Mornings are one of my favorite times of day. I find that taking time to practice self care early in the morning helps me feel relaxed and at the same time more productive and focused.
Initially, it took me some time to get my self care morning routine started and working well. Even so, I’m not strict about keeping exactly the same schedule every morning. I find it best to be flexible depending on what I most need.
This can mean on some days I forgo a walk to spend longer journaling, or I take more time to meditate. Ultimately, the goal of self care in the morning is to take care of my body and mind so that I can approach my day feeling good and with a calm, ordered mind.
I’m sharing my general self care morning routine that I hope will help get you started with your own.
Start Self Care The Night Before
To start off the day well means having enough quality sleep. Everyone has different sleep needs, but the rule of thumb is to get a minimum of 7 hours a night.
Having a calm evening routine goes a long way in ensuring a good night’s rest. I try to avoid screen time or an hour before I sleep and often enjoy a short 5 minute meditation session. Playing some calming music also helps to relax my mind and body.
Get Up Early
As a mom, if I want time to myself in the morning, I need to get up earlier than anyone else. This will likely go for anyone that has a family or a job that requires an early start to the day.
I’ve come to love the quiet pre-dawn time and feel the most clear and productive than at any other time.
I make sure I wake up early enough that I have enough time for my self care rituals without having to rush. The extra time allows me to really be mindful and deliberate about everything I’m doing, and contributes to a feeling of having space and being unpressured.
Get some sunlight
For the warmer months when the sun rises early, I like to open the blinds and curtains to allow natural light in.
Watching the world come awake, catching the sunrise is an enlivening experience.
During the winter months, I will simply appreciate the early morning fresh air, allowing my body to wake up to the day and enjoy being alive.
Make the Bed
“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” Admiral McRaven
This simple practice of self-discipline gets your day started on a symbolically productive note. As the Admiral states, how can we be successful at big things unless we’re first successful at small things?
I enjoy closing up the bed as a way of finishing off the night and declaring my readiness for the day. I also know that after a busy day, it’ll be a pleasure to walk into my bedroom and find a neatly made bed, prepared and ready for a peaceful sleep.
Avoid screen time
Checking messages, emails and (worst of all) news reports leads to a distracted mind. I prefer to start off my day paying attention to my immediate surroundings, how my body is feeling and what frame of mind I’m in.
By staying away from my phone (or TV when I had one), I’m able to decide exactly what emotions and feelings I will encourage without being externally influenced.
I choose very carefully what I listen to and consume in the morning. I love audiobooks (find some of my favorites here), and will often listen to one while going for an early morning walk.
Try to find inspirational, educational and motivating things to listen to or read depending on your need for a specific day. This really gets your mindset in the right place and helps to ensure you approach your day with a positive and focused mind.
It’s important to hydrate after 7 (or more) hours of sleep. I’ve been trying out some healthy infused water recipes from fourwellness.co which you can find here.
Move your body
I wrote about exercise for minimalists and how to incorporate movement into your daily routine. The morning is a great time to get moving, shake off any lingering tendrils of sleep and get your 18 minutes of moderate daily exercise done.
I love to walk, but I’ll often switch it up with an online yoga class, some basic stretches, or body weight exercises like squats and jumping jacks.
I love the infusion of energy and clarity of mind a good movement session gives me.
If I’m not very hungry, my go-to breakfast is a fruit-filled smoothie. (Find some delicious plant-based meal prep recipes here that you can use for a yummy, healthy breakfast.) It’s so important to give your body the physical nourishment it needs to carry you through the day.
By eating before you leave home, there is also less chance you’ll indulge in unhealthy options that look so tasty when you get hungry later.
I love meal planning for this reason. When I wake up, I already know what I’m going to make or I’ve got something prepared in advance.
To me, being mindful is an important form of self care. My early mornings are a time of allowing myself to focus on only simple things.
While I make tea, straighten my bed, shower, I focus only on what I’m doing. I allow myself to fully enjoy every moment and appreciate the small things.
I take the time to reflect on my thoughts and discover how I’m feeling.
Journaling is a useful practice to set intentions for the day ahead. Pouring out thoughts, worries, plans and goals onto paper is a very helpful way to clear the mind. It allows you to release emotions, to number the things you’re grateful for and get in touch with yourself.
In my experience, practicing mindfulness at the start sets me up for success throughout the rest of my day.
These simple acts of self care have transformed my mornings into peaceful moments. Sometimes I do almost nothing, but just appreciate the stillness before a busy day. On other mornings, I enjoy more activity.
It’s important to give yourself the space to discover what you most need on a particular day. Be flexible and listen to your intuition. And enjoy many self care mornings that nourish both your body and mind!