The value of a morning routine - tips and insights

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The notion that how you start your day matters has most probably entered your consciousness at one point or another during your adolescent or adult life. Whether it’s the importance of breakfast or the time you get up in the morning, most of us will have had some wisdom around the topic of morning routines instilled in us, perhaps received with varying degrees of enthusiasm.

But what exactly is it about the morning and its routines that makes it particularly important; the one part of the day we’re encouraged to pay extra attention to?

I like to think of it as tuning a musical instrument before a big number. You know the sound of an orchestra tuning their instruments before a concert? The way all the musicians first quietly play their instruments to themselves, to then burst into tunes, listening to each other and making adjustments in order to make sure their notes are right where they want them to be to be able to play their pieces to satisfaction.

A morning routine is not much different, and our day ahead could be seen as the big number we have ahead of us to play. It’s about having a routine that allows us to identify where we might be a little bit off, where a boost might be needed and some tuning in place in order to to set us off on the right note for the rest of our day.

As a former ballet dancer, morning routines were drilled into me from a young age. Any ballet dancer starts their day with a 1,5-2hr ballet class, five or six days a week. The class is based on variations of the same pattern: Warm up, then ca 45 minutes of barre, followed by exercises in the centre, all finished off with jumps in combinations from the corners of the ballet studio. Throughout the class, the dancer consciously scans her body for what might be working well on this particular day, as well as what areas might be needing some extra attention. Tuning the instrument, fixing where fixing is needed. After class, rehearsals can start; the work can begin. On the day of a performance, a class and warmup will often be held a few hours before the show, allowing for the same routine scan to take place again, ensuring for a smooth show in the evening.

There’s a lot to learn from orchestra musicians and ballet dancers, and a committing to a morning routine with the same dedication as a ballet dancer or musician is a great place to start.

So what can you do to create a morning routing that starts your day off in the right way? Below are a few ideas; test and play around to see what works for you:

  • Gratitude journalling - Some people swear by a gratitude journal.
  • Mindset practice - Others by affirmations. This might seem corny if you've never tried it - but they really work. Don't believe me? Try for yourself and see. Read more about affirmations here.
  • Creative journalling - If you’re creatively inclined, morning pages might be your thing.
  • Meditation - it's simple and easy to do. Where to start? Headspace is one example of a meditation app that many find useful for learning how to meditate and practice meditation throughout the day, and Youtube has a wide selection of guided meditations available.
  • Exercise - yoga, pilates, the gym, a morning run - anything that works for you. Lots of apps out there help with this
  • Music - make a playlist with favorite songs, or listen to playlists online that help boost your mood in the morning. 

A little bit of everything can work well too. The most important thing is to try what works best for you, figuring out your favourites and then committing to them.

Give your new routine at least 30 days of a trial run, and then see what happens. Get ready for the shifts to start happening.

Rebecca Delgado