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Make Mornings Magical: How to Improve Your Morning Routine

by | Nov 22, 2023 | Mental Health | 0 comments

Do you struggle with your morning routine? Maybe you’re one of those people who snoozes five too many times, gets ready in 10 minutes and rushes out the door in the morning. 

And maybe you’ve been living that way for so long that you’re just used to it, and it feels like maybe it’s working for you. 

But if you’re OVER IT, know it’s not working for you, or are just curious about how you could make your mornings better, this post is for you!

Keep reading to learn about my old, terrible morning routine (it makes me anxious just thinking about it…), how I’ve made my mornings magical and why any of this even matters for any of us!

What my mornings were like

I just figured right off the rip I’d help you feel better about whatever your mornings are looking like these days. 

Definitely not writing this post from an “omg i’m so great look at my 8 step morning routine, i’m so much better than you!” place which is a vibe this topic can sometimes give off, in my opinion. 

The reality is, as a now sober alcoholic my mornings have come a LONG way to say the least. Here’s what a typical morning used to look like for me in active alcoholism before I got sober:

  • Pass out the night before in a blackout somewhere likely not in my bed – a couch if I was lucky, but often times i’d pass out on the floor (including bathroom floor, gross), a car, outside on someone’s front lawn, a rando’s bed (ew) and many other places one should not sleep…
  • Wake up – not in my bed, as described above – with extreme anxiety, dry mouth, a pounding headache, dizzy, nauseous, maybe even in my own puke. 
  • Throw on whatever clothes I could find (probably dirty), drink as much water as I could, and rush out the door because I was obviously late for school, work, or whatever life event I was supposed to attend that day.

So… I hope that makes you feel a little better about where you’re starting with your morning routine! If you’re not waking up in a ditch, you’re already batting a thousand! 

*And if you or anyone you know is struggling with alcoholism, I promise there’s another way and help out there. Just take the first step and let someone you trust know that you’re struggling.*

How you start your day matters

What’s the point of a morning routine anyways?

Ideally, it helps to ground you at the start of your day. It can help center you so that you’re better prepared for whatever the day throws at you.

Or maybe it’s just simply a nice, quiet time to yourself where you can sit with your thoughts, read a book you enjoy, or sip your favorite coffee mindfully in your coziest chair. 

A morning routine – in my experience – can really increase your energy, productivity, positivity, and overall sense of peace. 

For example, even just think about how you first wake up. Do you immediately grab your phone and check social media, email, and texts? I used to do this too and it totally sucked. I didn’t realize I was letting that “stuff” dictate what sort of mood I was starting the day in.

Checking your emails, calendar or to-do list soon after you wake up “immediately starts the day off on a stressful note, and tells your brain to go into panic mode,” Jackson, who is also the clinical strategy manager of mental health equity at Modern Health as quoted in an article for CNBC on morning habits

My poor brain/body/spirit didn’t even have a chance to tell me how I was feeling. Disconnecting from my phone until my morning routine is complete has been a GAMECHANGER for me. 

It gives me space and time to figure out how I feel, first of all and start my day from a more grounded, intuitive place. 

How to improve your morning routine

Obviously the #1 thing I did to improve my morning routine was get sober. After that, I just sort of kept trying different things, seeing if I liked them and if they did, they stuck. If not, I stopped doing it and tried other things.

My morning routine just kept building and building and I noticed that the more I was consistent with my morning routine, the better I felt. 

It truly is a magical morning routine to me at this point. It helps me head into my days in a much calmer, more grounded, and peaceful way. 

When I miss my morning routine for whatever reason it’s no big deal! I just try to do it *most* mornings because I do notice a big difference in my overall mood, etc. And it doesn’t have to look the same every day, either. Approach it with a playful, curious mindset!

girl meditating

Here’s my morning routine. As an example!

My morning routine is now… (and remember the before? yikes!)

I like to wake up with a “natural light” mimicking alarm clock AND natural light in my windows. I don’t have curtains in my room because I want to naturally wake with the light filling my room. It helps our circadian rhythms. And waking with the alarm clock helps me to not use my phone to wake up. 

Then, I make my tea – obsessed with Saratoga Tea & Honey Co. My favorite is spirit of life! I had to give up caffeine last year due to a new ADHD diagnosis/med situation in which caffeine makes me way too hyper and can’t sleep! So, tea it is!

While i’m waiting for the water to boil, I empty the dishwasher (not because I want to, but I was struggling with doing this and polled my Insta community for ideas. They came through alright, and someone suggested doing this. It’s stuck ever since!)

I take my tea, and go sit on the couch. Sometimes I formally meditate for 5, 10, or 15 minutes using the Insight Timer free app version. Other times, I simply just sit in silence for a little bit. This intentional, quiet time is KEY for me to be able to check in with how i’m feeling and what’s on my mind and in my heart that day.

I read just a few pages out of a self-help or psychology/mental health related book such as Atomic Habits or Digital Minimalism. It helps to kickstart my brain and get my creative/thoughtful juices flowing. 

And THEN I go for a quick 20ish minute walk. I’m so privileged to live near the water, so I take a route where I can stop by and smell the ocean breeze. I don’t bring my phone or headphones so I can really just be present.

Then I shower, get ready and start my day!

Benefits of a morning routine

For me personally? Feeling more grounded, my head doesn’t feel as fuzzy, I feel more present, clear headed and ready for the day. I’m more able to listen to my intuition or gut feelings on how to handle a particular thing going on in my life.

I feel like it just simply gives me space to breathe.

What do the scientists say? Well, “research has shown that a consistent morning routine can reduce stress, boost your energy levels and improve your productivity at work,” Morgan Smith, CNBC.com. I’m less concerned with the productivity at work piece because #capitalism BUT I definitely agree with improving productivity in general.

Morning routine with kids

If my sister – who has 5 kids under the age of 16 – can do a morning routine, I believe you can too! It can literally be as simple as taking deep, intentional breaths in the shower to ground yourself. Or waking up 5-10 minutes before your kids to have coffee by yourself.

(Trust me, your body won’t miss those 5-10 minutes and your soul will thank you for some time well spent alone.)

Or maybe you can incorporate your kids into your morning routine! Maybe read a short kids’ book together, snuggle on the couch, or teach them some breathing exercises. 

It could be so good for their little brains and bodies to take that intentional time before starting their day as well!

I hope this post was helpful 🙂

I’d love to hear about your morning routine! What sorts of things do you like doing or what helps you get ready for the day? Is there a part of your morning routine could you absolutely not live without? Or, alternatively, what’s the biggest struggle with your morning routine?

Blog Lexy Penney Nutritionist Boston Intuitive Eating

Hi, I’m Lexy!

I’m a Registered Dietitian, yoga teacher, & body image coach.

I help women make peace with food and built trust with their bodies so they can live the lives they desire and deserve.

Hop on my email list for your weekly dose of food freedom, body liberation and self-care!

Lexy Penney Nutritionist Boston Intuitive Eating

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