Morning Routines and Rhythms
I talk often about the importance of having a morning routine. Maybe it sounds a bit cliche? But, over the past couple of years, I have slowly established a routine for myself each morning that has come to mean a lot to me. It sets the tone for my day. It clears my mind and allows me to start fresh. It centers me. It has become one of the best things that I do for myself.
It doesn’t so much matter what you DO each morning. Rather, it’s about who you are and how you show up for yourself each day. What fills your cup? What fuels your soul? What inspires you to go out and encourage others? What allows you to step into yourself each morning and show up every day as the person that you want to become? Who is the main character in the book of your one and only life? You are. What do you need to do in order to be that person? Do those things first each day.
Now, I have to take a large side step for just a moment and say – I’m not a big fan of the label or the hashtag #selflove. I am a fan of caring for myself in a way that will allow me to be a better wife, mother, daughter, friend and person. There’s just a lot of societal chatter about “self love” and “self care” these days and I have mixed feelings about that. Should we care for ourselves and our minds? Absolutely. Is this a new and radical idea? Nope. I just can’t help but wonder if there is a negative undertone to this “self love movement” that has gained popularity. I feel … the rip current … and something darker in the water. Things that are inherently good, can be misconstrued and with a cultural push toward or away from something … I always feel like it’s best to pause, reflect, spend time in Word and ask yourself, “is this true?” Does caring for oneself or doing things that you love and enjoy need a label and hashtag? Is it about the permission to care for oneself, when we’ve put ourselves at the bottom of the list for too long? Or is it about something else? I don’t have an answer here and I think it’s all very subjective. But it’s something to ponder. Something for each of us to reflect on. There will be times when it’s okay to be a little selfish (good things can come and grow and spread even when we have our own best interests in mind) and there are times when we are called to be selfless. There are times when we must care for ourselves. Times when our physical and mental health will depend on it. There are times when motherhood leaves very little room left for self. There are seasons.
Which brings me back around to the topic at hand. Seasons. There will be seasons to grow and stretch. Seasons to learn. Seasons to wonder or wander. Seasons to rest. Seasons to work. Seasons to breathe and let be. There will be seasons when you can have a longer, more in-depth morning routine and seasons when the very thought of it will make you roll your eyes at the absurdity. Let it be what it is. If you aren’t in a season where this is an option right now, then I know how idealistic it can sound. I know how frustrating it might be to even hear the words “morning routine.” I get it. I’m coming off years when this phrase wasn’t part of my vocabulary. Years when my morning routine involved only showering and rushing to work each morning. Years when I was sleep deprived and up all hours of the night. An hour of “quiet time” in the morning was ridiculous. It wasn’t going to happen. During that season, my morning routine looked like stumbling to the kitchen and reading a single paragraph from a devotional while I waited for my coffee to brew. It involved preparing bottles and sippy cups and dozing off while Curious George played in the background. To everything there is a season. And, I know it will all continue to evolve and change over the years.
Regardless of your season, if you desire it (and it’s totally okay if you don’t), you can create a rhythm to your morning that works just for you.
I’m (finally) in a season where it’s possible to carve out a little more time for myself in the mornings. I had to get intentional about making it happen though and it took some time and effort before it became a routine and a habit. My alarm is set earlier than ever, but the promise of warm coffee and time alone with God has become all the motivation that I need …
Everyone is different. Everyone will have different needs and wants for their morning routines. The goal shouldn’t be to copy someone else’s. The goal should be to create a pattern for your morning that lights you up, awakens your soul and sets your day on a positive course. This could look a dozen different ways. Maybe you love coffee. Maybe you prefer tea. Maybe you want warm water with lemon. Maybe you meditate. Maybe you read your bible. Maybe you burn sage. Maybe you like to workout first thing. Might you light a candle. Maybe you prefer essential oils. This will be personal and different for everyone. The key is consistency and positivity. Fill yourself up with a good fuel.
Another thing to consider – the strongest morning routine usually starts the night before. Sleep is good. If it’s possible in your current stage – sleep. And think about other things you can do the night before to set your next day up for success …
So. What does my personal morning routine look like?
My Personal Morning Routine:
Each morning looks a tad different depending on my schedule for that particular day, so my alarm is set differently each day and sometimes I head straight to the bathroom to get myself ready for the day and sometimes I head straight downstairs …
I fill my coffee mug. I light a candle or start my diffuser. I spend 5ish or so minutes doing a few stretches. Then, I curl up in my “quiet time chair”. Once I’m there, I follow the same pattern each morning. First, I read a short devotional to help me focus and clear the morning brain fog. Currently, the devotional I’m reading is Sally Clarkson’s “Mom Heart Moments: Daily Devotions for Lifegiving Motherhood”. Next, I read my Bible. I read 1-3 chapters depending on which book of the Bible I’m working through and how much time I have. Then, I jump into a book – either a Christian personal development book or a bible study book of some sort. Currently, that’s “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day” by Mark Batterson. Lastly, I write in my prayer journal and pray. Once that’s done, I wake my kiddos (if they aren’t awake yet) and begin prepping breakfast, packing lunches and helping them get ready for their day.
The most important part for me is easily what I’m learning in that chair and how I’m hearing from God. That’s what I need. The greater the need for that … the easier it became for me to be consistent. Now, it’s just what I do each day. If I have to miss a morning, honestly, I’m sad about it.
What’s most important to you?
Now, before I wrap this up … a quick disclaimer: As pretty and shiny as I may have made all of this sound, it’s not really. It’s just a routine. Done in the morning. It’s about creating rhythm. But, there is usually still fighting by breakfast. You can work on being the best version of yourself all morning and still lose your cool 5 minutes later. This is real life folks. There are plenty of mornings when I wonder “how did it all fall apart so fast?” Just being honest. There is no perfection here. If I made it sound too lovely, I apologize. It’s not. It’s just a routine. If it all ends up messy, dust yourself off and do it again the next day. It’s about progress, not perfection. Your own real life.