Your alarm goes off. It's six am. You're still so tired. You stretch your arms out feeling for your phone under your pillows. Once you find it, you swipe your screen open, turn off the alarm and... start checking your notifications or if you're me, your instagram. Followed by checking your email. Next thing you know, you've spend 1.5 hours in bed replying to work emails! How did this happen!?!
You're here now. In Stress Town. You went from peaceful, restful sleep to stressful work thoughts and you're still in your PJ's. You haven't had any water to hydrate yourself after your rest, any breakfast to fuel your mind, and no coffee! How did you seriously tackle a few work emails with no coffee?! Bish, you crazy!
This is not a healthy cycle! Let's break-up with it!
Being intentional about your morning routine will set the tone for your entire day! It can energize you, move you closer to your next goal, and make you feel like you're ready to tackle and own the day!
Here's how I've structured my morning routine. Keep in mind that this isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. Much like DIY home-made deodorant <insert deodorant recipe>, the recipe will change for each person's body and needs. But don't give up if the routine doesn't work for you immediately! Adjust for your needs! I promise, if you stick with it, you will see a huge positive impact on your energy and life in general.
Here is an outline of the steps I've created for my morning routine. This only needs to take 30 minutes. As you do it, you'll learn where you can cut back on time or add time. If you want to wake up an hour early and use that whole hour, great! If you only want 30 minutes to set yourself up for success that's great too!
Here are my morning routine steps:
- Wake up and SMILE! - 2 minutes
- Move your body - 10 minutes
- Positive Affirmations - 10 minutes
- Gratitude - 5 minutes
- Intention - 2 minutes
For me personally, I am not good with tracking time, so I've set alarms within my phone that are timed perfectly to move me into the next phase of my morning routine. I've also adjusted my positive affirmation time from 10 to 20 minutes. After trying my routine for a few days I saw immediate benefits and knew that I would happily sacrifice 30 minutes of sleep to get a more fulfilled, productive day.
Step 1: Smile!
Spend 2 minutes in your bed just smiling. If you can't physically smile, put a pencil between your teeth to force your muscles into a smile. Your brain releases chemicals <insert what is physically happening> and sends a message to your body that you are smiling and, in turn, happy! I personally wake up and sing to my dog! Lana always wakes up excited to see me and that makes it easier for me to smile and sing to her in the AM.
Step 2: Move your body.
Get out of bed and get your blood flowing! You can stretch, do a quick yoga flow, plank, jumping jacks, make your bed (if you're me, this is one of my favorite things to do in the morning. Once I make my bed, I'm up and there's no turning back. #commitment) Whatever it is you decide to do, it has to be something FUN that you WANT to do!
Step 3: Positive Affirmations.
After 10 minutes of movement, my mind starts to wake up and I can actually formulate thoughts. (How did I ever reply to work emails first thing in the morning!?)
For this step you can use this time to listen to a guided meditation, say your goals out loud, or read your mantras to yourself. Whatever it is, make it positive and constructive. I've wanted to journal for a long time so I started a "Future Journal" where I write about things that I want as if I've already achieved them.
For example, I have my sights set on a camper shell because one of my goals is to work remote from anywhere while being able to camp and enjoy California's forests and coastline. An entry in my Future Journal will read something like this,
"Today I woke up in Big Sur. It feels amazing here! The dewey, moist air smells fresh and has a hint of salt in it. I can sense that the ocean is near. Today after I go to the Big Sur Bakery (which is cute AF btw) to work for a little bit, I'm going to take Lana to the beach to play fetch! This is my life! I am overflowing with joy and gratitude that I get to travel while earning a living designing and doing what I love: helping people!"
Whatever it is you do, just make sure your brain is thinking positive thoughts! Your journaling, affirmations, or reciting your goals should energize you, make you smile and get excited about your life! If you need help learning how to write juicy affirmations or goals, check our this blog post. <link to blog post about how to write juicy goals>
Step 4: Gratitude.
I switch from writing in my journal to listing 1-3 things I'm grateful for! Finding things that you are grateful for can be easy. Don't overthink it. Maybe you're grateful for something as simple as your health and the air in your lungs or your dogs health. Maybe you're grateful that you had coffee in your cabinet this morning and were able to enjoy a fresh cup of joe without having to run to the grocery store. We all have things to be very grateful for. They surround us, we just need to open our eyes and hearts to seeing them!
Important note: We're not just listing the things we're grateful for. It goes deeper than that. This step is beneficial because it unearths WHY you're so grateful for those things and how they makes you feel.
Your gratitude exercise may read like this:
Today I am grateful for _____________. What about this makes me grateful? How does that make me feel?
If you can answer those two questions, you'll be gearing your mind and day up for positive thoughts and interactions.
An example would be this:
I am grateful for Lana's health. (Lana is my Australian Shepherd. If you know me or have been following me on social, you know what kind of health-related things I've run into being a mom of a dog who has crazy allergies and skin issues.)
When Lana is healthy I feel overcome with JOY! I feel like she is happy and satisfied and I feel like I am saving major money in vet bills. I love looking at Lana sleeping peacefully knowing she is healthy. It fills my heart with happiness!
Step 5: Intention.
This is where I set an intention for my day. It only takes about 2-5 minutes to do this. I start by thinking about things I want more of in my life. Lately, it's been focus and discipline. Working for yourself requires a lot of those two things. Once I pick my intention, I take a couple minutes to visualize that intention pouring itself through my day. Like light, seeking out and illuminating all the aspects of my life. Everywhere I go and everything I do that day, I have the intention of "focus" on my mind.
Last step I do is just for fun and you don't have to do it... but it gets me in the giggles and really makes me laugh at myself. I made a morning playlist <link to spotify playlist: wake up jams> of songs that get me going. I play one for a second and just dance like a weirdo in my mirror! Again, if you follow me on instagram, you've seen my weird dancing.. a lot, and hopefully it's made you smile, not cringe! So if you want, I invite you to do a little dance! You deserve it!
Have an intentional day and own your life! It's the only one you've got!