Amanda Patrick, MA
Marriage and Family Therapist Associate
I’m not sure about you, but being an early riser in the morning has never been my strength. Nope. Just not my style. Rather than be up and at ‘em, I’m more of a “let’s see how close to go time I can get” as I roll over with an extra 10 minutes via the snooze button on my alarm clock. During this year’s pandemic life, though, I’ve found I’ve needed more routine. Heck, I’ve craved routine. Why? Well, perhaps it’s because one day we sort of went to bed, got up, and everything felt different (hello COVID-19!). Topsy turvy even. And it’s not showing signs of slowing down yet. If anything, hurricanes, wildfires, an election, and yes, even Saharan dust storms have made 2020 one for the record books. So, while my external world felt sort hectic and uncertain, I wanted to build a more cozy, consistent, “I’ve got this vibe” for myself through my daily routines and habits. But where to start? Why mornings of course!
But why do routines matter, and how can they be of aid to us? Per Psychology Today, routines can support improved mental health in a variety of ways, ranging from better sleep to more impulsiveness control in kiddos to helping with anxiety, stress, and depression. In a nutshell, when I can organize my day, I can better anticipate what may pop up, including having coping skills at the ready to assist me.
For me, my morning investments in particular set the tone for the day ahead. In fact, when I give myself the grace and space to rise and shine a bit earlier, I notice I feel less rushed and disorganized. I’ve found the following five items really knock it out of the ballpark for me too in feeling ready to seize the day. Knowing mornings aren’t really my jam, I’ve built in things that fill my bucket and give me a bit of joy, making it feel oh so nice to be up when it’s oh so easy to hit that snooze button.
- Good coffee and tea – I love my morning java and teas, so I make sure to keep a new one on hand to test drive.
- Essential oils – Nothing makes me smile more than placing a 3 to 4 drops of my fave essential oils in the corners of my shower as I turn on the hot water. The smells positively invigorate me and help me ease into the early AM with recharged energy. And bonus that this can help open up sinuses during those pesky times of the year.
- Making my bed – This is a must do. It’s an instant pick me up for my overall vibe as it sets my mind in motion that the new day is underway. Plus, it tidies up my bedroom space a bit for the day.
- Gentle stretching – I tend to sit A LOT during my daytime job, so any chance I have to gently move and stretch my body is fantastic. I find it helps me to start my day feeling better and nudges my brain to even do this a bit more throughout the day.
- Morning meditation – One of my most relished activities is welcoming the new day before the hustle and bustle of life kicks in. I have a beautiful deck too, so I find it provides the perfect backdrop for me and my brain to just sit and, well, do nothing. Even if it is a mere 10 minutes, it gives me a bit of peace and quiet before my busy schedule of meetings, calls, etc. kicks in.
I often remind myself that what we focus on grows and expands. So I’m curious as to what you find helps you get your mornings off to a great start. Are you finding it challenging to get moving and grooving in the AM? Or do you have your own morning moxy to help you kick start the day? As we head into winter, now is a great time to explore what gives you the right first step towards a good day ahead.
View the link to PsychologyToday Article here.
Click here to learn more about how we can help with Stress Management.