Creating and sticking to a morning self care routine can set you up to succeed in your daily goals. These tips can help even the non-morning person flourish and feel more centered throughout the day.
What is a Morning Self Care Routine?
Do you turn off your alarm and press the snooze button? You may be saying that is self-care because you are gifting yourself some much needed sleep. I don’t blame you! Sometimes we need to respond to our body’s messages when it’s tired.
However, pressing snooze has its consequences. Instead of waking up feeling refreshed, we feel pressured to quickly get things done. The morning rush creates stress, increases anxiety, and sets the stage for a hectic day. In the long run, it may be more trouble than it’s worth.
The term self-care refers to our ability to care for ourselves by way of some type of action that provides comfort and enhances wellbeing. It involves a two-step method.
First, it is the action of tuning into our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs. Second, it involves our own individual action to provide ourselves with a helpful response to meet this need.
A morning self care routine is simply doing these actions for ourselves when we wake up. They are helpful actions we do to supply ourselves with care before we start the daily grind.
For example, making a hot cup of tea and a hearty breakfast to enjoy in the morning can take care of our physical hunger. It will also fuel and energize the mind and body to prepare for the many tasks ahead.
4 Reasons to Start a Morning Self Care Routine
By way of setting aside a specific amount of time for a morning self care routine, we are starting the day with prioritizing our own needs.
- When we take care of ourselves, we nourish the mind, heart and soul. We can be better for ourselves and enhance our ability to operate optimally for those around us.
- It also guarantees that we will do something important for our wellbeing. If we leave self care to the evenings, we may be too tired to follow through. It is easy to ignore this step in the interest to do something else or give attention to someone else.
- Reduces the stress and overwhelm that accompanies a busy morning
- Improves a sense of balance and calm that you will carry throughout the day
Setting up a morning self-care routine definitely has its benefits. But, how do you make sure that you follow it consistently?
How to Create a Morning Routine and Stick to It
Start with visualization
A brief visualization exercise can help you imagine your perfect morning. For a moment, forget about what your current routine is. Allow yourself to briefly close your eyes and envision the things that you wish you could do in the morning.
If you had an extra 15 minutes to do something that would nourish your mind, heart, and/or body, how would you spend it? What would you like to do?
Visualization allows you to be creative and get to the heart of your desires. Through visualization, you may learn what self-care can look like for you. You may naturally be drawn to the area of your life that needs a little bit more love and attention.
If you are coming up with interesting ideas but then stop yourself with, yes…but… moments, gently return to task. Try again to envision your ideal morning without trying to figure out the logistics just yet.
The purpose of the visualization exercise is only to help you identify one or two things that are possibilities. Think about what will give you energy, bring you calm, empower you, and create balance in your day.
Once you choose an activity, then you can get into problem solving ways to make your ideal morning happen.
Create an Answer to Combat Excuses and Negative Thoughts
As you go through this process, you may come up with various reasons for and against switching up your mornings. This is natural and expected.
Change is difficult even when we want to change and do something that can greatly improve our lives. Most of us struggle to implement new helpful strategies even when we know the benefits.
Being aware of negative thoughts and addressing excuses is how to create a morning routine and stick to it. Knowing what potentially holds you back will help you move past it and make your new morning sustainable.
Some common excuses or justifications are:
- I’m not a morning person
- I don’t have time for self-care
- I’m too busy in the morning
- I have children and can’t take time for myself
- I need to rush and beat the traffic
- Sleeping in is better for me
- Self-care talk is mumbo jumbo
Whatever justification or thought that comes to mind, it is time to create an answer to it. Problem solve around the things that are keeping you from caring for yourself. These things are getting in the way of your success and progress.
Prioritize Your Morning Self Care Routine
Prioritize yourself and your mental health. Maintaining mental wellness takes practice and is a long-term game.
Being consistent with a morning self-care routine will pay mental health dividends over time.
Imagine what you will gain with peace of mind. What will happen if you set aside 5-15 minutes each morning?
Creating a morning self care routine and sticking to it can strengthen your mind, body, and spirit.
