Productive, happy days… It’s all in the power of your morning routine habits.
The morning sunshine that filters into my bedroom through the blinds is one of the things that instantly put me in a good mood.
Coincidentally, leaving my blinds slightly opened and allowing that light to enter the room as the Sun rises, is one of the ways I trick myself into getting out of bed early. Another “trick” I use is to always have a pair of cozy socks under my pillow.
Most days during the week though, my day starts way before the Sun rises. Then, of course, there are also those days when the Sun doesn’t shine as bright, days that are gloomy and cloudy.
The good news is that you can easily make those gloomy and dark mornings better and brighter. Even your morning commute doesn’t have to feel like a waste of time.
It’s all about creating a morning routine that fits your lifestyle, needs and one that… will help make your days happy and productive, regardless of the weather outside your bedroom window.
MORNING ROUTINE HABITS FOR A HAPPY + PRODUCTIVE DAY
ALWAYS MAKE YOUR BED
Making my bed in the morning was the first habit I remember developing. My dad would always stress the importance of making the bed in the morning, telling us that it was something he learned in the Navy. Being a kid, I found it kind of annoying, just like the rest of the little chores we were responsible for growing up. Little did I know, many years later I’d watch a commencement speech delivered by a US Navy Admiral and hear the words: “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”
It’s a habit that can make your life better and help you develop stronger discipline. The simple task of making your bed doesn’t just help you start the day on a positive note. It’s also one of those keystone rituals that can help you develop other habits that will make your life easier and more productive.
Making your bed in the morning just looks and… feels better. It gives you that small sense of accomplishment. And all it takes is a few minutes. When you get home from work after a tough day, the sight of a neatly-made bed alone can help you feel relaxed and calm. Now, imagine you get home, enter your bedroom and find a messy bed. There’s a pile of pillows lying around, clothes and a bunch of other things sitting on top of and around your bed. It doesn’t seem too fun or relaxing. There are a few very small things that you do every morning which set the tone for the rest of your day- making your bed is definitely one of them.
DO NOT REACH FOR YOUR PHONE
In today’s world, most of us are constantly “connected” to our phones, laptops, other countless devices, and outlets throughout the day. Why not cherish those first few moments of the day, before exposing yourself to the constant information overload you’re guaranteed to experience?
Reaching for your phone first thing in the morning immediately draws your attention to the things you’ve missed while you were sleeping. Whether it’s news, emails, text messages. All those new notifications can easily cause stress. Suddenly, you find yourself thinking about solving problems or catching up on things before you get a chance to brush your teeth or even get out of bed. The truth is, most of that stuff, if not all of it, can easily wait until your day officially starts.
HAVE A GOOD STRETCH
Ideally, you would have a nice, decent workout every day, early in the morning. In reality, though, most of us have way too much going on to make that a priority. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Some people also don’t like or can’t tolerate working out in the morning. I’d love to be able to get my workouts out of the way early in the day, but I always get extreme nausea when exercising in the morning.
Let’s also not forget that stretching is just as important as regular exercise. The good news is that all you need is a 5-10 minute stretch or little yoga session to energize yourself and get ready for the day. A good, morning stretch will kick-start your energy. It’s a good way to let your body know that it’s time to get going. It also improves circulation and helps your muscles perform better in the day ahead. If you often wake up feeling tense, making yoga or gentle stretch session one of your morning routine habits can help you relax those muscles more easily.
MAKE MEDITATION A PART OF YOUR MORNING ROUTINE
The busier your days are, the more you can benefit from a regular meditation practice. Meditation will help clear out your busy mind. It will filter out external noise and help counteract stress. You can even do it before you get out of bed, while still lying down.
As it becomes a daily habit, it will help you feel more balanced, energized, emotionally stable, and at peace. Having that clarity will allow you to stay focused and intentional about the tasks and goals you’ll want to complete. It’s a great tool to use if you want to set yourself up for a productive day.
This was a key for me becoming a morning person, after years of dealing with sleep patterns that were completely out of whack. I always make sure to have something small and exciting to look forward to, every single morning. Something that will make my getting up extra early worth the effort.
It can be journaling, reading a chapter of a good book. Taking a morning walk with my dog, or just sipping on my peppermint tea, while the rest of the house is still asleep. Those are tiny self-care habits that I don’t get to do every single day if my schedule is fully packed. This is why I like to take advantage of my mornings. It’s actually one of my favorite morning routine habits. I mean, who says that you can’t start your day with a nice hot bath? Coffee in one hand and a piece of toast in the other? You don’t have to wait until the end of the day or week to treat yourself a little. If you have something important or stressful planned for the day, get up early. Start your day by doing something small and special for yourself.
Life really is as special as you make it. You don’t have to have a lot of time or money to do those little things that make you feel good and happy.
Nothing makes your mornings more stressful than being in a rush or running late. When you’re in a rush you’re more likely to get frustrated and find little things annoying. Your mornings set the tone for the rest of your day. If you’re whining and complaining the minute you wake up, everything (and everyone) will irritate you.
Plan ahead. Get up 30 minutes early and see how big of a difference it can make. If you feel like there aren’t enough hours left in your day for you to practice some self-care, try getting up early and spend some time preparing for the day. If you’re not much of a morning person, this won’t be easy at first. It doesn’t mean that it’s impossible, though. This comes from a former night owl, who still struggles with sleep at times.
MAXIMIZE YOUR COMMUTE
Take advantage of your commute and learn something new. Listen to an audiobook or a podcast. I love Audible, for instance, and listen to audiobooks on my way to work, all the time. Usually, I like to listen to something from my self-growth library (Solve for Happy, Someday Is Not a Day in The Week, The Power of Habit). You can even use that time to brush up your Spanish. Point is, you can do something productive, even when you’re stuck in the morning traffic.
Of course, all of our routines and morning habits are different. My day probably doesn’t look the same as yours. Some people get to get up at 8 am, others are well on their way to work at that time. Then, there are some of us who work night shifts and spend their mornings trying to catch up on sleep. You don’t have to have the exact same routine as others, to embrace a few better morning routine habits.
While most of my mornings start at 5.30am, yours might not start until 9 am. It’s all about finding and creating a routine that works for you. None of these habits are extremely involved or difficult. Yet, they can all help make your days happy and productive, regardless of when your “morning” actually starts.