Starting a Morning Routine

 in Lifestyle

Every freelancer out there is reading and writing about success and starting the day right. You have probably already heard or seen other articles about morning rituals and why you should start one.
This article will give you the basic why, but is more about the how to start a morning routine.

Being in control of my stress and anxiety starts with my morning ritual.
When setting up my current plan I realized I needed to ease back into my routine slowly.

When I lived in DC my therapist at the time started me on my first morning routine. There was nothing spiritual about it, I was simply following a pattern. Creating a routine is great for the management of anxiety because it helps you feel in control of something and gives less voice to the existential dread rattling around in your head.

You can call it a ritual or routine or practice, the word doesn’t matter as much as the action.
You should include:
something to get you moving
something to get you thinking
and something to relax you.

Your morning routine will differ depending on your job and lifestyle. Maybe it will include gardening, or maybe you walk the dog as part of your exercise. Maybe to get yourself thinking in the morning you want to read a religious text or maybe you prefer to journal about a question of the day.  As you try different things in your ritual, find the activities that you are consistently able to do and focus on well.


Let your morning routine be first:

To keep myself focused, I do not allow myself to check my phone or messaged until I’ve finished my morning ritual. This way I am 100% present in the activities.


Get Moving:


One of the best ways to start the day is by stretching as you get out of bed.
Sun salutations or even just toe touches and lunges can go a long way to waking you up every morning.
I usually spend 15 minutes stretching and doing simply body weight exercises every morning (even if I skip other steps in my routine)


Relax:


I don’t think it matters what religion you practice meditation can help you. Many of us face the morning full of dread for the day and work to come. Meditation is a way to help center us and manage stress so that they day starts on a positive note. I practice seated breathing meditation, but you could do guided meditation or walking meditation.


Get Thinking:

The best time to change a habit is first thing in the morning, your brain has more power and juice. Therefore reading something philosophical or religious as well as planning out your day is a great use of morning ritual time. I usually get thinking by reading a buddhist text and then journaling about it. I’ve also been know to answer journal prompts and free write about my feelings and sensations.

Be Present:


Remember to engage in your morning routine with mindfulness, resist the urge to multitask and instead focus on one thing at a time. This how to is set up so you add only one new activity the week making it easier to focus on the one thing you should be improving in yourself.


To Do List:
It’s important to make a daily list of your work and writing goals but also add things to help foster your friendships, schedule meetings and keep the house clean. It can be hard to juggle everything, but adding a few things each day to chip away at the weeks worth of tasks will make it all more manageable.

Note: I added sweep the house into my morning ritual as a way to be present before getting to the rest of my day’s work. Before it was a daily chore and part of my to do list, but just over a month ago I changing it to be part of my ritual was a tiny thing that made a huge impact. Suddenly, my space was consistently better (cleaner) and my anxiety lessened because there was one less thing undone in the house.

Not every chore can be ritual though. The goal at the end of this 30 days is to have created a 30 min-1 hour morning routine that works for you and that lowers your anxiety. You should not add any activity that feels like work or makes your nervous or anxious in any way, keep those for your to do list.

Lastly, Be Patient:
It’s hard to change everything overnight so I have broken it down into a 4 week plan to slowly build up the routine.

The 30 day Plan

Follow me on Instagram to see detailed workout plans and practical, daily steps to start your new morning routine.

Week 1: Detailed plan here
15 minutes work out or stretching
Make your to do list
Breakfast

Start with simple stretching or following a exercise video
If you need to feel energized I suggest aerobics or pilates.
Most of the time I focus on simple body weight exercises like planks, pushups and squats.
Often working on 30 day challenges or following a workout app to push my body without having to think about what’s next.  Recently I’ve been doing mostly sun salutations and other yoga poses.
Make sure you go to a class and learn the right form.

Week 2 : Detailed plan here
15 minutes work out or stretching
5 minute guided meditation
Make your todo list
Breakfast

The second week is a lot like the first but with meditation.
If you are new to meditation it’s best to start slow and with something guided. I’ve linked two of my favorite guided meditations to get you started but find what works best for you. Many people use meditations apps, which is also a great tool. I personally do not need another app so I use youtube on the computer.

Week 3 – detailed plan here
15 minutes workout or stretching
5 minute guided meditation
5 minutes breathing meditation
Make your to do list
Breakfast

You should be doing a slightly longer workout routine by now. If you don’t know how to scale up your workout routine, look at the detailed week plans.

Now you will also do your first breathing meditation, this first month we will only get to 10-15 minutes which is my minimal recommendations. 30 minutes-1 hour is what I recommend your eventually goal be.
The detailed week plan has links to guided meditation as well as meditation timers so you can focus on breathing and not time.


Week 4 – detailed plan here
15 minutes workout or stretching
5 minute guided meditation
10 minutes breathing meditation
Daily journal question
Make your todo list
Breakfast


This week we start reading/journaling.
There are a lot of ways to approach this, free journaling is one of them. Answering open or spiritual questions is another. I personally like to look at this 15 minutes like a devotion time, I don’t read a religious text so I read and contemplate an essay or piece of philosophy, or more often than not I work on a zen koan. You can let this time be flexible and write/read what you need based on your feelings that day.


Week 5 – continue your routine with all the steps
15 minutes workout or stretching
15-30 minutes meditation
5-15 minutes daily journal question

2-5 minutes to do planning
Breakfast

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