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What's your morning routine?

So what’s a morning routine? Well, buried in that frantic rush that passes for mornings in many households is a morning routine. Much of it is mundane – toilet, washing, dressing, breakfasting – but it is setting the scene for your day, even if you’re not aware of it.

If your day starts with shouting or wrangling, does that set the tone for the rest of your day, or do you already have an unconscious process to unwind? Maybe you have a cup of tea whilst you stroke the cat, or perhaps you take the dog for a walk and get to exchange cheerful greetings with other dog walkers.

But what about those of you who have to navigate the morning rush hour rather than return home for a period of head clearing, especially when there’s literally no spare time before getting to work yourself? If you have to sit in your car or on a train, do you stew in traffic or do you listen to music, a witty podcast, a learn-a-new-language recording, an audio book of a favourite author, an uplifting talk, or maybe you need simply silence before the assault of voices starts once more? Whatever it is, the choices you’ve made are your current morning routine.

So, does it work for you? Are there better options you could choose?

The morning routines of hugely successful people are being made public, presumably in the hope we can emulate them and thus become as successful as they are. But is it that straightforward? Probably not, especially if your life is largely re-active. Not all of us can fit in 30 minutes of meditation, followed by 30 minutes of yoga or pilates, before breakfasting on a healthy smoothie. Most of us don’t have a personal assistant who’ll screen out the junk from the vital in our email in-boxes.

But what if you could grab 10 minutes for yourself – either to meditate or simply drink a cup of coffee in peace before the madnress erupts. Finding a way to get out of bed when the alarm first goes off, rather than hitting snooze, could make a significant change.

I was surprised by the difference to my energy levels when I followed a very simple morning routine – nothing fancy, no yoga or meditation, just putting my home straight before sitting down with a morning cuppa. Even though I’m lucky enough not to be wrangling small people, or having to commute any further than down the corridor to my desk, it’s been a sea change. The key part was getting out of bed when my first alarm goes off. Yup, I’ve outed myself. For a long time, I required four alarms (yes, four). I’m not a morning person, but still … And all I did was change the ring tone on that first alarm to a piece of music I love – a lively, energising, want to get up and dance piece of music. That’s it. Instead of groaning and dreading the day, I smile and get up. The old bones creak too much for a samba down the corridor, but I’m up and I get going. I was losing up to 2 hours every morning, the place looked a mess, and I never caught up. But the most important part is I hadn’t realised just how frazzled that made me feel.

So in formulating your routine, look for those things that would make your life easier, or better. You don’t need an immaculate house, unless the mess is causing you internal mithering. You don’t need perfect personal files, unless you are driven crazy by the frantic hunt for that piece of paper when it’s needed. Do what makes a difference to you, not what other people think you should. Life is stressful enough without someone else telling us to be perfect, or how to live.

Of course, your frantic lifestyle may simply not have the space for a morning routine – not without your having to get up at stupid o’clock, so perhaps an evening routine would be more beneficial. By that I’m not necessarily talking about getting things ready for the morning (although that could be the option which works for you), because what might be best for you is a routine which helps you to get both quality and quantity of sleep. After all, everything seems better when you’re properly rested.

© 2018 Caring Coaching

originally posted 8th April 2018