Rise and shine, early birds and sleepy heads...
Do you ever have those days where you are ON IT? You have peace in your heart, the perfect outfit, the dishes are done and you are running ahead of schedule. Imagine what it would be like to have this type of day every day. A day that you set your intentions, reached your goals and didn’t yell at your spouse. BONUS you did it without coffee. Whether you are early to rise or a night owl, having a morning routine that fills you up is a necessity if you want to catch the worm.
Having an established time during the day where you connect with your goals, set your intentions and work on your mental and physical health enables you to continually grow into the best version of yourself. This includes overcoming prolonged pain and suffering. A morning routine is often discussed from the perspective of those attempting to get ahead in their careers. While this IS a beneficial practice for business moguls, it also aids in the journey of those who long to master their health.
Morning routines are an essential part of the day for the go-getter, nature-lover, entrepreneur, stay at home mom, fire-fighter, college student, chronic-pain survivor and every soul in between. Often in media, you might be pushed a single idea of what this should look like. Something along the lines of:
Step One: Wake up at exactly 6 am
Step Two: Eat 12 eggs and a handful of kale
Step Three: Check your email
Step Four: Run 4 miles
Step Five: Kiss your partner on the head
Thinking of the list of different lifestyles I mentioned above - that does not even begin to scratch the surface of your unique story - how could we expect a single morning routine to be the final say for what will work best for every person? I enjoy studying the morning routines of people that I look up to. But even if I try my hardest, I will never be exactly like them. Should I be faulted for not fitting into this same mold? Of course not! And neither should you.
Just as with our personal health, our habits and routines should be unique to us. We can look to others for inspiration, and I would recommend this, but ultimately, your routine should be as personal to you as your outfits, daily supplements and favorite flower.
I struggled with this personally when I was plagued with chronic fatigue and depression. My husband and I owned our own business (and still do) and I wanted so badly to be “successful” and successful people woke-up before the sun. I, on the other hand, had days when I was thankful just to be out of bed. At times, this made me feel as though I was less than because I wasn’t performing as I pictured I “should be”. I want to speak to this for a moment.
If you are someone who has a chronic illness, there is a strong likelihood that you will struggle with waking up early. If you have chronic fatigue, you know that your “sleepiness” will not be cured with a good night's sleep. Outside of that, if you have chronic pain, you wake up sore and tired in the morning, often regardless of the quality of sleep you acquired the night before. If this is you, I want you to take a step back from the pressure of what you should be doing and feel at peace knowing there are ways for you to keep moving forward, creating your own definition of successful, without waking up at 4:30 every day.
While your morning routine can set you up for success, putting too much pressure on yourself or using morning routine as a way to burden yourself is not what I am talking about. A morning routine is not about shaming you for where you are not and telling you about what you should be doing better. Morning routines, at their core, should be about setting you up the best you possibly can be for the day that is ahead of you.
Top Two Ways to Bio-Hack Your Morning Routine
1. Start from the top-down
Do you remember in high school when you would plan the next day based on how much sleep you might get that night? Or in college, how you might plan to save all of your homework for the evening and then never get around to doing it? I want you to do the opposite. In order to have a morning routine, you have to prepare for it. You have to prioritize it and you can’t decide that you are going to keep watching Netflix until it’s midnight and then try to wake up the next morning an hour earlier than you usually do. While you are making this a habit, it should be what you plan your days around. Plan for your nights to end a little earlier, because you are prioritizing this new habit. Remember, just like with the Whole30, it takes a full 30 days (no cheating) to make a new habit. Plan your days with your morning in mind. Plan from the top down for 30 days and see the difference it makes in your life.
2. Make your routine personal, but go outside as soon as you wake up.
As we mentioned earlier, there is grace to make your routine unique to you and especially to your health needs. What you might find centering in the morning might not be what I would do, but you should still do it because it’s YOUR morning routine. However, if I can stress the importance of one thing it is this: go outside as soon as you wake up. Practically, breathing in the fresh air will wake you up, feel refreshing, calm you and connect you with the world and your heartbeat. As if that is not enough, the scientifically-backed evidence that grounding can reduce inflammation, reduce pain, reduce stress, speed wound healing and more is well documented. You can read one of my favorite studies on grounding here.
If you need inspiration for your morning routine, borrow one of my regular habits...
Since working towards gaining control of my health, I have been able to adapt a morning routine that empowers me to make the most of every day, for the day it is. One of the steps that has helped me the most in crafting my morning routine is allowing myself grace for days when I sleep-in. If I am having a hard health day, having the flexibility to sleep, but still following through with my morning routine helps me feel in control of my day. It's like telling chronic pain that I am still in charge of my life.
To do this, I have mapped out exactly how long I take for each part of my morning routine. That way, if I need to shave 20-minutes off, I know exactly where I can take from or condense. Having a set amount of time for each practice also encourages me to keep from overindulging in one thing and not getting to the others.
Now It's Your Turn!
Make your own routine that starts your day on a high note. Use the graphic below for additional inspiration. Remember, this is FOR YOU. Include the items that make you feel the most prepared and the most at peace.