I used to wake up, normally grumpy and the first thing that comes into my mind was ‘hey, I got too little sleep’. Then I would snooze 2 times, get up with a little resistance, rush into the bathroom and to the kitchen for breakfast. All in high-speed, because I’m already late.
I liked the adrenaline of this ‘jump-start’, feeling alive and awake. But about 15 min after waking up, I already felt restless and stressed. And the day still had to start!
The other version of my mornings is when I don’t have to leave home for work. I wake up slowly, stay in bed, think about yesterday and what is ahead of me, and then…grab my cellphone and get totally lost in social media and endless browsing. Often, hunger or the urge to pee gets me out of bed. By then, I feel lazy, wasting precious hours.
There was room for improvement.
How does your perfect morning look like?
There are all kinds of advice for the most productive morning routine. Some swear on a run in the morning, others on a morning cup of hot water with lemon and tumeric. One thing, the world wide web agrees on, is that a good morning ritual has a lot of advantages and über-productive and successful people do it. So I thought: let’s give it a try.
And I found it: my happy morning procedure. It is a ‘work in progress’ and an ongoing experiment for me. And of course, I don’t do it EVERY single morning, there is always room for exceptions. But it is a nice way to start my day. I share it with you, curious how your first hour of the day looks like and maybe there is something, that inspires you to integrate it into your own practice.
My morning routine:
Super important for me is enough sleep. I know, some say they are totally fine with 6 hours, but many of them fall asleep in the metro, in front of the telly etc. My life is so much better when I have 8 to 9 hours of sleep: I can concentrate fully; I’m more calm and relaxed, I am creative and have the full energy to rock my day.
My alarm clock: I used to choose a noisy tone that panics me to shut it down. It definitely waked me up, but also created tention. Now I wake up with a beautiful song by Snatam Kaur. I can’t be mad at her waking me up. I feel relaxed, start singing along and the song stays in my head, and often it gives me a smile on my face – is there a better way to start?
If you use your phone as your alarm clock, ignore the urge to check messages or emails right away. I sometimes do my phone in flight modus at night, to sleep and wake up totally undisturbed.
My first move is to reach to my water bottle next to my bed. Drinking water in the morning definitely helps me to wake up. I normally drink 0.3 – 0.5l water on room temperature. I recently learned, that the dull and fatigue feeling in the morning is often thirst and being dehydrated after many hours of sleep. The water wakes up the body and metabolism.
This is where the fun part begins. I write every morning in my journal. Mostly I do what is called ‘morning pages’. Writing down 3 full pages by hand whatever comes up in your mind is a great practice. It might take a while to get used to this, but try it and you will see. It helps me to clear up my mind, to silence my inner critic, to have more creative ideas, to be mindful and to come up with my to-do list.
Do you not know how to fill up 3 pages? This is my structure that I keep in mind when my inner voice is quiet. Remember, there is no right or wrong.
I get my sketchbook and start doodling. I make some quick sketches and colour them with aquarel paint. I love to do this while I’m still in bed and make use of a brush with an integrated water container, that my dear mum gave me (before, it got a little crazy spilling water and paint in bed).
It doesn’t matter how tiny the drawing is and the result is not important, this is creative playtime. Doodling gets me into my creative modus. Often I get new ideas for future artwork. If you don’t know what to draw, you can look at the sketch from yesterday, choose one thing that you love and start from there. I like this short, daily practice. Especially on days that I don’t paint in the studio.
If you are not a painter or you don’t like doodling, you can use this time for anything that is very close to your heart. If you are a writer, write. If you want to learn guitar, play the guitar. 10 minutes for your passion.
As an extra, I combine the sketching with some personal development. I listen/watch to inspirational video’s. If you are like me, you have a whole list of topics where you like to learn more about. I listen to podcasts, TED-talks or videos from Brene Brown, Oprah, Tim Ferriss or any other inspirational show I want to learn from.
Depending of my schedule for the day, I meditate from 3 minutes with breathing exercises (I like alternate nostril breathing) up to a 20-minute guided meditation.
Often I use an app called Insight Timer or I do a 10-min meditation with the Headspace app, a really easy tool to introduce you to meditation.
It took me a while to get used to meditation, but now I love it and the feeling afterwards. It's worth it to give it a try!
In the morning, the body is stiff and needs to wake up and get flexible. A little stretch goes a long way. Recently, I do a 5-minute Morning Yoga with Adriene (I love Adriene!). A full body stretch and a twist, or you can do push-ups, work on your abs- you name it. It’s all done in less than 5 minutes.
7. Getting dressed and bathroom
Brushing your teeth, shower, make up… this is all up to you.
Mostly I make a green smoothie (I've finally found a combination I like with apple, banana, frozen mango, avocado, spinach and mixed seeds) or eat a bowl of muesli with fruits and yoghurt. While breakfast it is time to finally give some attention to my cellphone and I feel ready to get sucked up in the big, big world. Whoop whoop.
- wake up relaxed after enough sleep
- drink bottle of water
- write in a journal
- creative playtime
- getting dressed and bathroom
After these practices, I feel relaxed, focused and ready to have a great day.
What about you?
I’d love to hear about your routine, too. Feel free to share your morning schedule here in the comments.
All the best, happy mornings and see you soon!
Big hug, Lisa