Starting your day with a mindful morning routine can make a big difference in your mood, energy and productivity!
I often share snippets of my mindful morning routine on Instagram and so many people have asked me about it that it deserves a blog post.
You’ve probably seen people talk about their morning routine and how to squeeze in as much as possible. I get it. We live in a capitalistic society and it feels like we have to do all the things all the time. But I want to talk about a mindful morning routine. The mindfulness part is what sets apart a ridgid morning routine from a flexible morning routine.
What is Mindfulness?
First let’s talk about the mindfulness part of a mindful morning routine. According to the American Psychological Association, mindfulness is “a moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment. In this sense, mindfulness is a state and not a trait. While it might be promoted by certain practices or activities, such as meditation, it is not equivalent to or synonymous with them.”
What this means is that while meditation is a practice commonly used to achieve mindfulness, that doesn’t mean that meditation is required to be mindful. To me, mindfulness is simply being present. You’re completely present in whatever it is you’re doing. Which is easier said than done as many of us are constantly worrying about things that need to get done.
And I love the “without judgement” part of the APA’s mindfulness definition. We can be so darn critical of ourselves. When’s the last time you did something without judging yourself for how you did it? Can you practice true non-judgement and neutrality with yourself?
You can be mindful in anything you do, if you try. It can be tough at first, which is why meditation is such a helpful practice to strengthen your mindfulness muscle, if you will.
Consider what it would like to do seemingly menial tasks mindfully. Mindfully take a shower. Mindfully fold the laundry. Mindfully wash the dishes. Mindfully brush your teeth. I personally get caught up in multi-tasking and rushing from one thing to the next so mindfulness is key to helping me focus and complete tasks thoughtfully.
Curious about mindful eating? Read more about that here.
Why Does Morning Mindfulness Matter?
You might be wondering why mindfulness matters and if it has any real benefits. What would a mindful morning versus a not mindful morning look like?
For me, a not mindful morning would mean checking social media and email before I get out of bed, potentially laying there for way too long before getting up and rushing around. It would mean hurrying through making and drinking my smoothie, probably not interacting with my husband or my cats very much, if at all. It would mean sitting down to work already feeling anxious and stressed. I felt my heart rate rising just typing this.
On the other hand, a mindful morning would mean intentionally holding off on screen time for a little bit. Greeting my husband and my cats. Spending some quiet time alone. Thoughtfully making and drinking my smoothie. And coming to my desk in a calm and energized mood, ready to take on the day.
Obviously the first scenario sounds way less pleasant than the latter. But this isn’t just about me – let’s talk about the science!
Research has found mindfulness to be associated with increased memory, focus and intuition and decreased emotional reactivity. Sounds good to me!
Mindfulness meditation is associated with even more benefits, including increased immune function, creativity and productivity as well as decreased pain, inflammation and stress.
Curious about meditation? Read more about that here.
My Mindful Morning Routine
I first got serious about a mindful morning routine a couple years ago when I was still working my day job in an office downtown. I wanted to bring some peace to my mornings before I started running around to get ready for work and head out the door to start my commute.
I’ll be honest, my mindful morning routine has ebbed and flowed since I first started it. For some periods of time, it was relatively nonexistent. But no matter the season of life, I knew I could always come back to it when I was ready. I believe that having flexibility and grace with yourself is key to truly sustainable, long-term habits. As opposed to something that feels strict or even punishing.
Now that I’m working from home on my own business, I’ve gotten back into a solid mindful morning routine and I love it! I wake up with my alarm, snuggle my kitties in bed and then head straight for my “meditation corner” which is a peaceful little space in our sunroom.
I roll out my yoga mat, sink into child’s pose and take a few deep breaths. From there I do whatever stretching feels good, usually some cat-cows, downward dogs, forward folds and light back bends. I’m also a huge fan of using a strap for stretches, especially to open up your chest. My massage therapist is always harping on me about stretching out my chest and keeping my shoulders back. Dang desk work is killing my posture!
Some days I tack on a guided meditation using the Headspace app. Some days I meditate on my own. Some days I use malas. Some days I journal. I usually always pull a card from a deck of affirmation cards and use that as an intention to start my day or as a jumping off point for journaling. The two decks I have are Crazy Sexy Love Notes and Wisdom Cards. I know there are loads of decks out there, even some body-positive ones!
From there I enjoy a smoothie and coffee, sometimes while reading from a self-meditation book. Usually while playing with my cats in some way.
For me, a mindful morning routine doesn’t have to look the same every day. It can change with my mood and energy and what my body is feeling like. At a minimum I enjoy a few quiet moments stretching on my mat.
In the winter when the mornings are dark, I love leaving the overhead lights off and slowly waking up with the soft glow of a salt lamp.
How to Create a Mindful Morning Routine
The secret to a mindful morning routine is that it has to be something you enjoy and look forward to! I let you in on what my mindful morning routine looks like but that doesn’t mean yours needs to look just like mine.
I suggest experimenting with a variety of strategies and see what works for you. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Think through how much time your mindful morning routine will take and set your alarm accordingly – you don’t want to feel rushed.
- Envision where your mindful morning routine will take place. Will you have a dedicated space only for this purpose or will you do it in a multi-purpose space?
- Are there any physical tools you want to enhance your mindful morning routine? I.e. yoga mat, strap, salt lamp, meditation cards, a journal, etc.
- Do you want to make a playlist or use a meditation app?
- Is there anything you need to do to ensure you’ll have a quiet space free of distractions?
- Do you want to stay indoors or spend mindful morning time outdoors?
Think through these questions and even journal about what you want your mindful morning routine to look like. Consider that there will be days that don’t go as planned. How can you add mindfulness into a very busy morning? What would a mindful morning look like with just 5 minutes to spare?
What would it look like when you have guests? What would it look like when you’re traveling? If you skip a day or a week, that’s OK. Get back into it whenever you want.
Your mindful morning routine should be unique to you. Your lifestyle, your preferences and your needs. Whatever that may look like, I hope it brings you peace and helps your start your day with intention and confidence!
This post contains affiliate links which means if you click one and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting this blog!