Morning routines… I feel like they’ve been a popular topic as of late. I dunno about you but I’ve read a blog post or 15 about the morning routines of successful women. Why having a morning routine will make your day better. Or some other inspiring stuff like that.
But in all seriousness… morning routines are great and extremely beneficial and I’m pretty disappointed that they didn’t work out for me. I gave it a fair shot but morning routines just aren’t my jam. But it’s okay because I found a roundabout way to make the “morning routine” work for me and if you’ve been struggling… I hope these tips will help you too!
First thing’s first… why ditch the morning routine?
I truly think the concept of a morning routine sounds amazing and I wish it worked for me. Yoga/exercise, meditate, journal, read, etc. on the daily? All before walking into the stress of a lil thing called life? It sounds awesome in theory but I seriously struggled IRL.
Turns out… In this current season of life, I’m not big on any of the stuff mentioned above which made it really hard to get excited about getting out of bed before the crack of dawn.
Also turns out, I’m not a quitter so I decided to find a way to make the morning routine work for me.
What’s Wrong With a Morning Routine?
My problem was that I started getting anxiety before bed about having to wake up the next morning to journal and do yoga. And once I’d finally get to bed, I’d wake up in the middle of the night with panic attacks. I tried to stick it out for a few weeks because I thought maybe I just needed to train myself but I really didn’t come around.
When I didn’t come around I decided to switch things up. I traded yoga for stretching and journaling for coloring.
It worked for about a week or so but then I felt more of the same. Super anxious about my morning routine and super disappointed in myself for feeling anxious about doing something so great.
After thinking about it for a bit I had this inkling that I was struggling with doing the same thing over and over every morning. I love my jobs but I do a lot of the same over and over at work, and adding repetition to my morning was just exhausting. It was the routine part of the morning routine that wasn’t working for me.
Even though the morning routine wasn’t working out for me, I knew I still needed some space for myself before the craziness of the day so I decided to change “morning routine” to “morning space” to make whatever this thing I’m trying to do at 5am a bit more palatable.
How To Create a Morning Space Instead of a Morning Routine
Structure is not meant for everyone. I mean, look at the world we live in today. Remote jobs and entrepreneurship are taking the world by storm because people are craving freedom. While structure may not be for everyone, anyone has the ability to create their own space, which I think is a great alternative to the more traditional rigid routine. But also… like, if morning routines are your jam because you need that specific schedule… you do you sista!
Here’s the thing though. I challenge you to step out of your routine and instead create a space that feels good for you. Because let’s be real… you’re not going to wake up every day ready to work out. And you’re not going to wake up every day ready to answer journal prompts. And you’re sure as shit not going to wake up every day ready to take on the world. Everyone has off days.
To combat this I create a healthy forgiving space for myself every morning. And every morning this space looks a little different because every day I feel a little different. I do have two non-negotiable goals though… which are moving my body and personal reflection.
Move Your Body
Some mornings I may take Myla for a walk to move my body. Some mornings I stretch… and when I’m feeling super ambitious I give a yoga flow a whirl. It honestly doesn’t matter what physical activity I do, as long as I’m doing something. I’m not looking at my morning space as a place to lose weight when I move my body, I’m more so looking to boost my energy levels and endorphins before I start my day.
After I move my body, I reflect. But like.. reflect on what, you know?
Ugh…. Going deeply inward is rough for me but it’s something I practice every day. And to be honest with you, I struggle day in and day out with the reflecting part of my morning space. I’m probably not the greatest person to give advice on reflecting so just take this with a grain of salt and do what feels best for you.
When I started with my morning routine, I began reflecting by attempting to journal but got really frustrated. I was googling journal prompts and having a really hard time answering them which is kind of funny for someone who runs a blog. Anywhooo… I have a really hard time articulating my feelings so journaling is a bit of a struggle for me. I also have no memory of my childhood so a lot of prompts leave me feeling stuck and frustrated that I can’t remember anything.
A couple weeks into hating journaling, I was gifted two awesome resources: The Five Minute Journal and Oh Happy Day (which is a guided journal). Now I alternate between these two in the morning but if I’m really not feeling the journaling, I give myself permission to color instead. I do a lot of great thinking when I color so I just keep a journal beside me and write down any thoughts that come up when I’m coloring.
Move, Reflect, What’s Next?
For me personally, I like to have a little time left over for some creative space or “office hours” but honestly… it’s your call, this is your morning space! What do you need more of in your life? What makes you feel really good? You should probably do some of that.
I’ve been working a full time day job for the past couple years which takes up a big chunk of my day. I have about an hour commute to and from work and I have a scheduled 9 hour shift. I usually don’t get home until 7 or 8 and by then I’m depleted and just want to veg. At that time of the day I have no more creative juices. Because of that, I make some room for creativity in my morning space. Whether it’s working on a blog post or a new business venture, I like to save some time to get that done in the morning before my day really starts.
Then of course I eat a healthy breakfast because duh. And then I get ready for work and head out the door!
I usually wake up at 5 or 5:30, depending on my hair washing situation that day, and I don’t leave for work until 8 which gives me about 3 hours of morning space which feels like a perfect amount of time for me. I invite you to play around with your morning space and see what works best for you!
Do you already have a morning space or are you more into a morning routine? Tell me how you spend your mornings in the comments below!
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I’m Michelle, the founder of life & style blog, She’s Not So Basic. On the blog I write about all things related to style advice, self-love, finding happiness, and so much more while wearing both my heart and my scars on my sleeve. My path through life has been anything but basic and it’s left me feeling lost, lonely, and insecure. Every day is a journey towards feeling confident and finding freedom one not-so-basic outfit at a time. Connect with me to see how we can work together, to tell me your #NotSoBasic story, or just to say hi!