I don’t think there’s such a thing as a perfect morning routine as each and every routine serves each one of us differently. Also, different circumstances call for different sets of habits or routine. What I’ll be talking about in this post are suggestions on how you can have a more mindful morning and not go off losing precious hours of your day.
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What is Mindfulness
Mindfulness refers to our ability to be present and aware of what we are doing, where we are, and the ability to not let our environment get the best of us by being reactive.
To put it simply, everything we do, if we do it with mindfulness, we do it with intention. Instead of reacting to things, we instead respond. Instead of resisting our thoughts and emotions, we take note and let go.
Setting Intentions the Night Before
I think the first step to having a mindful morning is to be prepared the night before. This means listing or noting the things you need or want to do the next day, and mentally and physically preparing the things you need to do to lessen the friction or resistance in doing things.
Not all of us are planners. Some may thrive in spontaneity but even if you do, it may give you some help if you try to have some order. If you are a planner, on the other hand, listing and updating things down the night before will lessen your preparation time in the morning and may help make you feel put together.
If you are looking for a planner, I recommend this Erin Condren planner. It’s for the months July 2020-December 2021 and has the hourly layout, organizer, stickers, and monthly calendar tabs.
Of course, this doesn’t just involve your work to-do’s. It also involves your other goals. What do you plan to achieve the next day? What will you try to do to help make you feel fulfilled by the end of that day? Listing them down and reading them the next morning may help put it in your system for a more mindful day.
Care for the Soul, Mind, and Body
I personally strive to have a wholesome growth and although some people will argue that you can’t have everything and there will be some sort of sacrifice along the way, I disagree with not trying. By trying to exercise the following things in the morning, it may help you achieve that balance that will definitely benefit your way of life.
Stretches / Exercise
This is not just a cliche, this is a need. Healthline gives us 10 benefits of exercise namely: it helps to make you feel happier as it can improve your mood and may help lessen your feelings of depression, stress, and anxiety; it can also help with weight loss as inactivity is a major factor when it comes to weight gain; it’s good for your bones and muscles as it helps build and maintain them; it can help increase your energy levels; and it can also reduce the risk for chronic diseases as inactivity is also a primary cause of such. For more benefits, check out their blog post here.
Your exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous. I typically do 10-30 minutes of exercise per day and I switch it up every day to make it more exciting for me. I schedule my leg workouts on Mondays and Fridays, I go for a run on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I do arm workout on Wednesdays.
Of course, I don’t always get to follow that especially if I didn’t get enough sleep at night but whenever I do get to do them, I end up feeling fulfilled, focused, calm, and energized.
Now, you don’t necessarily need to exercise in the morning because you might prefer doing it in the afternoon or at night, but if you’re the type to do so, then it will help kickstart your day with a little boost to your mood.
Reading the Bible and Meditation
We all have our own spiritual beliefs and as for me, I believe in God. I enjoy reading the Bible together with the Daily Bread in the morning as it helps me have some special time with God. It always helps to lessen my anxiety and removes my worries whenever I talk to Him and read His Word.
If you don’t want to purchase the two (if you don’t have them yet), you can always use their free apps.
After doing so, I then use Headspace for my meditations. I have really learned a lot about mindfulness and being present with the app and I thank God for it. Meditating daily helps me be aware of all my anxiety and worries which helps me let them go, and it also helps make me aware of any underlying feelings or emotions I normally wouldn’t have noticed if I didn’t stop to meditate.
The next thing I do in the mornings is journaling. I use Notion for journaling as I can easily edit it in accordance to how I think it can be useful for me. It’s also easy to mark my moods with their icons feature. This app is free for personal use if you’re interested in trying it out.
Of course, you can use a physical journal as well. I used to do that too but I find that I am more consistent with digital versions.
Journaling will help you have a clearer head in the morning as you can jot down anything you’re thinking about or feeling, just to get them out of the way. You can also do this to be more aware as some things come out only when we’re writing them. Maybe you can use this too for goal setting, if it helps you. You can use it for brain dumping.
You might want to see: How to Deal with Stress in College
Care does not stop when work starts
When you’re done setting your intentions and being aware of your thoughts and emotions for the morning, you probably are thinking of your to do list already or getting ready to crack up some work. The thing you have to remember is mindfulness does not stop when work starts. Mindfulness is a constant exercise and the more you do it, the more you get good at it, and the more free you may feel from your own thoughts and emotions.
Your thoughts and emotions will always be there, but being mindful about them helps you be aware and let them go.
A Mindful To Do List
How do you have a mindful to do list? This will apply if you’re doing special projects or are working for yourself. Being mindful with your to do list means prioritizing things that are actually of value to you and will actually help you move closer to your goals.
These things may not always be the things you’d want to do first as they’re either daunting or heavy, but these are the things that could make you feel fulfilled when you get them done. In my daily to do’s, these are my “frogs”. If you’re familiar with the quote, “eat the frog first”, it means to do your most daunting task first as our willpower gets depleted throughout the day the more we use it.
If we’re always aware of the things that are actually valuable to get done, we may end up avoiding procrastinating with the “mini to do’s” and end up focusing on the more important tasks.
There is no judgement when you’re practicing mindfulness. It’s simply the act of being aware and taking note of things to be able to let them go or not have them control us. If you try to practice these things in the morning, then maybe you’ll have a great kickstart to your day and could help improve your focus throughout.