Craft a morning routine you can stick with

I somehow grew up as a morning person. Usually getting up to that first alarm. Maybe a morning swim or run even. In high school, I had all the energy in the world. In college I had some of that energy left, but mostly was able to keep my morning energy by starting my day around 9.

Now in the working world, it has ruthlessly abandoned me. My partner is a night-owl, I an early bird.

I love staying up late to be with him but this new habit has crashed down hard on maintaining my morning routine. For awhile, I was running to the shower and then to my coffee cup before heading into work.

Eventually I realized this wasn't working. I'd be frazzled at work, knowing my personal life was far from under control (hello to my type A people). All of a sudden, I was the employee trying to manage their personal life while on the job. A role no one really wants to find themselves in.

I wasn't feeling peace of mind at work because I wasn't putting aside time to invest in myself.

So to solve for this, I came up with a list of morning tasks I felt would help me live my best life. For each of these tasks, I would also take a step back and think about how it impacted me.

Example time: I tried to study French in the morning before going to work. I thought this made perfect sense, except that I would wake up and start reading French and then feel snooze-city... and you already know what happens. I fall back asleep and wake up sprinting to work. So safe to say, French did not make my morning routine list.

Once I came up with my list of things (keep going for the list) that kept me awake and prepared me to start the day, I realized I actually had to do the dang thing.

Discipline + Grace.

My philosophy on morning routines is the same as my philosophy on life in general. Discipline and grace. The two should be so balanced that they feel one in the same.

Here's our motto: I am going to strive to be disciplined to accomplish my dreams and be able to live out my best life while also being extremely kind to myself and those around me. After all, it's just life. And at the same time, it's your dang life we are talking about! Grace + Discipline + Discipline + Grace.

If I wake up and I know today's not the day, I may still get up and begin my morning routine, but if I know my body needs more rest, then you can bet I'm going to lay back down and show myself a little self love. To the same point, if I am busy deep into my yoga practice and my partner wakes up and wants to go on a walk, you can also bet that I'm going on that walk. Know yourself and your priorities so deeply that decisions like this aren't hard to make at all. Trust your body to tell you what it can handle.

So, morning routines = discipline + grace. Here's mine:

  • Wake up (2 alarms, 10 mins apart) -- this gives me time to snuggle my boys a bit

  • Take care of my cat, wash my face & brush my teeth

  • Drink water & herbal tea -- pass on the coffee for a couple hours

  • Breathing practice -- pranayama for my fellow yogis

  • Gratitude practice & journal

  • Move my body -- yoga, walk, stretch, run or swim

  • Shower, breakfast & well-earned coffee

I started working on my morning routine by simply aiming for the same alarm time each day. If you struggle with alarms, I suggest a cat with a known meal time. Now that my cat is on my schedule, he is my number one accountability partner.

I give myself ten mins to lay in bed, tell myself positive things and enjoy the cozy feelings. On the weekends, this lasts way more than ten minutes and can be the best part of my Sunday.

Water, tea & breathing. Drinking water and herbal tea while practicing my breathing helps to wake me up. This can look different based on how I feel day-to-day but I always try to hit at least a few minutes of breathing practice in. At most, I'm spending 30 minutes breathing (that's seriously a good day). Breathing practices light up your mind and your metabolism. Spend some time to research the breathing practices in yoga (post to come!).

Gratitude practice & journal. I write in my journal pretty sporadically. I'm one of those people who can't sleep if I have something in my mind that needs written down. Sometimes this is in the morning, but not always, really not even usually. What I do care about is gratitude practice. I actually care so much about this that there will definitely be a post to highlight the benefits of this in its necessary spotlight. If I miss every other aspect of my morning routine, I'm still striving to do this.

Move my body. This one is a 0 to 60 minutes bucket. I definitely don't always do this. But I do love gentle movements in my mornings so I aim for at least a bit of stretching. Plus, nothing wakes me up more than a little time outdoors.

Please leave your comments about your morning routine and what works for you below!