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Morning Rituals: Finding a routine that sets you up for an amazing day!

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Morning rituals set the tone and energy for the day. Create a morning ritual that allows you to enter the day with the right mindset, accomplish the most important things first, and be the most productive version of yourself.

Instead of jumping straight from bed to work or the craziness of the day, put yourself in a good mental space to take on whatever the day will bring.

In addition to starting the day with positivity, getting enough rest can increase productivity and your general outlook and happiness.

Why a Ritual?

I say ritual on purpose. A routine seems boring and obligatory. A ritual feels like a luxurious treat, a sacred time.

A morning with a ritual can feel like a mini-vacation. How wonderful would it be to give yourself this gift of a mini-vacation every morning?

Also, a ritual can feel sacred.

This morning routine should be, at least in some aspect, a non-negotiable part of your day. A sacred part of your day that sets the framework for the rest of the day.

An intentional morning includes centering
Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Elements of an Excellent Morning Ritual

It takes a while to customize your own perfect morning routine. The goal is to find the things that bring you joy and make your day better.

While the specifics might vary for everyone, there are some core essential elements you should try to incorporate.

It starts the night before

Get enough rest. A full night’s sleep allows you to wake up rested and ready to tackle the day. Sufficient sleep also helps your body perform at the top levels.

Sleep is when your mind turns short term memories into long term memories. It is also when your body performs important maintenance tasks like DNA repair that enable you to be your healthiest all day long.

Some important strategies to get a good night’s sleep are: go to bed early, journal before bed to stop circular thoughts and stress dreams, and express some gratitude to enter sleep with a positive mindset.

See here for tips on better sleep hygiene.

Woman with breakfast in bed journaling
Photo by Toa Heftiba from Unsplash

Habit Linking

Use Habit Linking to Build a Better Ritual.

Habit linking involves taking an existing routine or habit and adding something to it. For example, if you brush your teeth every morning you can add washing your face to that. You are already programmed to wake up and brush your teeth so adding something to that existing habit makes it easier to stay consistent and complete the second action. 

Alternatively, if you snooze every morning, try using that snooze time to meditate and set intentions for the day or list three gratitudes. 

When you’re ready for more, add one of these 7 healthy habits to upgrade our morning routine.

sleep masks in bed with flannel comforter

Center Your Mind

How do you spend most of your mornings? Is it a rush to get out the door or a sacred welcoming and appreciation of each day? Or more likely somewhere in the middle?

If you are rush around in the morning, that flustered feeling can stay with you all day leading to a stressful and unproductive day.

However, centering your mind can bring a sense of calm to the morning and the rest of the day.

Try these things to center and bring serenity to your mood each day

  • sit in silence for 5-10 minutes before getting out of bed
  • dedicate the first 30 minutes as a phone-free zone
  • meditate
  • set your intention for the day
  • express gratitude
  • spend the first 5 minutes after waking up thinking about your intention for the day, what you want to get done, how you are going to accomplish those goals, and how you want to feel at the end of the day.
Center yourself in your Morning Ritual
Photo by Nachelle Nocom on Unsplash

Start with gut health and nutrition

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet the science on that is mixed and often not in alignment. Interestingly, there’s also evidence that delaying that first meal can be advantageous with intermittent fasting (yet breakfast doesn’t seem to matter as much as late-night snacking).

No matter when you decide to eat your first meal, we know it’s important that the type of food you eat matters. This is the first time your gut will experience additional nutrients after the overnight fast.

Make sure that choice nourishes your gut microbiome and the rest of your endocrine system sot that you can rock the day.

A little extra help for gut health

Morning is a great time to take probiotics! You can add this in powder form to smoothies or take your favorite probiotic pills.

And this won’t break your fast if you do opt to skip breakfast for intermittent fasting.

Just make sure your probiotics are high quality!

My favorite right now is Seed’s Daily Synbiotic (probiotic + prebiotic) because they specify the strains used in their product and choose strains from clinical and scientific studies that have known benefits. This is different from other products that just specify genus and species.

