How you start your day impacts the rest of your day. Here are a few ideas for a simple, yet effective morning routine for busy women.
When I first heard about morning routines, I thought, nope, not for me. I am not sacrificing sleep in order to ‘start my day off amazing”
Plus, most of the proponents of morning routines were men. I recall once throwing a book across the room when the author suggested a 2 hour, uninterrupted, distraction-free marathon of meditation, journaling, inspired reading, exercising, and several other “game changers”. I think what angered me most was that this man had very young children. What was his wife doing during these sacred 2 hours? Did she get to experience the magic of a morning routine?
At the time, I also had small children, a husband that worked out of town during the week, a demanding full-time job, and a commute. Surviving and keeping my kids happy and healthy were my main goals in those days.
And yet, I knew I needed something to get out of survival mode – that’s why I was reading those books after all.
Once I got over my victimhood, I started to think about how I could get some of the purported benefits of a morning routine under my given circumstances.
Enter the 10-minute routine.
Every morning, I would very quietly get up from bed, brush my teeth and drink some water. Then I would do a short mindfulness breathing exercise, write a few thoughts and intentions down in a journal and jump on my trampoline for about 3 minutes. (yes, I own a trampoline and I love it!!).
This 10-minute routine actually did change my days. When I started my day doing something for myself, something amazing happened – I felt more in control of my life and even a little bit happier.
Studies show that feeling more in control, or autonomous, can contribute to overall life satisfaction.
The little bit of control at the start of my day changed how I felt about my life. Even if the rest of my day was subject to the whim of my children, traffic, or my job, those first few minutes were mine.
Of course, there were days that the kids woke up, and my time was interrupted. I learned how to incorporate them into my routine instead of giving up entirely. Breathwork and journaling can be done with a child on your lap, and movement is even more fun with a carefree 3-year-old.
These days, I actually get a little earlier and do an extended version of my routine. I have grown to love this time in the morning and really do feel that my days are more productive and successful.
My work is just as demanding and my kids still need me but I feel so powerful and in control when I take the first part of my day to do something just for me even if I have to get up before the chickens.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:
Set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier than your normal wake-up time. Some suggest putting your alarm at a distance that requires you to actually get out of bed to turn it off. Your call if you think that will work for you.
Once you’re up, there’s no getting back in bed!
Go to the restroom, brush your teeth and drink a full glass of water
Start with mindful breathing
Find a spot where you can sit upright comfortably. Put your feet on the floor. Close your eyes if that’s comfortable for you. If not, lower your gaze.
Start by taking 2 deep breaths: in through your nose and exhale completely through your mouth
Then seal your lips and start breathing in and out through your nose
You may want to try counting to 4 on your inhale and 4 on your exhale, you can experiment with extending the count to 5 or 6
Do about 8-10 cycles
Return to normal breathing and open your eyes
Next up: Journaling
Start with a couple of powerful questions. Here are some ideas:
How do I want to feel today?
What are my top 3 goals for today?
What do I want to accomplish no matter what?
What is my intention for today?
What am I grateful for?
The simplest and most fun choice here is dancing. Play an energizing song and dance!
Or bounce on your trampoline. There’s no right answer here, just do something to get your blood moving.
Now enjoy the beautiful day ahead…