In this month’s article I want to talk about what my morning routine isn’t. There’s a lot of talk in the fitness and wellbeing space around morning routines – long, elaborate, very fixed and regimented morning routines. Now I do have certain things I like to get done in the morning, but I think the key thing about a morning routine is adaptability and flexibility.
Some of the routines you might have heard or read about are people getting up at 4:30am to meditate. Then they might check emails while their coffee brews, or they might make a green smoothie. Then they’re hitting the gym at 6:00/7:00am, and coming back to do a few emails/work, and then going through a cold shower routine, etc.
I think that’s fine and well if you’ve got the bandwidth to do it, or if you get so much value from that in terms of increased energy and better health. But for many of us that’s just not achievable. And what I think is really important about a morning routine is its degree of flexibility. Not so much that you can just pick and choose what you do, or if you can’t be bothered you don’t do it.
For example, one thing I like to do most mornings is 10 minutes of meditation. You could argue that everyone’s got 10 minutes in the morning, but there are some mornings when I’ve woken up, and my dog needs to go out, or I’ve decided to have that extra 10 minutes sleep, or whatever it is that’s happened. Or I’m simply up so early that I don’t want to make the extra 10 minutes, so I’ll move that to later in the day. I’ve got my degree of flexibility, but it doesn’t mean the meditation isn’t going to happen.
Other aspects of morning routine could be just gentle exercise or having a read in bed prior to getting up. All that stuff I’m fairly flexible on, but there are certain non-negotiables that I’ll stick to. Walking the dog is one of them. Getting up, having a coffee and then having a relatively chilled start to the day is another.
The dog walk is really great because that gets me out into the natural light. I’m exposed to some degree of sun, and it’s good to set my circadian rhythm by getting out in the open air and having a gentle walk as well. And if I’m fasting, I won’t break my fast until around 9:30/10:00am. So, there are elements of my routine that are fixed, but there are also lots of elements that aren’t.
I want to try and take a little bit of the pressure off morning routines. I think having some set routine is important, but also being flexible and adaptable. I want to put some balance to the argument that we’re going to have these long elaborate morning routines to crush the day, seize the day, own the day, carpe diem and all this stuff, which I find a little bit too much sometimes. I hope that helps adds a little bit of balance to that perspective.
This article first appeared in the February 2020 issue of SE22 magazine.