To be honest, I’ve let my morning routine slip recently. At the beginning of the year, I had my perfect routine down pat… but as the mornings became darker here in Australia, I found myself wanting to grab a few more minutes in bed each morning instead of getting up.
Why does this matter? I’ve noticed that there is a strong correlation between me actually doing my morning routine and my sense of calm/in-controlness/spaciousness/groundedness/happiness, which in turn dramatically impacts my overall well-being, productivity and the success of my day.
My morning routine anchors my day in the best way. It makes a huge difference to my sense of purpose and time management all day long. Without it, my days feel more chaotic, hectic and overwhelming. For me, no morning routine means a more anxious, less fun and less productive day.
It seems I’m not alone. Research indicates that the first 2-3 hours of our day are the most powerful. Our natural AM cortisol surge gives us a shot of extra energy in the morning. When we use it to fuel our well-being first up, we naturally build on that momentum to make better choices throughout the day.
So I’m back on the morning routine bandwagon. And if you aren’t rocking a nourishing morning routine – or you know yours has got some room for improvement – I recommend you intentionally commit to a morning routine that will set you up for a stellar day.
Exactly what you do is less important than how it makes you feel. Your morning routine doesn’t need to be picture perfect or magazine worthy. It just needs to be perfect for you.
You don’t need to wake up at 5 am and have a cold shower (unless you really like that idea!). Your morning routine doesn’t need to involve hours of solitude. It doesn’t need to involve litres of green juice. And while many successful people do similar things as part of their morning routines (check out Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning for more on this), yours doesn’t have to involve anything that doesn’t make your heart sing.
To inspire you (and me!) to design a feel great morning routine, I asked five women killing it online to share their REAL morning routines with us. These lovely women agreed to pull back the velvet rope for us and generously share exactly how they start their day. Each routine is unique. Get ready to be inspired!
Here they are:
Jade McKenzie (event manager and coach) from eventhead.com.au
“Each morning when I wake up, I try to guess what time it is, what day it is and whether or not I have to get up right away. Soon enough, there is a little voice in my ear telling me it’s morning and jumping on me for a kiss and a cuddle before asking me if she can watch cartoons as my husband leaves for work.
After spending too long lying in bed snuggling with my little one, it’s pretty much craziness for the next hour and a half as I check my messages, look at my diary so I know what I’m doing today, let the dog out, get my daughter breakfast, get myself ready, attempt to try and get Cerise ready throughout all of this (you would not believe the amount of convincing it takes to get small ones ready while trying to teach them life skills – like changing their underwear) and then we are out the door for daycare drop off before I’m back at my kitchen table downing tea like a maniac, connecting with my team and getting started with my to-do’s for the day.
It sounds like madness, and of course, with kids, there’s just no avoiding it, but I wouldn’t change it!”
Cassie Mendoza-Jones (author, kinesiologist and naturopath) from cassiemendozajones.com
“My morning routine consists of three main things: exercise, coffee and writing.
The actual routine will change slightly depending on if I’m seeing clients that day (1-2 days a week) or if I’ve kept the day to write and work on creative projects (at least 3 days a week). I also often take Friday mornings at a slower pace! In saying that, I mostly always start my day with exercise (I mix it up between a walk, pilates, yoga, or strength training/HIIT training session), usually, around 6 am or 7 am. This has been a habit of mine for years and means I start my day with a fresh, clear and focused mind.
Then I’ll have breakfast (at home or sometimes at a cafe) and grab a coffee, and do a little bit of work from about 8 am. Even if it’s a client day, I always leave at least an hour in the morning to either do some writing, or get on top of some emails.
If it’s a creative/writing day, I like to work at the library (it’s gorgeous, and has basically become a co-working space) or a cafe in the morning. I’ll work for a couple of hours before going home to take a break and then keep working. I don’t do a lot of planning in the morning as I’ve usually done that the night before, or at the start of the week, so for me, my mornings are all about action, writing and creating.”
