Morning routines are getting a bit ridiculous. There are lists out there that would take you a full damn day to get your day started. Wake up early, exercise, meditate, plan your day, read, don’t check your email, drink water, give thanks, have breakfast, write a book, solve poverty, run for president… you get the idea.
Most of these just aren’t practical, especially for those of us that aren’t early risers (ahem, yup that’s me). On a typical morning, I roll out of bed, brush my teeth, have a quick cup of coffee and I’m off to work or a meeting. The morning routine hasn’t been a priority for much of my life.
The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.Mike Murdock
Despite my usual mornings, I do recognize the value of priming your day through such routines. What I needed though was something a bit more practical. The past few weeks I’ve been working on my own version of a morning routine, a Morning Routine Lite if you will. Something much more streamlined and actually doable in the short amount of time I allow myself in the mornings. It goes something like this.
1. Get enough sleep
The first step doesn’t even require you to do anything in the morning. Rather, it’s just a matter of getting to bed early enough that you can get at least 7ish hours of shut eye. Sleep is the one thing I don’t sacrifice when it comes to my routine and the benefits are endless.
I get around 7 hours consistently and that keeps me going throughout the day.I’ve never been a fan of naps, as I typically end up feeling like shit after taking one, so I prefer just getting enough sleep in the first place (and don’t forget to make your bed).
Estimated time: N/A
2. Drink 16 oz of water
After you use the restroom and brush your teeth, the next step should be to have a tall glass of water to prime your body for the day. Having water as you wake up will fire up your metabolism, flush toxins, wake up your mind, and re-hydrate your body.
You can fill up a jug of water to leave by your bedside to make this even easier.
Estimated time: 30 seconds
3. Have a quick stretch
We do this naturally as we wake up, but taking a few minutes to properly stretch out our body is a valuable practice. When we’re asleep, the blood circulation in our body isn’t reaching many of our muscle, which is why we are stiff. Doing a few simple stretches can get your blood flowing and bring back mobility to your joints and muscles.
I recently got an inversion table, which is another way to get a full body stretch and get your blood moving, but even a quick stretch or yoga routine will improve your circulation and relieve stress.
Estimated time: 5 minutes
4. Take a cold shower, while you plan the day
I figured this was a perfect combination because what else do you really have to do in the shower? So let’s walk through this step. First, take a cold shower. There’s definitely no better way to wake up in the morning, as the morning jolt of a cold shower is unlike anything else.
More importantly, cold showers are actually good for you. They can improve circulation, stimulate weight loss, speed up muscle recovery, and ease stress. Read more here.
Now as you’re taking your shower, prepare for your day. Figure out what you need to accomplish. Identify your most important task. Prepare your mind to hit the ground running. This part can also be done as you’re getting dressed, making breakfast, etc – the point is to take some time to plan out your day.
Estimated time: 10 minutes
5. Make coffee and meditate
I can’t do without my morning cup of coffee, but what if we made this ritual something more? I’ve recently been exploring the idea of turning anything into a practice in meditation. In this case, making your morning cup can be the perfect opportunity to clear your mind and mentally prepare yourself for the rest of the day.
Lear more about how to integrate meditation into anything here.
Estimated time: 3 minutes
6. Listen to a podcast on your commute
If you don’t have a commute, just start playing the podcast after you have your coffee or as you make your breakfast. This step is flexible and can happen at any point in your routine. The point is to get your mind warmed up for what is to come.
Estimated time: depends on commute, but you can fit this in anywhere
TOTAL TIME: ~ 20 minutes
his is what works for me, but more importantly, you should find a routine that suits you best. If there’s anything I learned from reading Daily Rituals, a book about the rituals and routines of the most brilliant minds in the world, was that there is no right way to prepare yourself for the day.
Everyone does things differently. All you can do is try the things that others have before you and pay attention to what works and what doesn’t.
Create a routine that makes sense for you and you alone.
Image via flickr