My focus over recent years has been to improve my overall bedtime routine as I’ve found that if I get to bed properly it allows me to form better sleep habits and wake up feeling energized and ready to tackle the day.
Here’s the Bedtime Routine I’ve put in place if you were curious – https://brianondrako.com/blog/benefits-of-a-bedtime-routine
However, in recent months I decided to get intentional about my mornings and evaluate how those were structured and what was working or not. I realized through the pandemic with not having to waste time driving into an office or dropping my son off at school allowed me to sleep in more. Definitely not a bad thing but it wasn’t working for what I needed in this next phase of my life.
***If you wanted to listen to an audio version of this and some more depth feel free to check out my One Mic Session on the Just Get Started Podcast here – Listen Now ***
What I found was that each day was very inconsistent as I’d wake up at varying times and I never had a set routine. I felt that I was getting through the morning with little accomplished especially important personal time for myself.
So, I decided to make a change. It wasn’t easy. Waking up earlier for me is always a chore but when I put it into the context of improving my overall health and wellness, it helped make it stick.
After some trial and error with various morning activities here’s what I’ve settled on that has worked well for me for the last 2 months.
- Wake up at 7 am – Hopefully without an alarm but the alarm is set if necessary.
- Make coffee – The smell of the coffee always wakes me up and this also helps have the coffee ready as I finish step 3.
- 10-20 minutes of Yoga – This is not to get in a strenuous workout but just enough to move the body and loosen these old bones up a bit. I feel relaxed but energized after completing this.
- I pour myself a cup of coffee and sit for 30-45 minutes and think. I don’t put pressure on myself at this time. Sometimes I just sit and ponder, sometimes I write a blog that pops in my head, sometimes I want to post a thought on social media. I don’t judge myself for how I am feeling that morning. Research suggests your most creative moments are the first couple hours after waking so I’ve tried to prioritize myself and my well-being over giving it to others that early.
I generally have been doing this Monday-Friday and occasionally on the weekends depending on planned activities. By 8:15-8:30 am I am ready to start tackling the day and already feel like I’ve gotten some things accomplished which motivates me even more.
There are 4 main learnings from doing this Morning Routine: Intention, Accomplishment, Movement, Creativity
Intention: I am making a point to commit to something every day, to start the day with this intention allows me to get out of bed and work toward something.
Accomplishment: Little wins add up. Whether it is the act of getting out of bed, completing yoga, or other things I might do, that accomplishment gives me the momentum to excel the rest of the day.
Movement: I’m getting older and flexibility and pliability are important to me. When I move I feel energized. although I don’t like doing big workouts this early, yoga and stretching are great ways to get my body moving and waking up my brain. Plus, it’s short enough to be able to commit to it every day.
Creativity: When I can get moving and let my brain wake up a bit I find I am super creative. The momentum I’ve built in the time prior to sitting and thinking and the energy flowing through my body gives me good vibes and the “juices start flowing” much more easily.
There is no silver bullet to this stuff. We have to try and test what works for us and be happy with how we want to structure our day. If we feel we are missing something or could be doing things that make us feel better it’d be advantageous to explore that and try it for a week. See how your body responds. Don’t feel like you have to make some long-term goals for yourself. Try it out for a bit, tweak it, and make it work for you. Certainly, there may be some uncomfortable moments as you try to reach outside of the status quo and be open to these new feelings and what they can do for you.
I’ve discovered that routines are one of the building blocks to happiness because it wipes away a lot of uncertainty in our lives. Whether it is morning, bedtime routine, or something else, prioritize yourself and your well-being and you’ll be able to tackle the world and bring your most positive and energized self to it each and every day.