My morning routine is seriously life-saving.
Strangely, I am an unusual mixture of a basically happy person with a melancholy temperament. Several years ago, I was experiencing a general funk that I couldn't shake and Cosmo suggested it might be depression. As it turns out, I'm not so good at dealing with difficult situations and sweeping them under the rug had bubbled into a deep depression...more on that another time. But it was here, in the throes of depression that I first started a morning routine.
I began going to an awesome counselor, praying specifically about my depression, and talking at length with my husband. I also started reading Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.
In the book, one of the practices Ms. Cameron urges her readers to commit to is the writing of Morning Pages. They are three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing. They are not for anyone else and they are not even necessarily to be re-read by the writer. I began doing them religiously. Some days I would write things that were profound; many, many (most) days I would write things that were embarrassingly petty. It doesn’t matter what's written because they're simply a brain dump to make room up there for the rest of the day's thoughts.
As an introvert, I have a lot to say that doesn't get said. Combine the fact that I hate being misunderstood with the concept that not everything we think has to be spoken (verbal processors, I'm looking at you!) and you begin to grasp my need for writing - even writing that no one will ever read.
My Morning Routine was Born
After awhile of doing just Morning Pages, my morning routine evolved to include some yoga stretches. Then came devotional reading and prayer. I also had some books on creativity that I was reading and doing the associated activities. And after a season of doing those things, I incorporated writing a novel into this time, as well.
Over the years (that was in 2010), my morning routine has ebbed and flowed and morphed. I have had seasons where I did not do a morning routine and I can say with certainly that I am better when I am doing one.
So, here's what it looks like currently - March 2017.
10-15 minutes ~ First thing, I get up and drink 16 oz. of lemon water. (Here's why.) Next, I refill that 16 oz. glass with plain water from my Berkey and take my vitamins. While I'm still in my PJ's, I've already had around 32 oz. of water! Yay me!
20-30 minutes ~ I then go into my home office where I have a little "Quiet Corner." Comfy chair, cute lamp, basket of book and notebooks. This is where I do my Morning Pages. I always start by putting the date, time, and temperature - I don't know why...I guess it comes from when I was in school when I was little and immediately put my name on the paper the teacher handed out.
5 minutes ~ After Morning Pages, I read through a Daily Devotional. Jesus Calling by Sarah Young has been a long-time favorite, but I also love her Jesus Today devotional. After reading the devotional and the associated Bible verses, I select one of those verses to share on Facebook. I usually post verses that are uplifting and blessing-type verses.
10-15 minutes ~ Next is some prayer time. I follow the semi-traditional format of Praise (where I proclaim many of the names / attributes of God), Thanksgiving (where I thank God for anything and everything I can think of), and finally Petitions (where I ask for blessings and guidance for the day ahead).
- 7-10 minutes ~ Then comes what I call Affirmation Yoga. There are many varieties of affirmations and no wrong way to do them. I've tried these:
- Write ten different positive phrases about yourself and say them aloud as you perform some repetitive, physical movement or while looking at yourself in the mirror.
- Recite the same phrase ten times (for me, this is usually a phrase about God's goodness that I want to focus on).
- The one I currently do: I have 10-12 Bible verses that I say aloud while doing a different yoga pose for each. If you're interested in how this works, I'm planning to make a video with instructions...
- And finally it's time for breakfast! By this time, my lemon water and probiotics have had a chance to do their thing on an empty stomach, but I'm still eating within about an hour of getting up.
I follow this routine pretty much every morning. If I'm short on time, I do some variation of it that almost always include the Affirmation Yoga because I love the mental, spiritual, and physical incorporation.
And when I don't do it, I can tell. I feel out of sorts. I often say things I don't mean. My mind feels cloudy and I'm melancholy or just plain grumpy. So, yeah, I do it for myself and for anyone who has to spend any time around me!
Do you have a morning routine? Tell me about it in the comments below.
Do you want to develop a morning routine, but need some help coming up with one? Fill out the info below and I'll send you a morning routine worksheet that will walk you through the steps you need to create your very own Magnificent Morning Routine!