How to create a morning routine that is productive and restorative yet practical and unpretentious, without so much as a mention of sound baths and matcha whisks?
Charlotte aka @charlottesophiewrites is an author, editor and content creator, whose interests and work promote sustainable living, in every sense of the word. Shares with us 5 of her favourite and proven tips to developing a great morning routine that we all can fit in.
My alarm has developed a terrible habit. Quite abruptly, at 5.30am every weekday morning, an innocent yet forceful tone grasps my attention, dragging me from a state of dreamy REM sleep into the complicated reality that is my working day.
So early? my friends exclaim. But there’s good reasoning behind my ungodly rising. Besides harbouring the perfect excuse to refuse post-work get-togethers, the morning, as I see it, is somewhat of a sacred time. There’s something rather magical about waking up before the rest of the world. The relative silence in the air, the additional few moments of precious time we have to ourselves, bathing in our own thoughts, hopes and wonderment. The perfect base for developing a practical, efficient and simple morning ritual. If you’re looking to become a little less just-enough-time-to-grab-coffee, and a little more prepared-for-my-approaching-day, these five ideas for morning rituals come free from bravado and overly-complex methodology.
Rise and move
What you’ll need: at least three alarms, workout attire, some decent trainers and a podcast or motivational playlist.
Begin: Set yourself a series of three alarms, about 5 minutes after one another, just to ensure that you wake up by a certain time. Grab yourself some water, tea or hot beverage (preferably not caffeinated before you have any food) and start to wake your body up. Some light stretches of the legs, arms, neck and chest will help blood to begin flowing around your body. Once you feel ready, start to move with a little more intention. Be it a gentle yoga flow, a moderate jog, or a more intense gym session, find your movement and exercise for around an hour. Getting a hit of endorphins first thing in the morning, alongside increased blood flow and oxygenation, helps focus your attention on the tasks ahead and can help you beat the 5pm gym-rush.
Rise and write
What you’ll need: a blank or guided journal and a pen.
Begin: If you’re thinking of incorporating just one ritualistic technique into your daily morning routine, this would be the one. Upon waking, the daily hum-drum of tasks and the scale of your to-do list can be, quite frankly, enough to make you want to crawl back under the sheets. Daily planning, involving scheduling your tasks, jobs, meetings and movements hour to hour will help increase your productivity and ensure you stay on top of your goals. Another great written ritual is to journal your expectations for the day: how do you want to feel when you close your eyes at night? What do you want to achieve today, this week, this month – and what are you doing to reach these goals? Journal your thoughts, dreams, fears, aspirations, and anything that pops into your mind.
Rise and breathe
What you’ll need: yourself, a private space and some earplugs (if your room is noisy).
Begin: A simplistic way to become more intertwined and in touch with your thoughts is to simply direct your attention inwards, focusing on your breath. Use the yogic technique of 6-6 breathing: take 15 minutes of deep breathing, inhaling for six seconds followed by six seconds of exhalation. This form of breathing will help your body develop variability in heart rate, which is beneficial for aiding relaxation and cardiorespiratory health. A perfect way to ease a racing mind and start a great morning routine.
Rise and dine
What you’ll need: An additional 30 minutes in the morning and a source of complex carbohydrate.
Begin: It always surprises me how few of my colleagues and friends actually rise early enough to eat breakfast – a critical meal to begin digestion, metabolic functioning and fuel your creativity during the day. Aim to rise at least 30 minutes earlier than you usually would. Make yourself a glorious bowl of loaded oatmeal with seeds and nuts, a chickpea omelette with mushrooms, or even a simple scramble and toast. Quite critically, refrain from eating breakfast whilst watching TV or scrolling through Instagram. Eat mindfully, reading if you must, taking time to think through your daily tasks, journaling as you go.
Rise and manifest
What you’ll need: Yourself!
Begin: The simplest morning routine, but perhaps the most effective at boosting your own sense of awareness. Self-reflection is something that we all need to do way more of. Being able to reflect on our previous actions and emotions of days gone by, and the successes (and losses) we’ve taken along the way, is a critical part of moving forward with our professional and personal lives. Every morning, take stock of how the previous days and weeks have affected you. Are you feeling energised? Exhausted? What went well? What didn’t work out? How will these feelings and events help shape your activity today? How will you move forward in a productive, yet self-aware, way?
Have a look at Charlotte’s other work and stay up to date on her social media at @charlottesophiewrites.
Charlotte is an author, editor and content creator, whose interests and work promote sustainable living, in every sense of the word. Charlotte is a marketer for ethical brands, author of a soon-to-be-published children's book, a regular contributor to the sustainability and plant-based publications, and is studying clinical psychology with the view to revolutionising women's holistic, natural and mental healthcare. Find Charlotte on Instagram: @charlottesophiewrites