My morning routine overhaul

5 little adjustments have been my game-changer

Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

The covers pulled over my head as I hear stirring in the kitchen. “It can’t possibly be morning,” as I roll over to check the time.

Yeap it’s time to get up and start the drill. The drill to my head more like it….

No mystery that my mental health somewhat declines in these cooler months making it all the much harder to peel the quilt back and get the motor running. Work was a drain train, vital to pay the bills but took more from my soul than nurtured it. Solo-parenting: super-rewarding but goddamn challenging at times.

I reach for my phone scrolling Instagram, checking my work emails, procrastination at the highest level. Here I am burning through the most productive hours of the day scrolling through pictures of other people’s glamorous lifestyles that look nothing like mine. It is all just mental junk food.

I stumble down stairs to start making lunches and getting myself half decent to step out the door, into the work day ahead. My morning routine was really setting the tone for my day. Uninspired — Stagnant — Heavy.

It took three different voices at three different moments in my life to really admit to myself that my morning routine was perhaps a contributing factor to poor mental hygiene.

“You need to get out of bed. It’s making things worse” were along the lines of what my partner said to me. My initial reaction went a bit like “Who do you think you are? You don’t know how hard it is to get myself up when I feel such little joy in life!!” and a cascade of tears and emotions, knowing how much the truth hurt.

5–4–3–2–1 Mel Robbins 5 Second rule challenged me one morning as I mindlessly scrolled Instagram before facing the day. Sorry Mel, but I continued to lay there for another 10 minutes.

It did occur to me that my circumstances and mood weren’t going to magically change. My thoughts and my actions needed to — so to start the process I needed to stop the procrastination in its tracks and just get up.

OK, so now I was up, now what? I stumbled accidentally across Tim Ferriss tried and true Morning routine based on his research on how successful people start their day. I took many of his ideas, along with some of my own and slotted them into my new morning routine:

  1. Make the Bed. I could write an entire article on this (maybe I will in the future) but taking a couple of minutes to straighten the bed helped me to feel a sense of order and started the tone of ‘kicking goals’ throughout the day
  2. Meditation 10–20 minutes: By focusing on my breath and being in the moment, I felt like I could be active as opposed to ‘reactive’ to my day. I could live consciously.
  3. Filling in my journal with 3 things I am grateful for today, 3 things I would like to achieve today and 3 positive affirmations. I also planned my workouts for the day and my eating for the day. Some mornings I will include my ‘Idea lab’. I like to write a new idea every day to spark my creative juices
  4. Sometimes breakfast, sometimes fasting
  5. Treasured time around the table for breakfast: a precious moment with my children before they started their day as we focused on what our days would bring.
Ana Tavares on Unsplash

So, I confess I haven’t been 100% perfect. I have reached for my phone more than I care to admit (next habit to cull).

I am proud to say my bed has been made every day, and it feels good! My journal has been full and I have felt more productivity than before. Some items get ticked off my list and other items get carried over to the following day. And I am ok with that.

I am converted. A morning routine is a game-changer.