Having a morning routine and an evening routine is an important part of my daily strategy. It’s a great time to check in with what I want to accomplish, make sure my goals are on track, and take a little time for self-care.
Creating a morning routine customized just for you isn’t hard, but I think it’s really important to mention two things. One, your morning routine doesn’t have to take up your entire morning. Two, it can change over time.
Sounds obvious, but I’ve seen some really daunting morning routines outlined on other blogs! Don’t feel like you have to be a superwoman before your day even gets started.
Also, remember that you can set a timer if you want. That way, you can slow down and focus on enjoying your morning routine- not whether you’re going to lose track of time and be late! If I’m doing meditation or working in one of my sketchbooks or art journals, this really frees me up so I don’t worry.
My “short version” morning routine takes about fifteen minutes. It’s perfect for busy days or days off when I don’t want or need a lot of structure in my morning. This is my “core” morning routine.
I make time to study Spanish or French with DuoLingo, drink a glass of water and take a daily multivitamin, and catch some meditation time. I like goofing off during breakfast, so I read a novel or play a game on my phone, and then I jump into my day.
Here are some of the things I have tried as my morning routine has evolved. Remember that it’s more about creating an intentional, mindful start to your day- not creating a rigid to-do list.
Drink water and take a vitamin
This is standard for me. I always grab a glass of water as soon as I wake up. You can try lemon water or infusing your water with fruit or herbs overnight, too. I especially love experimenting with seasonal fruit and herbs from my garden.
My favorite vitamin is this one by Megafoods. It’s a whole food multi with herbs that I’ve been using for a few years. It seems like such a little thing to worry about, but it really makes a big difference in my energy and ability to focus for the day.
Try a Miracle Morning
I learned some of the ideas on this list from Hal Elrod’s book, The Miracle Morning. He also points out that you don’t need to spend a lot of time on your morning routine. Even a condensed version that takes five minutes can really set the tone for a better day! Elrod’s Miracle Morning concept is easy to remember with the SAVERS acronym.
SAVERS stands for:
He has a unique approach to some of the actions. For instance, his approach to affirmations is much more practical than most. I highly recommend his book– it completely changed the way I approach my morning. Having little wins first thing in the day helps give me momentum, so I often use some variation of the Miracle Morning.
Take a moment for tea
Tea is another big part of my morning routine. I like to enjoy a cup of tea just after breakfast, stay off the phone, sip slowly, and take a few deep breaths. It’s my little ritual before I start working.
It’s also nice to putter around with a cup of tea in hand and check on your houseplants.
Coffee is nice, too! Here’s my recipe for whipped coffee that I enjoy on special mornings.
Have some time without your phone
Starting my day phone-free makes me so much happier. I leave it on the bookshelf until after I’ve had time to wake up. Chaucer, my dog, gets all of my attention first thing in the morning! He’s always ready to play and loves having mini training sessions.
One of the most important parts of my morning: making it easier to stay off social! I do a lot of freelance social media work, so the LAST thing I want is to start my day with a scroll. Focusing on meaningful activities like reading a novel, art journaling, and playing with Chaucer are much nicer.
Sit down with your planner
Checking in with my planner is an important part of my morning routine. I use Silk and Sonder planners to keep track of my personal life, and I use a Cambridge planner for business. I take a look at my Silk and Sonder planner while I’m having breakfast and review what I need to do for the day. Looking for the perfect planner? Here’s my review!
Use my link to get 25% off with Silk & Sonder! (#affiliate)
Go for a stroll
I’m talking about a leisurely walk, here- not the working out kind of walk. The kind where you grab your coffee or tea and stroll. Chaucer loves these. It’s more about mindfulness and noticing things, less about working up a sweat.
The purpose is to give yourself a chance to get out of your head and connect with what’s happening around you. Inspiration can come from all angles, and giving yourself some mental space can lead to surprising connections and ideas. I learned this approach from Julia Cameron, in her book The Artist’s Way. She also recommends a practice she calls Morning Pages.
Write Morning Pages
A journal activity that can be helpful at the beginning of your day is writing Morning Pages. This is a stream-of-consciousness conversation with yourself on paper. Julia Cameron recommends three pages as the magic number.
It’s important to do this longhand. Don’t type it. When I write morning pages I use cheap, spiral-bound notebooks – not my nice journal. Fill your pages with whatever comes to mind, even if that is “Today I can’t think of anything to write.” The purpose is to establish the habit and give yourself a way to check-in.
Sometimes it can end up looking like a to-do list, but usually, I find myself exploring a potential new project, examining something that’s been bothering me, or dreaming up something fun to do.
