Morning Routines for Real Life, Backed by Science
Someone once told me that every day you awake is a good day. Perhaps it doesn’t always seem like it by the end of the day, but I have found that if you take time to savor the morning, it will often change your perspective of the rest of the day.
There are many pieces of advice out there about A.M. routines, what “successful” people do, and how to have the healthiest start to your days. Ever wonder where those people find all of the time? I know. So I’m going to break down for you how my morning routine works in real life. It’s fast, easy, and I think everyone can make work for them.
If interested, make sure to check out the complete articles and scientific studies I reference – because SCIENCE.
Hitting the snooze button is actually detrimental to feeling refreshed. According to research published in the Sleep Health journal, hitting snooze will restart your REM cycle. Instead of completing the cycle just as you’re waking up, when you go back to sleep, you start the cycle over. A few minutes later when your alarm rings for the second time, you are interrupting a REM cycle in the middle. So, when you desperately want to go back to sleep, just imagine how much worse you’ll feel especially when you’re rushing to get out the door. Just open your eyes.
What gets me out of bed in the morning and not going back to sleep is the beautiful scene awaiting me just outside my back door. I wake up, turn off my alarm, take a few deep and conscious breaths and sit up slowly. I feel my feet on the floor and stretch out my toes and my hands.
Next, I greet my pets and they usually follow me to the back door. Together we stand together taking in the sights of the morning. I notice the weather, the ripples on the lake, and wildlife present. Stretching a little more, I feel where I have tension in my body. I say a few prayers and surrender to the Universe.
And that is my morning mindfulness routine. All three to five minutes of it. It is a moment of my day to check in with myself and my surroundings. Scientists are little iffy on whether it actually changes the brain, but do generally agree that it helps people manage daily stress.
After my mindful moment, I like to get one chore done (5-10 minutes maximum) before getting myself and others ready to leave the house. We started this one-chore rule as a way to cope with the sometimes overwhelming amount of house-work. We each choose one task we would like to do in the A.M., and one task in the P.M.. It may be something as simple as collecting all the glasses around the house and putting them in the dishwasher, clearing-off the coffee table, or putting away stray shoes. If I have the time, I’ll throw in some laundry, empty the dishwasher, or wipe down counters too.
After completing my chore, I have noticed that I feel more accomplished and ready to handle other tasks throughout the day. A simple mindset adjustment could help you reduce anxiety and stress, according to an FSU study. That may be why thinking positively about the chore during the work and once completed, feels so good.
By the way, this is a family rule, and we encourage each other to commit even when we really don’t feel like doing it. That doesn’t mean nagging. Sometimes prompting an option, “Would you like to take out the recycling or sweep the front porch?” will help someone get motivated. Other times helping them with their task may be necessary. Either way, we are each supportive of the other working towards that accomplishment.
water water everywhere
Usually after my morning chore, I drink a full glass of water. After sleeping for several hours, people wake up dehydrated and need water to refresh their bodies and jumpstart their metabolism. I’ll drink one more glass right before leaving the house as well. Hydrated body? Check.
suds it up
I usually take a long hot shower before getting into bed at night, but enjoy a short, cold shower in the morning. It makes me feel refreshed and like I’m putting my best, clean, foot forward. There may be something to that: although there is no scientific evidence to whether a cold v hot shower is the best for mornings.
Really, we’re only talking another 5-10 minutes in my routine to feel ready to face the world. I’ll take that time every chance I get.
hug it out
Hugging each other before we leave the house is very important to us as a family. We believe in communicating with each other and voicing our feelings, so hugs help us feel connected and safe. Scientifically, it releases oxytocin, a feel good hormone, and make us feel more relaxed. We make sure to include the pets as well, and everyone is given a little love before going our separate ways.
Realistically, my routine from eyes open to out of the shower has taken only 30 minutes. Each of those minutes has prepared me for the day ahead. My cup has been filled so I can give to others. A short and sweet beginning.
Questions to Ponder: How do I start my day? Is there room for a new practice? What routines are helping me? What routines are limiting my inner and outer peace? How can I help myself wake refreshed?
Wishing you peaceful mornings that fill your cup,
Caitlyn A. Minns
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