How Do You Create A Morning Routine? 9 Tips To Find One That Works For You, According To Experts
There are two types of people in this world: morning people, and decidedly not-morning people. If you are a night owl, waking up, getting dressed, and being ready on time for work in the early hours of the morning can feel straight-up impossible. If you tend to hit the "snooze" button on your alarm, you probably end up ignoring something on your morning checklist to account for the extra Zzz's — whether that's skipping breakfast, using dry shampoo instead of showering, or buying a lunch because you didn't have time to pack it. While we all have our preferences on if we'd rather go to bed late or wake up early, creating a solid morning routine can be advantageous not just for the course of your day, but for your health overall.
"Morning routines can help provide a foundation for your mental health throughout the day. This includes an increase in positive mood, a decrease in anxiety, and overall gives way to a more satisfying day," Monique Castro, a psychotherapist and owner of the Indigenous Circle of Wellness, tells Bustle. In fact, a recent study published showed that maintaining a daily routine has a positive impact on your mental health, and overall cognitive functioning. So, even if you identify as a night owl, creating a morning routine that works for you is invaluable.
And, the good part is, you don't need to wake up long before the sun rises to foster a healthy morning routine. Experts say these nine tricks will help you feel refreshed and ready for the day in the AM, even if you are in a rush.
1. Keep It Simple
If you're a newbie to the concept of a morning routine, don't over-complicate things. Alison Mariella Désir-Figueroa, an entrepreneur, activist, and mental health counselor in training, says to keep things simple.
"You don't have to be a Yogi or a mindfulness expert to set aside some time to set your intentions for the day, or do wake up stretches," she explains. "I used to intimidate myself out of doing anything at all by setting high expectations for what my morning routine should look like. So, start simple — it's most important to stick with what you commit to."
2. Prepare For The Next Day
If you're buzzing with energy late at night, use some of the excess to prepare for what needs to be done in the morning. Castro suggests to "pick out your outfit, iron clothes, and place things out in a visible place so you don’t forget them" to make your morning routine run a little smoother. You can even prep your lunch, or get a head start on sorting through emails so the following work day seems less daunting.
3. Make Your Routine Enjoyable
"This may seem obvious, but if you dread your morning routine, you won't be invested in it," says Désir-Figueroa. Even if you are in a rush, pick one or two enjoyable (or relaxing!) activities that you can incorporate into your morning routine. Consider allotting time to whip up your fave delicious breakfast, or download a new audiobook you can get lost in on your commute to work.
4. Focus Your Energy On What *Needs* To Happen
Picking tasks to prioritize can be difficult, but learning time management skills is key to having a healthy A.M. routine. "If time is limited and you are in a rush, it’s helpful to focus on the 'needs,' versus 'wants,'" says Castro. "This will help save time otherwise wasted on things that are not important. For example, you 'need' to brush your teeth, but may have 'wanted' to curl your hair." As you learn to manage your time in the morning, you'll figure out when you can incorporate the "wants," but at least you'll know the "needs" are taken care of.
5. Ask A Roomie To Keep You Accountable
Yes, we are all responsible for our own actions, but relying on a trusted friend to make sure you stay on-task in the mornings can be a huge help. "My husband and I do separate things in the morning, but make sure to always drink our coffee together," explains Désir-Figueroa, adding that "enlisting your roommate or partner in parts of your routine if you're in need of accountability" is one way to create a healthy routine.
6. Have A Back-Up Plan
When you're in a hurry to catch the subway or beat morning traffic so you are on time for work, it can be pretty easy to leave behind important items — which can easily through off your entire morning . Castro says to, "Keep important things you will need in a place such as a backpack or purse, car, or in a drawer at work. It’s a huge relief when you have a back-up plan." If you have a habit of constantly forgetting or misplacing things, Women's Health reported different psychological techniques can also decrease your forgetfulness.
7. Slow Down & Refocus
If you only have a limited amount of time to get going in the morning, it may be easy to feel overwhelmed with the tasks you have to complete. However, giving into your stress is counterproductive to establishing a healthy morning routine.
"Rushing increases stress and anxiety, which will impact your ability to think clearly," Castro explains, suggesting you should "stop for a few moments to take some deep breaths to refocus."
8.Get Some Inspiration
You may not be a morning person, but that doesn't mean you can't look to those who are for some inspiration on what parts of your routine should look like. Désir-Figueroa says to "borrow from other people's routines as you establish your own," especially because there could be a bit of a "learning curve" for you.
9. Just Keep Trying Till Something Sticks
We all face individual challenges, and have unique strengths and needs, so finding a healthy routine can vary from one person to the next. Castro says, "It’s helpful to experiment with different routines and plans, and to learn what works best for you." Once you do find something that helps your mornings go off without a hitch, she says to "be consistent so it will become a new habit."
Maybe you'll never be the person that can wake up three hours before work even begins to take a 6 A.M. spinning class, or heck, even an 8 A.M. stretch. But, that's totally okay. You can still create a morning routine that fosters relaxation, productivity, and sets you up to succeed the rest of the day.