Morning Routines

Pregsomnia had me awake and tossing at 4am today. I finally fell back to sleep at about 6, which completely threw off my normal morning routine.

My ideal morning looks like this:

6:25–Wake up, quickly check email in bed
6:30–Out of bed to do yoga downstairs
7:00–Have a glass of water, while preparing lunches and breakfast
And then we’re pretty much into the day, everyone else waking up by about 7:25; it’s typically just 35 minutes to maybe an hour that I get to myself.

Tree Pose--another work in progress!

I’ve discovered that the physical discomfort of pregnancy has been a fantastic motivator for me in getting up to do yoga, a habit I have to repeatedly keep trying to routinize as the urge to stay in bed is often overwhelming. But in the last few months, as my body has been stretched and weighed down by the tenant in my tummy, I’ve found it easy to be out of bed by 6:30 to do my 25 minute yoga session while the husband, daughter, and dog still sleep and the house is quiet. The effort is so worth it for the reward of being less sore later in the day.

I recently read an article on about the morning routines of 10 successful, high-powered women, from Anna Wintour to Arianna Huffington. I love peering into the daily lives of others, especially productive people, to see the little habits and things they do that contribute to their success and happiness. It’s a great way to get inspiration and ideas, or to find some validation for your own lifestyle.

One such affirming discovery is that most of these women exercise first thing in the morning–yoga, swimming, a fitness class or training session. Anna Wintour plays tennis for one hour starting at 5:45am. Yes! I’m doing something right!

And even those who don’t exercise often do some activity that is self-focussed and solitary, such as meditating or having a quiet cup of coffee or tea. They use this time to centre themselves and find their energy and focus for the rest of the day.

Embed from Getty Images

What this says to me is that taking just a bit of time for oneself is something we should all prioritize rather than feel guilty about. It’s easy to let the weight of responsibility settle on top of you the minute you lift off the covers. But it’s important to understand that you shouldn’t expect to just wake up in perfect form. Getting to your best self takes effort–not an overwhelming amount, just a bit. And in turn, your work and the other people for whom you are responsible will benefit from your taking that sliver of the day to prep.

Regardless of the type of activity, I also think that the presence of ritual itself is important to our productivity. On a morning like today, when the need for sleep overrides my desire to wake up, I find the rest of the morning stumbles along with a choppy, elevated heart-rate sense of urgency and feeling of lack of time. I feel busier, hurried. But when I can follow my routine, the morning is smoother, more familiar and just easier. The breakfast table seems to set itself. I feel a step ahead of whatever task needs doing.

Happiness on a Saturday morning.

Breakfast for one!

I know that the new baby will be a longer-term interruption in my morning routine, but I’m hoping that I can retain some of this diligence into the future because I relish that time to myself in the morning. It sets a tone for the rest of day and energizes me on both a physical and mental level. The stillness of the air, floors creaking under my feet, the morning light emerging from the dimness–it’s a lovely space to dwell in, even for a quick 25 minutes, before the bustle of daily life wakes up and takes over the home.

Do you have a morning routine? What does it look like–does it include some “you time,” and do you feel a difference when you can’t follow it?

"Morning Routines" on the self-styled life (Photo by Grant MacDonald on Flickr)

Original Photo (without text) by Grant MacDonald on Flickr

2 responses to “Morning Routines

  1. My routine usually includes a coffee, some cheesy scrambled eggs, and a little bit of news. I like to have an idea as to what I’d like to do the night before so that come morning I’m ready to just get at it. 🙂

    • Oh yeah, that’s good. I’ve been trying to use my agenda planner more to plan out tasks for the week so that I have a sense of focus as well. That’s definitely super helpful!

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