Over the years, frenzied, chaotic mornings have kind of become my thing. I’m talking countless hits of the snooze button, no breakfast, running late—whether my destination was high school, the lecture hall, or the office. For several years, I worked from home, which meant I could essentially wake up, roll over, open my computer, and be “at work,” but now that I’ve returned to a traditional 9-to-5, I’m ready to try to cultivate a new thing: a mindful morning. That is, a calmer, repeatable routine that sends me into the world feeling focused instead of frantic. Old habits die hard, though, so I’m taking small steps toward that goal. My first few tips toward cultivating a mindful morning below.
Get started at night
It’ll come as no surprise that I consider myself a night person, so I’m taking advantage of those evening hours to get a head start on the day ahead. I’ve been making a habit of keeping a few pre-planned outfits (all weather appropriate but with options that can accommodate a last-minute rainy forecast, for instance) hanging on a pretty clothing rack. Shoes, outerwear, jewelry, and accessories—I lay everything out in advance to cut down on sartorial scrambling in the morning. I also prioritize my to-do list the night before so that my tasks are organized in the order that they need to be tackled.
Ease yourself into waking up
While aggressive beeping and other assorted siren sounds are the kinds of noises that make me throw my blanket over my head and hunker down in bed, I’ve always been nervous that the gentle sounds of, say, waves on a tropical shore might not be insistent enough to wake me at all. A good song that starts out slow and builds in intensity is the middle ground I’ve found works best for me, delivered via a Bluetooth alarm clock. My recommendation: “Wake Up Everybody” by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes.
Move. And eat. (At least a little bit)
I don’t know if I’ll ever be the type of person who can get in a full workout before my morning commute, but I’ve learned that even a little bit of activity makes me feel a lot more awake. Bending over and touching my toes, a few squats and high kicks, and 30 seconds of jump rope is enough to get my blood flowing (without annoying my downstairs neighbors too much). Then I can move on to fulfilling my commitment to eating something in the morning, along with whatever health-boosting supplements I have in rotation. Sometimes it’s a green juice, and sometimes it’s a croissant, but at the moment, I’m mostly trying to develop a habit of making time to eat, period.
Do something meditative
Zoning out in front of my magnifying mirror while applying toner, serums, and a variety of other skin care products is a routine that centers me and calms me down, but I usually do a truncated version of that routine in the AM, if anything at all. Since the goal of creating a mindful morning is to infuse a sense of serenity into those early hours of the day, I’m making time to care for my skin in the morning, too. Since the results are a calm demeanor and clear skin, I think it’s safe to say that it’s an early AM win-win.
What routines help you create a mindful morning? We’d love to know!