When coping with life’s uncertainties, sometimes building our own patterns can help provide some stability. In fact, relief can be simpler to come by than we think: restructuring your mornings, you can set a positive tone for the rest of the day.
In the wake of difficult times, something as simple as a morning routine can help bring some normalcy into your day. For me, the idea of having a streamlined regimen bright and early helps put everything into perspective. It gives me a foundation to stand on, and balance when I need it most. So what exactly is a morning routine? It’s a sequence of actions that happen after you wake that help to recenter, re-energize, and prepare you for the day ahead. Researchers at the University of Nottingham and the National Institute of Education in Singapore have found that our self-control is highest in the morning—so what better time to devote energy toward caring for yourself? For many people, morning routines involve checking social media and answering email in bed, which can set us on the wrong foot. Instead of focusing on your own needs, you are now beginning the day centered on the lives of others. But taking time for ourselves first thing in the morning sets the day off right—it reminds us that we are worth slowing down for, and worth giving time and focus to. I’ve found that during life’s rough or chaotic patches, my morning routine can be crucial in providing some much-needed self-care.
I’m certainly not alone in this. There are dozens of articles exploring the morning routines of well-known and prolific figures. For example, Steve Jobs looked in the mirror each morning and asked himself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?", while Anna Wintour begins each day at 5:45 a.m. with a long tennis match. My own morning routine begins with tongue-scraping, oil pulling, stretching or a yoga sequence, and drinking a glass of water. Then, I make breakfast and sit down to check emails and my personal calendar for whatever events I have planned for that day. My morning routine may not look like yours, and I think that’s one of the best things about them: it can be completely personalized to fit your needs. By looking at what keeps us grounded and centered as individuals, we begin the process of focusing on bringing more positivity into our lives, little by little.