Start the Day with Something Relaxing or Fun
The self-care activity you choose should evoke a positive feeling. It should be relaxing, fun, and something that you look forward to doing. This is another way to make sure you create a morning self care routine and stick to it.
If it’s boring or feels like a chore, you will definitely not want to do it. You will find yourself postponing it or filling up the morning with other tasks. Make sure it is something that improves your state of wellbeing. If you searching for some ideas, keep reading to the end.
Hold Off on Social Media and Electronics
Cell phones are an amazing invention. But, they can quickly erode our best efforts to be present with ourselves and live in the moment. Many of us are guilty of scrolling through the phone first thing in the morning.
Browsing social media posts, reviewing the news, responding to texts and answering emails all before even getting out of bed. It may feel productive but often times these activities have a counter effect and increase stress levels.
Instead of reaching for the phone first thing, practice delaying responding to emails or texts. They will still be there after you’ve done your new morning self care routine.
Be Kind to Yourself and Be Flexible
As mentioned before, change is hard. Even when trying your best, things happen. Some days you will be very motivated and other days you will be more tired. This is ok. Avoid being harsh with yourself. Don’t allow negative criticizing thoughts to interrupt your progress.
While learning how to create a morning routine and stick to it, you may experience setbacks. Using flexibility to reorganize your mornings and stay on track is the key to success.
Hopefully, after few days of starting self-care in the mornings, you will start to experience a positive shift in your mood. But, if you don’t, this is ok too. It’s ok to switch up how you practice self-care, the length of time, the days, the type of activity you do, etc.
There are no rules. Just be kind to yourself. You deserve it.
What are Some Morning Self Care Routine Ideas?
Mindfulness is the practice of being present and aware in the moment without judgment. Practicing mindfulness has been found to reduce stress, anxiety, and improve mood.
Adding mindfulness to your morning routine means paying attention and focusing on the present actions you are doing. Many of our morning tasks are automatic and we do them without much thought (i.e., drinking cup of coffee).
Practicing mindfulness means you stay present and aware of what is happening around you. For example, with a cup of coffee, you may bring intentional awareness to the sounds, smells, and taste.
The sound of the coffee machine as it’s brewing and the sound of coffee pouring into your cup. The smell of the coffee grounds before and after its made. The sensation of the hot cup of coffee against your hands as you pick it up. Then the taste and flavor of the coffee as you take your first sip. Then the feeling the heat as the warm drink travels down your throat.
How often are we aware of this? How often do we spend time with ourselves, savoring that coffee or tea? Mindfulness allows us to slow down and appreciate how this morning routine can be a form of self-care and bring us joy.
The good thing about mindfulness is that you can apply this practice to everything. Just pick an activity and try.
Physical activity is related to physical and emotional wellbeing. After consulting with your medical provider, consider spending some time in the morning participating in movement.
Adding a light exercise, stretching, yoga or other physical practice in the morning can energize you.
Spend Time with Animals, Plants, or Nature
Spending time with animals or tending to live plants also have health benefits. Nurturing other living things in turn nurtures our spirits. Spending 5-10 minutes with your pet or plant is a gentle way to start the day.
If walking the dog in the morning has become routine, maybe take a different route. What will the two of you discover on this adventure? It’s a great way to practice mindfulness, get physical movement, and extra love.
Schedule Leisure Time for the Morning
Listening to music, reading a book, journaling, adding another piece to that jigsaw puzzle can be rewarding. Why not do it in the morning as part of your morning self care routine?
If you wish you had more time to follow through with your hobbies, try adding them to your morning routine. Regularly engaging in pleasurable activities reduces stress and improves mood. It also counts as self-care.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Spend some time thinking about what self-care means to you. What can you add to your morning that will help you to have a better day?
Get Support with Your Morning Self Care Routine from a Therapist in Rockland County, NY
Prioritizing your mental health is vital to your overall wellbeing. As an anxiety therapist, I am an advocate for self-care and creating a healthy lifestyle. Schedule a complimentary 15 minute consultation to see how I can help. Therapy is available to New York state residents online.