What’s your morning routine?
Because from all the content I read, watch and listen to it’s not long before this topic pops up in my feed, is talked about in a video or asked in an interview.
It seems to be an obsession, but it’s a good obsession to have because having a morning routine can really benefit your mental, physical and emotional health.
I fucking love early mornings because it’s when I get my morning routine done that gets me prepped and ready for the day.
THE BENEFITS OF EARLY MORNINGS
Most of us have two slots in the day when we can look after do our mind and body practices. Before and after work.
I’ve tried going to the gym, doing my meditation or a variety of other practices in the evening.
But I’m worn out at the end of the day, so motivating myself to do these things in the evening never worked.
So for me there was only ever one option, the morning.
And over the last 10 years my routine gravitated towards early mornings. I’m talking 430am – 530am.
And I have to say that shifting to early mornings was a massive help in me becoming a healthier and happier person.
Because by starting my mornings early, I would often have a few hours to myself to do the self care work that keeps me functioning at my best before I headed off to my stressful job.
So by the time I arrived at work my mind and body felt great and I was primed and ready to take on the days challenges.
Making the time to devote this level of self-care helped me to reduce my stress levels, better manage my emotions and improve my productivity and relationships.
As well as improving my energy levels, self-confidence and mental resilience.
And while I have some specific practices that I do daily or regularly, I prefer to think about my early mornings as being about mind and movement rather than specific practices.
EARLY MORNINGS FOR MIND AND MOVEMENT
How I see it is that we have two incredible tools at our disposal to live our lives.
The first is our mind.
And the second is our body.
So by getting up early in the morning I give myself time to improve these tools that allow me to not only perform the basic tasks of being human.
But that make me capable of tackling the more challenging aspects of daily life, like excelling at work, coping with stress and navigating emotional difficulties, so I could handle them with more calm, focus and inner strength.
One of the reasons for me to conceptualize my mornings as mind and movement rather than focusing on doing the specifics is for a variety of reasons.
1) I worked as a freelancer (sometimes doing 4-6 jobs a year) so the location of my work and the start time would vary meaning sometimes there wouldn’t be enough time to do my ideal practices
2) I’m a big fan of mixing things up because it keeps things fresh, and there are lots of different tools and practices that can benefit your mind and body. And there’s no way I can fit all of them in to a morning routine.
3) Some days it’s about using the appropriate tool for the time you have or the mood you’re in.
You might wake up and not feel like doing that specific thing you usually do. So you go to your toolbox of mind and movement practices and pick the one’s that feel right for you.
So whether you have to be at work earlier than most or you have kids that need your attention at 6am before you go to work.
When think of your routine in this way, rather than the specifics, it means you can adapt to your circumstances.
So for me if I needed to be at work for 7am it could be something as simple as 5 minutes of meditation and a 20-minute walk. I would just do something.
And this is especially helpful when your morning time is limited.
So early mornings allow me to do something.
MAKE TIME YOUR FRIEND WITH EARLY MORNINGS
Not having kids does help because it means I can make the mornings all about me.
But even if you don’t have kids, you might have a job that starts at 7am.
And for me, I sometimes had to start filming at 7am so I had much less time available for the morning routine.
But rather than focusing on the time I didn’t have.
I would think about the time I did have.
Choosing to work with whatever time I had.
So instead of doing a 60 or 90 minute workout, I’d do 20 minutes instead. Maybe a short run or even just a walk.
And if I didn’t have time to do a 20 minute meditation, which is the minimum I like to do.
I’d sit and meditate for a few minutes at home or on my morning commute to work, whether that was on the bus, the train or the back of a colleagues car.
I’m too busy
For many of us in this hyper connected 24/7 society we have lives where our schedules seem to get more and more packed.
Mine certainly was, because I had a job where working 60-80 hour weeks was standard plus a few hours of commuting on top.
So I know what it’s like to be ‘busy’, to have next to no time for anything and I’d often use phrases like.
I don’t have the time…
I’m too busy…
Making time the enemy, because I saw time as a resource I didn’t have enough of, as I’m sure you can relate to.
But time is what we choose to make of it.
And all it takes is a shift in perception from looking at time like an enemy. Something we fight against.
To treating it like a friend. Something we work with rather than against.
Because if something is important to you, you’ll often find the time for it because you make it a priority.
So whether you’re working 8 hours day or 16 hours day.
Whether you have kids or not.
Making time your friend gets you to start thinking about what you can do, rather than what you can’t do.
And that’s why early mornings can be pivotal in shaping your day and your life, because by waking up a lot earlier than most you create the opportunity to improve the two most important tools you have to navigate your life.
Your mind and your body.
THE CHALLENGE OF EARLY MORNINGS
At first, waking up early can be quite challenging.
When I first started waking up early it was pretty unpleasant. Setting my alarm for 5am gave me a grumpy face 🙁
But I chose NOT to hit that snooze button, because I knew with time I would get used to it.
And from my experience it doesn’t take the body too long to adapt to whatever you’re asking it to do. Maybe a few weeks at most.
And one of the best ways I used to help me get over the hump of the early alarm was to think about how much better I would feel if I had enough time to do my mind and movement practices before starting my day.
I’d think about the consequences of doing them and not doing them. So no matter whether I had 30 minutes or 3 hours before work.
I’d get up early and make my mental, physical and emotional health a priority, so I could improve my two most important tools.
My mind and body and build a healthier and happier me.
It’ll be tough at first, but I encourage you to give early mornings a go to see if it can help you build a healthier and happier you.