This is a regular series of blogs focusing on creating balance through mindful activities.
Please read my first blog: Bringing Depression to the table, to provide more context.
Ah the morning routine. I’m sure you’ve read about them; heard people talk about them; maybe even tried it once but you ended up banging the snooze button so many times it thought you were in a relationship.
But are they all they’re cracked up to be? Are they a lifetime guarantee of happiness or a fad for the Woke generation?
I’m aware I phrased that like I have a definitive answer, but as usual, I don’t. All I can offer is what works for me.
One question I always ask myself is, ‘does believing in this make my life any better?’
Honestly that question has come to the rescue so many times. If the answer is yes, then generally I delve a little deeper.
A large majority of the people I consider ‘super successful’- which for me is a balance of health, wealth, relationships, and mindset – have a couple of things in common. These range from people I know, to people in the public eye, that I read, watch and learn from.
What do they have in common?
Well, they all ‘practice’ gratitude and they all have a morning routine; quite often marrying the two. I go into gratitude in the next blog, so for now, we’ll stick to the latter.
An example of a morning routine could be as follows:
Wake up at 05:45
Shower etc. until 06:00
Stretch until 06:15
Meditation until 06:30
Gratitude list until 06:35
Breakfast until 06:50
Head to work 07:00
(Don’t worry about getting dressed, apparently.)
Having a fixed routine accomplishes a few things for me. It means:
1) I hold myself accountable to the things I’ve committed myself to.
2) It stops me bolting out the door before I’ve had a chance to breathe.
Holding myself accountable
Personally, I’m a big fan of going to the gym early; getting in and out before work. If I miss the morning I’m thinking about when I can squeeze it in for the whole day. What ends up happening is something else comes up, and I either miss it entirely (again) or I do go and I’m getting hit in the stomach 20 minutes after I’ve wolfed down a garlic bread.
I have a very similar mindset with my morning routine. If I’ve managed to stretch, work out, meditate and journal before I’ve even got to work, the rest of the day has so much less pressure attached to it. I’m going into the day with in much more positive frame of mind. Not to mention how pleased I feel with myself, honestly, I’m smugger than a Forex Trader’s Instagram story.
Not rushing out the door
When I was younger, I was always late (usually hungover), so I rushed out the door within half an hour of waking up. Then, as I got a little older and started being early / on time (but still hungover), I was kind of ‘in the habit’ and still rushing out the door. Now, (as wanky as it sounds), I’m so excited to crack on with my day I often still have to stop myself doing the same.
When I’m constantly rushing everywhere it really builds the tension up in my body. I start stressing about things that otherwise I’ve learned to let go of. The guy that doesn’t respond quickly enough to my emails. That tannoy on the East London line that always crackles and is turned up way too loud.
I might get flustered and pay for the tube with my debit card when I’ve already got a travel card on my Oyster. God damn it, that’s annoying!
Heaven forbid someone barges on the tube before I’ve had a chance to get off.
Breathe Stuart, breathe.
I’m not saying a morning routine is a magic cure for all the things in the world that annoy you (if it was, someone should get this blog to my Dad immediately). However, it does stop me from rushing out the door and creating a domino effect of one experience crashing into the next, and the next, and the next, and never really letting me settle down and enjoy each moment as it comes.
Now I know what some of you are thinking. “I don’t have time to do this. I have kids and a husband and a job that works me too hard!” Well, because he’s more intelligent than me, Robin Sharma has the perfect response for you:
“Saying that you don’t have time to improve your thoughts and your life is like saying you don’t have time to stop for gas because you’re too busy driving. Eventually it’ll catch up with you.”
It always catches up with you, even if you’re rushing out of every door.