Going back to school, work or both after a holiday break is NEVER easy, and the Sunday Scaries were at an all time on January 3rd with the daunting idea of returning to a normal routine after two weeks of sleeping in with no real schedule to abide by. I had made it a goal to focus on gratitude in 2021, which included being grateful that I had a job to go to every morning, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t let out an extra loud groan and hit the snooze button a couple times on that first Monday of the new year. After that first Monday though, I decided I needed to pursue some ways to enjoy my mornings rather than dreading them so that I could start off the day on the right foot. That night I started to plan a “Mindful Morning Routine” for myself and I am going to walk you through how you can improve your morning with just 30 extra minutes and three simple, albeit broad, M’s: Movement, Mind, & Mood.
So prior to my wake up ~revolution~ my first movement every morning was dragging myself to the kitchen, half-blind without my contacts in, and attempting to hit the right button in my zombie like state to make the machine whir to life. Needless to say this wasn’t the best start to my morning, but hey sometimes you need that caffeine before you can become something resembling a human. Now I have never been someone that thought I could hop out of bed, drink some water, and start working out, but it turns out movement first thing in the morning may be even better than coffee. And no I am absolutely not saying to jump up and take off on a five-mile run, but I have begun a routine where I start my morning with a gentle 15 minute pilates workout to get the blood flowing and get that rush of endorphins to put a smile on my face. This movement could really be anything from light stretching, to yoga, or even just a little dance routine, but I’ve found it makes a huge difference in my mood and energy levels not only in the morning, but throughout the day. A combination of a big glass of water and a little body movement has been helping me feel awake and refreshed before I even leave my room and head for my precious caffeine.
Waking up your mind in the morning is just as important as waking up your body, and NO scrolling Instagram for 20 minutes in bed is not what I’m talking about. We spend so much time throughout our day staring at screens, so why not start off the morning with something a little more traditional. I have found that journaling or writing out the plan for my day has been a great way for me to get my mind centered in the morning. On days I journal, I grab my new black and gold journal from my desk and write about pretty much anything I feel prompted to that morning, some days it’s about how pretty the sunrise is, sometimes it’s a weird dream, and other times it’s just about what I did the day before. It’s definitely no award winning memoir, but it’s helpful to get some of my thoughts out and onto the page, and warms up my brain for the day. If I know I have a busy day or errands to run, I’ll opt for the planner instead and write out a list of what I need to do and where I need to be so I can go into the day with a plan. Both of these only take about 10-15 minutes and make me feel sharper and calmer as I move into each day. There are so many ways to get your mind ready to take on the day whether it is journaling, meditation, reading, or just simply making a to-do list, and all of these will serve you far better than anything you may see on your social media feed.
Last but definitely not least I have my favorite of the three Ms, Mood. This can apply to so many things, but I’ll walk you through the specific mood boosters that have me looking forward to getting out of bed in the morning. Lighting a candle before I start getting ready is a foolproof way I boost my mood in the morning. Something about having a lit candle on my desk while I’m getting ready feels so relaxing, not to mention it smells great. I’m sure I’m not the only one with a million candles laying around from gifts and impulse buys, so why not put them to good use. Music has also become a non-negotiable part of my morning. There is something about creating or finding that perfect playlist that pumps you up and makes you excited to go about your day. I adore old music so my current playlist in the morning has all of the feel good songs by Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder and so many more, but no matter what your music taste, take to Spotify and curate that perfect playlist of what you need in the morning. Hey, maybe if your playlist is good enough you’ll be dancing your way back to M number 1 (movement). Finally we have my favorite mood booster, my morning coffee. I know I already mentioned that I adore caffeine, but my morning mug has evolved past the zombie poured drip coffee that was simply used to keep my eyes open. Putting some extra love into my morning coffee makes it so much more enjoyable, so to start with I invested in a small handheld milk frother and some glass coffee cups to really see those layers. Frothing up my creamer every morning and spooning the velvety foam over my coffee before adding a sprinkle of cinnamon to the top brings me so much joy and has me rushing to the kitchen each morning for my treat. Now I know not everyone is a coffee person, but whatever you can prepare for yourself with a little extra effort whether it’s tea, a smoothie, or some hot chocolate, it will give you something to look forward to and a sense of accomplishment with your gourmet final product.
Reinventing my mornings with these three Ms has truly helped my outlook on the day, and definitely my relationship with the alarm clock. These are just my tips for what has made such a difference in my morning routine, but any combination of self care you can bring into your own routine will help you go about your day with an increased amount of energy and gratitude.