I’ve partnered with them to give you a discount on your first 30 days so make sure to check them out. That means you can get a 15% discount to try the product. #ad #accountable

They also have completely compostable or recyclable shipping materials and beautiful glass storage jars that are just lovely! My favorite is the foam that comes with the 30 day refill. It literally disintegrates in the sink and is made of corn!

In addition to Seed’s Daily Synbiotic, I also mix in soil-based probiotics and spore probiotics as those are most likely the types of probiotics we were naturally exposed to as our microbiomes evolved over millennia and can be more likely to colonize.

However, studies have shown probiotics and synbiotics to be beneficial to health even without colonization! Their probiotic strains are transient microbes, meaning they travel through your colon, interacting with your immune cells, gut cells, dietary nutrients, and existing bacteria to deliver benefits. As ‘transient’ organisms, their efficacy is dependent on continuous consumption (rather than single or limited use).

That’s why Seed offers a subscription for the Daily Synbiotic daily for continued benefit.

You can safely incorporate any probiotics you currently take into your daily Seed routine, but they are not required to get the benefits.

Accomplish Your Main Goals

One of the most effective tools for being productive is tackling the toughest things first.

If you have certain goals you want to accomplish, schedule them into the morning. This could look like reading a book for a dedicated 45 minutes, drafting that tough email, or making that draft presentation you’ve been procrastinating.

Getting that one thing done first allows your mind to relax the rest of the day because the incomplete task isn’t looming over your head.

This is especially important if you work from home.

Man in bed reading hard cover book with cats
Photo by Eduard Delputte from Unsplash

Move Your Body

This one’s easy. Get your blood flowing.

This can be whatever works for you.

  • run around the neighborhood
  • walk the dog
  • stretch or do a morning flow
  • hit the gym or follow along with a HIIT class on line

Get Organized for the Day

Nothing brings inner peace like control over the day. Prioritize what needs to get done and be realistic about what you’ll be able to accomplish.

One of the best ways to do this is to think about how your future self wants to feel at the end of the day.

Ask your future “end-of-the-day” self:

  • What do I need to accomplish today to feel good about the day?
  • What do I need to complete today to have a good tomorrow?
  • Which activities today would make me feel better at the end of the day?
  • What will bring me joy today?
  • How do I want to feel at the end of the day?
organizing your day leads to success
Photo by STIL on Unsplash

Make it Realistic

In the chaos that is real life, just a warm cup of coffee and breakfast with 10 quiet minutes to enjoy my food and the daily Skimm or UpFirst can feel luxurious.

Figure out your ideal morning and your non-negotiables for a good day. That will make it easier to prioritize your routine each morning, even when you’re running short on time.

Identify your non-negotiables and your ideals

My Non-Negotiables 

  • 10 minutes of silence and setting intentions for the day 
  • A walk outside with Argus 
  • Breakfast and a nice, warm morning drink. 
  • Setting priorities for the day and scheduling dedicated time for the most critical tasks​

My Ideal Routine: 

  • Wake up and lay in bed for a while cuddling and enjoying the weight of the comforter. 
  • Stretch my way out of bed to a warm cup of hot decaf coffee. Sip on my latter with a sweet treat while catching up on the news and gazing out at a beautiful view. 
  • A nice walk with my pup Argus followed by some yoga or a little HIIT to get my blood pumping before showering up. 
  • Enjoying a hearty home-made breakfast whilst enjoying the view, again 
  • Organizing my to-do list and priorities for the day 
  • Tackling the most important projects first thing during my workday 
  • Building in time for deep work and flow
  • Making sure to get outside and get my blood moving a few times throughout the day

What to think about including in your ritual

Here’s a short list of items you may want to include in your morning routine. This is just a starting point. Make this something that really sparks joy for you and enables you to live your best life!

