Our wellness is such an elusive and commonly talked about subject. It is something that forms so much of how we experience our lives, and our overall wellbeing is pivotally important as human beings. However, the pressures of our everyday lives can make it hard for us to find the time to focus on ourselves and to get a sense of intention in our days. This can lead to feeling like our lives are being controlled for us or that we are simply being swept along from day to day and week to week without much purpose.
Simply put, developing a sense of intention is being hyper aware of the things you do, or don’t do, and how they impact your overall mood as well as your general sense of emotional and physical wellbeing. This sense of intention is a form of being mindful with what is going on in the world around you, the things that impact you and the effect that your interaction has with these and on you.
It is increasingly true that we, as a society, are often time poor – so how, if we have limited time available to focus on our wellbeing, can we set ourselves up with sustainable wellbeing habits that can better our overall health?
In this series, we’re going to be diving into how to create sustainable wellness practices to form daily rituals – much like brushing our teeth or eating. We do these things because we know they are good for us. We don’t always see an immediate results from them, but overall we know that if we do them, we’ll see a benefit. Within, we’ll be focusing on three key areas – morning, the middle of the day and nighttime.
In this article, we’ll be looking at morning routines.
Morning routines aren’t just as simple as getting out of bed and getting ready for the day ahead – they are actually much more complex than that. The way we start our day can have a dramatic impact on how we feel for the rest of the day. Have you ever noticed how when you wake up feeling anxious or when something puts you in a bad mood from the start, it can really curve out the narrative for the day? Of course, it isn’t always possible to find time to spend on ourselves first thing in the morning – other things happen. Life can get in the way. It might also be possible that you work shifts and your ‘mornings’ are at different times. Or if your job has you on call, you might find that you’re thrown into your day sometimes very quickly. It could also simply be that you’re time poor. However, developing a sense of intention around what you can do first thing in the morning to help you through your day can have a massive impact on your overall wellbeing. This does not need to be a huge thing – simple, small acts can have a huge impact. It’s about finding something, or several things, that work for you within the reasonable time frame you have for best success.
How to develop a morning routine for better wellbeing
Finding a morning routine that works for you is going to be an individual thing, and just like with everything that makes you, you, the things you enjoy are going to be unique too. This gives you a great opportunity to explore what helps you, what you enjoy and makes you feel good. Set aside some time that you could reasonably commit to each morning and be flexible with this. Getting organised in making this a habit is going to be really important, so looking at your week ahead before you try this and seeing if there are any days that you’d need to make shorter, or that you could add more time to, will be really helpful.
It may be that you look at experimenting with different activities, or combinations of things. This can be a whole range of things, from starting the day with a simple mindful breathing meditation to having time to get up and read your book for a while to really ground you into your day. It could be that you really enjoy getting up and going outside for some exercise or giving yourself that time to sit down before work to write. Finding the things that bring you joy here and really light you up are going to be key.
Image description: A landscape image. Fay sits cross legged and eyes closed on a grey sofa meditating. Fay is wearing white pyjamas with black star print. Fay holds an iphone 13 pro in left hand with headphones in the ears. The room is light, bright and airy with lots of plants and trinkets scattered around.
Finding your why
As much as we might try to ignore it, one of the main reasons we do things is because of a motivation – that sense of ‘what’s in it for me’. This notion is often conceived in a negative way and seen as self serving but in its simplest sense couldn’t be further from the truth. Having a motive, or a ‘why’ to do something can give us the want to get up and do something. Spend some time thinking about what motivates you to do the things you’re developing into your routine and the benefit that they give you. Does meditation in the morning allow you to feel calmer – noticeably so – through the day? Does going for a run give you much more energy? Does writing your book or working on a side business help you to achieve something you’re craving? Does getting up earlier to have some quiet time whilst you eat your breakfast before the rest of the house wakes up allow you to feel like you get that space to have some you time? Finding your why is key to developing consistent routines that allow you the flexibility to develop a morning routine that works for you.
A flexible toolkit
Not every day presents us with the same amount of time to do things, nor do we feel like the same things everyday are exactly what we want to do. So having a toolkit of ideas can be a great way to allow you to maintain a morning practice. If you can’t get out for a longer walk first thing in the morning, could you find a short route you could do instead on days where you don’t have quite as much time? Could you bullet journal instead of your usual half an hour reflection? We have a habit of moving away from our routines when we find them to be inflexible and start, instead, to develop new routines which serve where we are. Having a range of tools you can call on that you know work for you can be key in allowing you to become more flexible – and have more variety, in case something isn’t possible for a while.
In part two, we’ll be looking at middle of the day and lunch time routines to break up your day.