed most in the mornings. I encourage you to do the same. Maybe instead of stretches and journaling, you are a walk the block then smoothie kind of woman. Go get it! Just make sure it is a ritual that makes you feel refreshed, clear and ready to take on the day.
Kate Mason is a certified life coach, specializing in the beautiful mess that is motherhood. You can check out her specialized coaching program, MOTHERLOADED, and get more information about Kate at KateMasonCoaching.com.
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