I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.J. B. Priestley
I am not a morning person, have never been a morning person, and will probably never be a morning person. I’ve never had a real morning routine, usually waking up well after my alarm goes off, struggling through (and forgetting) important morning tasks, and stumbling into my day unprepared. I leave little time for self care or reviewing and reflecting on my schedule for the day. Most times, I don’t even eat breakfast.
While researching ways to implement a daily structure that will work for me, I kept coming across the importance of the morning routine. Naturally, I decided to share this learning process with my readers. In this post, I will talk about why having a strong morning routine is important, ideas for what to put in your morning routine, and how I plan to implement structure in my mornings for the first time in my life.
Morning Routines Are Important
Have you ever woken up late on a workday and then, even if you make it on time, your whole day is thrown off track and you just can’t catch your stride? That’s because how we start the day is important. Your morning routine should set the tone for the day; it’s a time for us to focus on the day ahead of us and to prepare and plan. Our mental health is partially impacted by how we perceive how well we manage our days. When I feel out of control, my ADHD symptoms get worse, especially my focus issues.
11 Reasons To Start a Morning Routine
Here are 11 reasons to start a morning routine:
- You will be more prepared for the day. In your morning ritual, there should are a few things that you should always include. Self care (meaning grooming and hygene), looking over your schedule and to-dos for the day (don’t forget to plan at night so everything is ready!), and centering yourself, whatever that may look like for you. Oh and to have a good breakfast, but that goes without saying! All of these things in a morning routine will have you well-prepared to face the day ahead.
- You will see increased productivity. If you are planning your time, you will be able to use it more efficiently. You can focus on what is important and what needs to be done and still have time for personal time. A balanced life is also a producivity booster!
- You will feel more in control of your time and your day. It is good for our mental well-being to feel in control of our lives. A morning routine can provide structure and clarity and make you feel in control of what is happening to you.
- Being prepared lowers your stress level. Need I say more?
- It can help you build healthy habits. For instance, I am starting some new morning routine tasks next week; I’m adding a 5-minute stretch and a 5-minute meditation to my morning and I’m going to start eating breakfast regularly. Admittedly, I skip the most important meal of the day…a lot.
- It can boost your energy level. Because it’s less taxing on your brain to be prepared and in control, it uses less energy. Which you then feel in other ways, like increased energy.
- Combat forgetfulness. A morning routine is essentially a series of healthy habits that you schedule into your day. A habit becomes a habit because you don’t forget it anymore. It becomes second nature to do it. This frees up your working memory for other things!
- Improve confidence. When we feel calm and collected, our confidence often soars. The better we feel inside, the better we feel outside. A morning routine provides us with the structure and control to have confidence in ourselves and our abilities.
- It will help you to learn to be flexible. Eventually, there is going to come a time where you have a doctor’s appointment at the time that you normally do yoga or you have to leave town suddenly for a couple of days and you won’t be able to do your morning routine. Instead of reading before bed, take your book to the doctor’s office and read in the waiting room and then do yoga before bed. For the trip out of town, pack your self-care items with you and do as much of your morning routine as you can. When you get home, just pick up where you left off; start slow if you have to.
- You will gain time. Planning your morning will save on wasted time. You will have more energy, be more productive, and be more mentally well; all things that will help you to use your time more efficiently.
6 Tips For Making Your Morning Routing Stick
I’ve given you reasons and, I get it. I have ADHD and I, too, am trying to build a morning routine in my life. I was going to start this morning. Did. Not. Happen. The beginning started off ok, but it ended up just like any other morning…chaotic and aimless. So, how do you get it to stick? Here’s the secret…just don’t give up. Keep trying. Every time you fall off, jump back on when you’re able. Be kind and patient with yourself.
Here are 6 tips for how to stick to your new morning routine:
- Look for the routines that you already have in place. You might think you don’t have any, but I promise that you do. It’s in the little things. The first thing I do every morning, first thing, is brush my teeth. It’s a habit and it is part of an existing morning routine. I wake my daughter up and then take the dogs out. That part changes sometimes if my husband takes them. Look for what you already have and build the rest of your morning routine around. that.
- Stay accountable. This will be easy for me because I have you guys. If you see me on the streets (Facebook, Twitter, the comments section of this post…), ask me how it’s going. Hold my feet to the fire. I’ll sprinkle updates in future posts when I can. For you, it might be telling your spouse or your best friend or talking about it on social media. You can even hold yourself accountable by using a habit tracker. They are no good for me, but many people use them with success.
- Remember your why. Don’t lose sight of why you wanted to have a morning routine in the first place. Whether it be to get better organized, to improve mental health, or to schedule more time with your family, focus on that reason when you aren’t feeling it or are thinking of giving up. Remember your why.
- Be patient with yourself. You might stumble; it takes a lot of time for a habit to form. Don’t give up. Be kind to yourself. This is your morning routine. You set the parameters, you set the rules. No one is judging you and there is no pressure. Give yourself the time you need to improve and grow.
- Get dressed. That might sound silly to some of you, but I added it here for a very specific reason. Like many of us, I work from home. I have worked from home for 7 years. In that time, I have gotten out of pajamas maybe a few dozen times, tops. I never get dressed. I work in pajamas. I hang out in pajamas. Sometimes I go to the store in pajamas. I’M WEARING PAJAMAS RIGHT NOW!! So get dressed. It will make up feel better.
- Eat well. Eating well always helps out with pretty much everything. Not only will it boost your mental and physical health, but it can also be an important part of your morning routine.
Ideas and Tips
- As I said before, plan for the next day the night before. You want to be able to review your schedule as part of your routine, including to-dos, appointments, and downtime, so you need to make sure that everything is ready.
- Plan extra time. Tasks often take longer than what we estimate, so add extra time to each task to make sure you give yourself enough room. You never know when you’re going to run into unforeseen circumstances that delay you.
- Be sure to add at least one mindful activity. Something to center and ground you; for example yoga, meditation, or journaling. You can start your morning by saying affirmations or dancing to your favorite song…as long as it gets your mind and your soul ready for the day.
- Plan in 15-minute increments so you can plan out even the minute tasks. Even pencil in showering and your wake-up time.
- Batch similar tasks together and think of them as one “big” task when planning. For instance, I wake up, brush my teeth, wake up my daughter, and take out my dogs. On my schedule, I simply put “Wake Up” from 6:30-700 am.
- Some examples of morning routine tasks (This will be roughly my morning ritual, hopefully):
- Wake Up
- Get kiddo ready for school
- Morning coffee
- this is another batched item that includes checking my schedule/plan for the day, checking social media and the news, journaling, and tidying my bedroom
- 5-minute stretch/5-minute meditation
- Check email/Make important calls
- Shower and GET DRESSED!!
There you have it! Everything that you need to get started on your own morning routine. As I said before, I was going to start mine today, but now I’m thinking Monday is a good day to start. Be sure to check out 10 Easy Ways To Start a Daily Routine and stay tuned for the latest installment in the My Mental Health Series.
Make sure to join our Facebook group The Winter Of My Discontent: ADHD and Mental Illness Community and follow me on Twitter! Also, use our new subscribe by email feature to get all the latest news and updates from the blog!
Love and light! Keep fighting the good fight! 💜💜
Writing about living with ADHD and mental illness and my journey down a thriving path forward. Breaking stigmas and creating community, one post at a time.