Mornings allow us to set the tone for the rest of the day. Prior to last summer, I didn’t prioritize self-care every morning. As soon as I woke up, I checked my phone and was flooded with emails and social media. Then, I quickly showered, dressed, grabbed a fruit, and hurried out the door. I felt rushed and didn’t set myself up to have a peaceful start to the day.
Last summer, I focused on developing a morning routine that was practical and efficient. Some days I fall off my routine, but on the days when I follow through with it, I have a noticeable sense of calm and readiness to take on the day’s challenges. As you read my list, consider what works for you and what you want to replace to create your own morning self-love routine.
- Upon waking up, smile and have a loving thought
Once I’m aware that I’m awake, I smile and bring a loving thought into my mind. Smiling feels good—it sends positive feedback to our brain and reinforces our feeling of joy. My loving thought tends to vary from day to day. Sometimes I think about the comfort of my bed, the warmth of my room, or something that I’m looking forward to during the day. Other times, I thank my body for waking up and consider the fortune of being alive.
After my loving thought, I take conscious breaths while still in my bed. Usually I sit upright, set a 10-minute timer, and allow myself to just breath. On days when I have less time, I take fewer conscious breaths before getting out of my bed. Even one conscious breath is significant, so I acknowledge that I took at least a moment for myself. Read this to learn how to meditate.
- Express gratitude
I leave a journal on the nightstand next to my bed. After meditating, I briefly write in the journal. Often I write one word or a phrase. Other times I make a short list or write a couple sentences. I also wrote the question “What are you grateful for?” on the white board in my room to offer a visual reminder.
- Feel my feet touch the ground and stretch
Feeling my feet touch the ground helps me to remain present and replaces the urge to pick up my phone. After standing, I take a few minutes to stretch. Stretching was one of the harder parts to be consistent with in my routine, but I noticed it made a huge difference. It wakes me up and makes me feel ready to take on the day.
- Drink water and eat
Drinking water was already a habit of mine, but I didn’t always eat breakfast in the morning. As you can imagine, eating does wonders for my overall energy and mood.
Starting small is a crucial part to developing a morning self-love routine. Consider one thing you want to integrate into your mornings and then build on it once you’ve made it a habit. Read this to learn more about forming a habit.
For me, avoiding my phone and thinking about a loving thought was a great place to start because it allowed me to start my day with a positive mindset. Avoiding my phone also allowed me to replace emails and social media with time for myself.
Kyle is the founder of my innerglow. He’s a former elementary school teacher and current meditation teacher. He’s interested in bringing a focus on mental health into education and building community around mindfulness and human connection.