  • silent reflection
  • meditation
  • express 3 things you are grateful for
  • think about your 3 goals for the day
  • set an intention for the day or week
  • enjoy a warm drink
  • prepare and enjoy a yummy breakfast
  • read the news
  • listen to a current events podcast
  • stretch
  • complete a workout
  • walk and feed your dog
  • read
  • refine the to-do list for the day
  • tackle your most pressing and hardest tasks
A mug with inscription Begin of coffee on table
Photo by Danielle Macinnes from Unsplash

Morning ritual 1: a cleansing mini-retreat

Important pre-morning prep: work the night before sets you up for success in the morning

  • cut the sweet potato and coat with oil and salt on the baking sheet so it is ready to just pop in the oven
  • pick out one of the three outfits I packed for this trip to wear- fewer morning decisions 🙂
  • pack work bag
  • Journal: Brain dump my thoughts in a journal before bed! It really helped to clear and settle my mind. And in a journal, not in my phone’s notes app!
  • Go to bed early! Over 8 hours before the alarm will ding

The Morning Experience

  • Woke (6:20) before my alarm (6:30), so I used the extra time for snuggles and relishing the cozy comforter
  • Journaled- express gratitude and goals and plans and any other brain dump. Set the intention for the day
  • Didn’t look at my phone – no email, Facebook, no looking at social media notifications of any kind
  • Make and drink celery juice
  • Wash juicer
  • 7 min workout app – 1 cycle (would love to do more)
  • Put already prepped sweet potatoes in the oven
  • Get eggs ready to bake
  • Shower
  • 5 minutes meditation
  • Put eggs in the toaster oven to bake and check on sweet potatoes
  • Get dressed and ready for work
  • Eat breakfast, trying not to look at my phone
  • Leave for work at 8:45 ready to focus on work!! And I’m at work before 9

Doing this routine really made me feel like I was on a vacation. There was only one moment when I felt flustered (when I couldn’t figure out how to work the crazy key to my Airbnb I’m staying in for a work trip) but I quickly got over that and moved on. Then at work, I was not distracted and was able to really get stuff done. It was great!

The ugly truth is that I did get to work later than I prefer, and the whole thing took about 2 hours.  But, I was more productive when I got to work. The routine doesn’t fit into every day, but on some days it is great.

Morning ritual 2: a healthy zen awakening

Important pre-morning prep: work the night before sets you up for success in the morning

  • make sure you have premade walnut milk or soak the nuts to make some in the morning
  • prepare zucchini muffins or breakfasts egg nests for the next day
  • express your gratitudes for a positive attitude through sleep and into the morning
  • read and meditate before bed for a more restful sleep
  • Journal: Brain dump my thoughts in a journal before bed! It really helped to clear and settle my mind. And in a journal, not in my phone’s notes app!
  • Go to bed early! Over 8 hours before the alarm will ding

The Morning Experience

  • The alarm went off at 7:30, I snooze but use that snooze to set my intentions for the day
  • I snuggled the dog and expressed gratitude with my husband
  • Didn’t look at my phone – no email, no Instagram, no news or notifications of any kind first thing
  • Drink a full glass of lukewarm water and my morning symbiotic
  • Took myself and the dog for a nice quick jog and listened to an audiobook or UpFirst to hear current events
  • Prepare decaf coffee with walnut milk foamed with vanilla and cardamom and dusted with garam masala
  • Grab a muffin and enjoy breakfast with my parasympathetic nervous system invoked
  • Rinse off and get dressed
  • Jump on my first zoom meeting for the day

This is my recent favorit mroning routine, especially with the post-COVID world of working from home. It includes all of my favorite things: snuggles, getting outside, moving, my dog, gratitude, current events, food, gut health, and serenity.

It always makes me feel more able to take on the day and is 100% worth the extra time, especially since I no longer have a commute!

Tell me your favorite routines in the comments and how it has changed your life!

About Alicia

I love cooking almost as much as I love eating so I try to make sure I feel good about what I'm eating. I believe it's always a good occasion for some bubbly and I also love feeling healthy and being outdoors. I try to buy, cook and eat whole nutritious foods that promote a fun active lifestyle.

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