I firmly believe that the tone of your day is set by how you spend your first hour awake. My morning approach is to take things slowly, mindfully and practically. Making self-care a priority in my mornings means that I have more energy in the day to do other things because I’ve taken some time for myself, rather than just rushing straight into the day.
As a creature of habit, I thrive best when I’m working off of a set routine. Naturally, I have developed my own routine for mornings. Here’s what self-care in my mornings looks like:
The first step of any morning routine is often the hardest—and that’s actually leaving your bed. I wake up at least an hour before I have anything else that I need to do. This gives me enough time to complete my routine without feeling rushed. Here are some tricks that help me wake up:
- Aim for at least seven hours of sleep.
- Set two alarms within 10 minutes of one another.
- Don’t press snooze—or do it only on the first alarm, but make sure you move by the second alarm.
- Open your blinds or curtains as soon as you step out of bed. I find that letting some sunshine into your room helps stave off the desire to want to sleep.
Drink warm water
Before eating anything, I always make sure to drink at least a glass of warm water. I mix boiled water from a kettle with some cold water, sometimes also adding a slice of lemon. This is something that my mother got me in the habit of doing years ago. I would later learn that warm water first thing in the morning helps stimulate your digestive system.
I find no better way to wake myself up in the morning than by moving around. I do five to seven minutes of mobility and core exercises. I like to do some of the yoga poses found on the movement breaks page of the Ryerson website. This alleviates the stiffness in my joints after lying in bed for so long, and provides me with a boost of energy. Occasionally, I will go on a jog, run or bike ride. However, as much as I love being outdoors and getting some fresh air, I normally don’t have the time to incorporate these in my mornings so I usually reserve them for the weekend.
I only take a maximum of 20 minutes to make myself presentable to society. I like to shower after I work out and aside from my mobility exercises, I don’t work out until the afternoon or evening.
I start getting ready by first brushing my teeth. I then cleanse my face and shave, before proceeding with the rest of my skincare routine. This consists of applying a toner, a moisturizer and a sunscreen. I always apply sunscreen even if I’m not going outside because UVA rays still penetrate windows.
Even if no one is seeing me, I still like to style my hair and change into something other than my pajamas because it just helps get me into a productive mood.
Skipping breakfast due to a lack of time should not be happening now considering many of us can literally take our classes with us into the kitchen. Breakfast restores your glucose levels, which are vital for optimum brain function. And we as students need to use our brains!
I keep my breakfasts to dishes that I can make in under 10 minutes. This can be something like Greek yogurt with berries and granola, or scrambled eggs on toast. I’ll brew coffee or tea as I’m preparing my breakfast. Oftentimes, I’ll actually take my breakfast in front of my computer and eat it during my lectures.
I have touted the benefits of keeping a journal in previous blog posts. I find that writing in it in the morning is the time when it’s most impactful since it helps you think about your intentions for the day. There is no one way to journal, but I usually start with writing these three prompts:
- I will let go of…
- I am grateful for…
- I will focus on…
Writing positive, grateful feelings in my journal helps me practice gratitude for the things I have in my life.
Don’t feel pressured to follow my morning routine to a tee—everyone’s different. You are welcome to try mine out, but you need to determine what works best for you. Once you find something that sticks, make a conscious effort to do it every morning.