Sarah Jensen (goals coach) from sarahjensen.com.au
“I’ve tried to be a morning person for years without success, and at one point I thought a ‘morning routine to do list’ a mile long would make it happen. Every day I’d set the alarm with the intention of waking up early to meditate, do yoga, pick an angel card, journal, set an intention for the day, oil pull, tongue scrape and drink a green smoothie. What I’d usually do instead was hit snooze and sleep in.
But now, mornings are way more fun. I’ve got a big list of things that make me feel great and I use it like a menu or self-care smorgasbord I can choose from. Each day when I wake up, I ask myself “how do I feel today?” and “what do I need today?”
Once I’ve tuned in, I choose just one thing from the list that will help me enjoy diving into the day. It could be reading a few pages of an inspiring book, making a delicious breakfast (no green smoothies in sight!) or even watching an episode of something funny on TV. But whatever it is I choose, it’s all about starting the day in a way that’s simple, fun and obligation free.”
Connie Chapman (life coach) from conniechapman.com
“I wake up around 6 am and make myself some chai tea with almond milk (or if I am feeling extra sleepy I will mix up some bulletproof coffee). I return to bed and take around 10 minutes for some meditation as a way to tune in and check in with my inner self. I sit and focus on my breath, while also tuning into my body to see how I am feeling and notice what thoughts are swirling in my mind. If I am feeling tense or restless, I may also do some gentle yoga stretching to release the energy.
I then open up my journal and begin to write. I don’t always know what I want to write about, so I just begin with what is on my mind in that moment, and then eventually I find my flow. My journaling is different each day based on what I need. I may need to empty my mind, process an emotion, explore a challenge or block, or do a Q&A with my inner guidance to ask for some messages or insights. I then like to choose a feeling word for the day, and map out a couple of key intentions.
After that, I get up, have a shower, make a green smoothie and begin my work day!”
Claire Baker (coach and writer) from thisislifeblood.com
“My morning routine, like my entire self-care practice, changes depending what day of my menstrual cycle I’m on. I adapt the way I live (and take care of myself) according to how I feel — and my cycle plays a critical role in this process. I’m not interested in ticking a whole bunch of things off a list before beginning my day, but there are certain practices that I have always done, every single morning, before getting started on my working day.
— fresh lemon squeezed in warm water. I’ve been drinking this in the mornings for about 15 years! Great for waking up the digestive system.
— moving my body. If I’m in a yang phase of my cycle (days 8 – 22), this might be a run or a kettlebell workout. If I’m in a yin phase of my cycle (days 23 – 7), it will be more like a long walk, a yoga class, or even just a few morning stretches on my sheepskin.
— breakfast. While I don’t eat breakfast until later in the morning (around 9 – 10 am), I am such a breakfast person! I keep it simple and high in protein and fats: eggs or sugar-free muesli, mostly.
— journaling. I fell in love with Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages (three pages of stream of consciousness writing first thing in the morning) a long time ago and it’s where I check-in with how I’m feeling, clear the gunk, even write my to do’s and intentions, and set myself up to be in alignment with how I want to feel.
Then, depending on where I’m at in my cycle:
— coffee. I only have coffee in the yang phases of my cycle — my body doesn’t tolerate caffeine when hormones are shifting up in the lead up to menstruation — yet, I love it so much! It’s been a writing companion for a long, long time.
— meditation. This is something that only seems to happen consistently in my yin phases of my cycle, but I’m practising integrating at other times of the month at the moment… it’s going okay!
Sometimes this process can take 15-minutes (rarely) and sometimes this can take hours. Unless I have clients early in the day, I won’t sit down to write/work until I’m feeling in alignment. This is a luxury of being self-employed, but it’s something that I know works for me and really, it’s a few very simple things that get me into that space of feeling true and good.”
What do these unique morning routines all have in common? They are intentional, feel like a perfect fit, and set Jade, Cassie, Sarah, Connie and Claire up for a successful day.
I hope the wealth of ideas here has inspired you to start or upgrade your own morning routine! The right morning routine can set you up for an incredible day. I promise it’s worth taking the time to experiment with and refine your perfect morning.
Love you guys!