It’s 7 am, and your alarm goes off. You instinctively roll over and hit the yellow button while simultaneously swiping up with one eye peaking onto the screen. The other sits low in your pillow, softening the glare of your screen.
Tic Toc, chuckle.
Does this sound familiar to you? It’s how many of us spend our waking moments before losing track of time and rushing out the door to make it to work or school on time. I spent my 20’s like this, not seeing any issue with this way of spending the first 30 minutes of the day. Not until the depression hit. In 2017 my dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. In 2018, he died from cancer. I didn’t know how to cope with the sudden change to what I was so used to feeling for the first 30 years of my life. I would find myself breaking down at any point of my day, with no way to control my emotions. I felt no happiness, and joy was a word I lost touch with. After a few months, I realized that I couldn’t keep living this way. If I didn’t take action, I was afraid I would be 50 and still struggling with depression.
After countless hours of listening to podcasts, reading blogs, and soul searching, I concluded that I needed to find purpose again to survive throughout the days.
For the next three months, I created a 45-minute routine that I could do seven days a week. I soon found out it was not as easy I thought it would be, so small increments of time were added each week as I got more comfortable with the ever-growing routine. Below, I am going to share with you the areas I focused on three years ago to create my morning routine because…
Today, I am smiling again.
Today, I can look back on my memories with dad and smile.
Today, I know I can succeed while going to bed with confidence I can thrive again tomorrow.
I want you to feel the same way.
My 10 Tips To Creating Your Morning Routine
• Alarm Buy a stand-alone alarm clock instead of using your phone alarm. When you use your phone, it’s easy to “I’ll give IG a quick peek and then get off”
• Don’t look at your phone Leave your phone on the charger until your whole routine is complete. This may be 15 minutes (at the beginning) or 60 minutes. The idea is not to allow the stress of social media, emails or anything else to spike your angst or derail your focus.
• Make Your Bed Start each morning off with an easy win. Make your bed (It only takes 30 seconds) so you can get that positive feedback of accomplishing a task within five minutes of waking up.
• Cold Shower This probably sounds a little crazy, but there is a good reason for this. When I was depressed, I kept thinking I couldn’t beat it. Whenever depression or anxiety took over my body, It stuck around until it decided to leave. When I chose to finish my hot shower with a blast of cold water for 30 seconds, the same feeling of anxiety and fear came over me. The big difference was that I had a set time limit for this feeling, and I knew that I would win if I could last 30 seconds. Add this to your routine, so you too can purposefully add anxiety into your life and prove to yourself every morning, you can overcome it.
• Drink Hot Lemon Water Drinking hot lemon water helps regulate natural bowel movements. Our gut’s health status can correlate with our mental health happiness. Before you grab that coffee, put this in your system to get things warmed up.
• Meditate *disclaimer, meditation is not easy! For the first year of meditating during my morning routine, I would sit in the quiet of the
morning with my eyes closed (sometimes open) and allow myself to take in the sounds around me while focusing on the moment. You don’t need to be perfect. You just need to try.
• Coffee or tea Now is the time to go through the comforting steps of creating your favourite morning liquid. Appreciate each step in this process. It is a little bit of comfort in your morning routine.
• Journal Find a journal that connects with you and use it solely for your morning journaling. You can put anything into the journal, but a few things I write on are…
– Positive things that happened the day before
– Negative things that I can change that happened the day before
– What is on my schedule today
– A particular emotional event that occurred the day before
It’s best if I let Whim Hoff describe this. All I will say is that this has been a welcomed new addition of 10 minutes of my morning routine during the pandemic.
• Gratitude Your time of peace and quiet is coming to an end. Your brain has been taken through a thoughtful experience to ease it slowly into the day. Finish your morning routine off with a few words spoken out loud, focusing on gratitude. No Panic’s article on affirmations would be a great place to start: https://nopanic.org.uk/positive-affirmations/
I hope this helped you understand the value of crafting your morning routine with actions that speak to you. My routine is just a guide; take which ones you like and plug in other activities where you choose.
By Paul Marlow