I Tried 5 Morning Routines — Here’s What Happened

Morning routines — some people swear by them while others are too busy hitting snooze to even try them. Although I’m not one to have an official plan of action before 8am, the end result tends to be a combination of me stumbling to find my car keys and calculating if I have enough time to buy my $5 coffee (#adulting).

When I (finally) decided to take control of my mornings, I chose methods that didn’t involve me having to wake up at an abnormally early hour or indulge in an outrageous workout plan. With this being said, here are five morning routines I tried, my experience with each one of them, and who I believe they’re best for.

 

 

1st Choice: Working out

While running three miles before you go to work seems intense, it’s pretty much impossible when you’re thinking about it from the comfort of your bed. The trick to working out in the morning is to remind yourself that the task is always more difficult in our minds than in our reality. Even though you don’t have to look forward to your workout, you also don’t have to make the decision to dread it.

On the morning of this routine, I woke up with the goal to go to the gym — and chose to not listen to the excuses for why I was too tired to do so. After 30 minutes of cardio, I was completely refreshed and wondering how it was only 8am. Thus, this option was easily my first choice because it energized me for the day and fulfilled my need to feel productive immediately. With mentality being a huge factor in our everyday lives, the quick 30-minute workout allowed me to relieve stress, feel accountable, and take pride in the fact that I started my day as strongly as I wanted to end it.

Who would benefit from this:

  • People who are groggy in the morning and wish for a natural remedy to wake up
  • People who are trying to live a healthier lifestyle and/or want to create a workout schedule (but find themselves too tired after work)
  • People who hold the feeling of productivity as a high priority

 

Source: Alphacolor 13

 

2nd Choice: Listening to a podcast

Instead of turning on my favorite playlist to wake up to, I decided to indulge in listening to a podcast. Whereas hearing your go-to song may get you pumped up in the morning, a podcast can motivate you in a different way. From inspirational podcasts to informative ones, there’s a genre for every interest and something to learn with every episode.

Similar to how I listen to the radio during my morning drive, I went ahead and substituted a podcast that was based on career tips for creatives. Although there are different podcasts to choose from, I decided on one that would help me look forward to starting my tasks. By the time the episode was over, I was not only completely moved by the story, but was also convinced that I was capable of anything — which is what made this option so ideal for me. Through incorporating a podcast into my morning routine, I engaged my mind to a higher level of thinking and thus felt encouraged to produce work that reflected that.

Who would benefit from this:

  • People who want to stay informed/learn (but without necessarily having to read or focus on one task at a time)
  • People who deem being inspired or motivated a large portion of their productivity
  • People who are looking for a way to jumpstart their thinking in the morning

 

 

3rd Choice: Unplugging

As your alarm goes off, you’re either reaching for your phone to snooze or to scroll. You know what we’re talking about — whether you’re reading your emails or replying back to your texts, the result of us checking social media comes with the cost of unfiltered information and unnecessary pressure.

With my natural reaction to constantly check my notifications, I stuck to this routine by leaving my phone on airplane mode while getting ready for my day. By not having any external distractions, I was able to simply be in the moment and gather my own thoughts (without the knowledge that Andrea posted about her newly engaged status seven hours ago). As someone who works remotely, it’s difficult to avoid my habit of staying engaged online — thus, this option wasn’t my first choice. Nonetheless, the ability to live in a quiet world for a little longer gave me the much-needed breath of fresh air to plan my day and the room to re-ground myself before pursuing it.

Who would benefit from this:

  • People who have a habit of being late because they get caught up refreshing their social media
  • People who are easily distracted and/or lose track of time
  • People who want a quick way to gather their thoughts before their day

 

Source: Wit & Delight

 

4th Choice: Meditating

If you’re familiar with morning routines, you’ll recognize meditation as a popular choice. The idea is simple — in order to truly take on your day, your mind has to be clear enough to comprehend it. While many of us wake up with thoughts racing through our heads and a to-do list that seems just as overwhelming, meditation comes in as a way to calmly consider our responsibilities and beat the anxiety that comes with them.

As someone with little experience in meditation, I aimed for a 10 minute session. Even though the amount of time was doable, I was surprised by how I struggled to only focus on my breathing. I could feel my mind wandering — how many new emails did I have? Where did my dog go? Which booties should I wear with my outfit? Had it been 10 minutes yet?

Regardless of the difficult time I experienced, I felt the positive effects. While this option was out of character for me (and truly didn’t feel like a right fit), I would be willing to do it every now and then instead of every day. The meditation not only helped me recharge in the midst of potential stress, but also made way for a better environment in the morning and was reason for my brighter mood throughout the day.

Who would benefit from this:

  • People who fall victim to their thoughts and don’t know to filter them
  • People who enjoy the feeling of sitting in silence with zero distraction
  • People who are trying to have better control of their thoughts and/or trying to further understand themselves

 

Source: Nathan Dumlao

 

5th Choice: Drinking a tall glass of water

There’s no better way to reach your goal of drinking the suggested amount of water than to start first thing in the morning. In a society where coffee is the universal sign of love (and energy and motivation and every other positive word that exists), the gesture of drinking a glass of water before even thinking about a shot of expresso could be difficult to accomplish.

Nevertheless, there I was gulping down water before giving in to an iced vanilla latte. As my morning continued, I realized I felt more awake and less in need of a snack to satisfy my stomach. My explanation for why this is my last choice is simply that I’ve never been an avid water drinker and found the option of working out as a more beneficial way for me to get my water intake AND workout in. Regardless, a glass of water in the morning was a nice (and natural) change — to have my body feel cleansed and my mind feel cleared. Along with kickstarting my metabolism early in the day, this routine was one that was hydrating and helpful.

Who would benefit from this:

  • People who are wishing to cut down on caffeine
  • People who can’t work out in the morning
  • People who are mindful of their water intake and consider it important to them

 

What does your morning routine consist of? Which of these are you most inclined to try?

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