Do a thought download
If you work with a bullet journal, you are probably familiar with a “brain dump” or, more artfully put, a thought download. This is a practice where you think of everything that you need to do and write it down. The result is a massive, terrifying to-do list.
Next, you organize it! You decide what needs priority and transfer things to your monthly, weekly, or daily log so you can get it done. I usually do a thought download once a week. A daily thought download is helpful when you are feeling unusually stressed or things are changing a lot on a daily basis.
Do a quickie workout
My daily workout routine is usually yoga and weights. It’s not fancy, but it works! I’ve always preferred working out at home over going to a gym. It’s just so easy to use something like yoga cards or a sequence from Yoga Journal.
For weights, I use this book. I’ve had it forever, so there are probably newer books that do the same thing. It has daily “recipes” of exercises and it’s balanced to make sure you are working all of your muscle groups.
I usually do my workout mid-afternoon right now. It’s a good transition after finishing work for the day. However, on my days off I will sometimes do this in the morning.
Putter with the houseplants
If you are a plant mom, your leafy children will appreciate daily attention. It’s also a really calming way to wake up and ease into your day. I work in my garden once or twice a week, but my container plants need daily care.
A morning moment with houseplants is perfect for checking out water needs, looking for pests, and turning pots a quarter turn to make sure they get even light exposure. Plant mom tip: turning your houseplants daily keeps them growing evenly and not listing to one side toward the main light source.
Start with your writing goals
If you are working on a novel or book as a side hustle, getting up a little earlier to bag your word count for the day can be glorious. This is an essential part of my morning routine. I love working on a story before I transition to nonfiction projects.
Despite what people think, being a writer is more about creating a writing habit than it is waiting for your muse. If you’ve never had a steady writing habit, start small. I suggest creating an outline for your story first and then setting a small word count.
Having an outline is beneficial for many reasons, but by knowing what scenes or chapters you need to write, you eliminate a LOT of writer’s block. Don’t try to write 5,000 words a day if you’ve never mastered writing 500. Building your word count is like exercising. Increase it gradually and you will be surprised at what you can accomplish.
Catch some quality time
If you have a significant other, taking time in your morning to enjoy each other’s company can be a nice way to start the day! Cultivating mindful relationships can go a long way toward keeping everyone happy and healthy.
Also, pets totally count here. Mini training sessions to learn new tricks can be fun for you and your pup. Or, something simple like hanging out with your cat while you drink your coffee can also be enjoyable.
There are so many ways to journal! Personally, I adore art journaling. I keep a little sketchbook to play around in with watercolor pencils and ink. And I do mean little. It’s travel-sized so I can pop it into my messenger bag and go hang out at the coffee shop with it, too.
Other types of journals can include nature journaling, keeping a diary of daily events, or travel journaling. You can also use a journal as a place to explore mental wellness topics and mindfulness. Journal prompts work great for self-care journals.
Playing or listening to music
Easily one of the best ways to wake up. Roll over and grab a musical instrument. Dulcimer, of course, is my favorite. Thumb harps are also easy even if you don’t think of yourself as musical. Although, they may be too soothing for some people and put you back to sleep!
Listening to music is nice, too. Try creating a morning playlist to enjoy while you make breakfast or get ready for the day.
Read a book
I never start my day reading the news (or end it with the news, either). It’s depressing. I catch up on the news at lunch! Instead of a news site, try reading a novel, some poetry, or a short story. Of course, you can also use your morning reading time for nonfiction!
I like reading for a set amount of time, but reading a certain number of pages is another approach. It’s especially helpful to add reading to your morning routine if you are doing a reading challenge or like keeping a reading list.
Write a postcard or short letter
Mail is not dead (despite all of the craziness with the post office right now). Snail mail is way more fun than email. I love writing letters to friends and family. Sometimes, I only have time for a quick card or postcard, but it’s still a fun way to connect with loved ones.
If you need pen-pals, check out Postcrossing. It’s a really fun postcard exchange website. Every time you send a postcard, your address is given to another Postcrosser somewhere around the world. Be sure to get a post office box to be safe.
Do a puzzle
Keeping a jigsaw puzzle or book of crosswords on the breakfast table is another quiet way to ease into your day. Even if you aren’t a morning person, it can still be a fun, no-pressure activity while you are waking up.
I love Pocket Posh! They make adorable itty bitty puzzle books for adults. Sudoku, word searches, logic puzzles, crosswords. . . they have all of it. And, they are the perfect size to fit in your purse, so you can take it with you for your lunch break, too.
Create your own morning routine
These are just a few ways you can create your own morning routine. Take a few ideas and experiment with them. See what you like, what helps you start your day with a little happy and anticipation, and enjoy the process!
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