Weekday mornings are hectic as hell, whether you are heading to the workplace or even getting kids ready to school (or doing both). In my case, I followed an easy-breezy daily morning routine until the kiddo started school. But once school started, there was so much to fit into my morning planner. It became inevitable that I create a morning routine, that was easy to follow and stress-free. Having read and experimented with numerous morning routines and rituals, we finally got into the groove. (Though we snoozed and missed alarms, a lot :D). Read on to find out the five steps I used that will help you in creating your perfect stress-free morning routine too!!
We start practicing a morning routine (and then fail at it) mostly because we try too hard, too soon. AN HOUR IN THE MORNING IS WORTH TWO IN THE EVENING. It is no news that the earlier you start your day, the more easily you get your daily chores done. But somehow it is such an unachievable thing for so many of us.
Waking up early is a very important step to get your day on track. Yes yes.. I used to be a 7’ish kind of person. But I tried waking up early and I loved it. Mainly because those were the quietest hours in my house, before everybody else is awake. The very thought of that quiet me-time is enough motivation to get out of the bed. The first hurdle you might have to cross would be the urge to hit the snooze button. But think of it this way, snoozing is a form of procrastination. That is not a good thing to start your day with.
You could try putting the phone away such that you have to get out of the bed to switch off the alarm. Figure out a set of morning rituals that you can do as soon as you wake up. For eg- Put a glass of water next to your phone so that as soon as you switch off the alarm, you know you have to drink the water next. Set up and follow your morning ritual and soon you will get into the habit of doing them without much thought.
A good morning routine begins the evening before. the key ingredients being a good night’s sleep and a plan for the next day. A detailed plan or a to-do list will take out a lot of stress. When you have a plan in place, you know what to expect and your mind prepares itself and hence it is calm. Whereas, having no plan means, you have to make impromptu decisions about what to do/eat for breakfast/ when to workout, etc. Believe me, this decision making is what takes time and stress.
So prepare a detailed morning routine plan. If you are not good at remembering, make sure to write it down. List out your daily chores that need to fit in your morning routine. Plan your breakfast menu for the day/ week, and stock up groceries so that you won’t have surprises when opening your pantry. Sort your outfits, this makes sure the wardrobe is laundered and organized. You will never run out of stuff or time. This reduces a lot of stress.
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Unless it’s an important call or message that needs to be responded to, keep your screens away. The stories and posts can wait past your morning routine. That said, if you have to, try to set yourself a timer and put the phone away once you are done. (Don’t forget to fit it in your morning routine planner).
When you look at your screens and scroll through the social media posts or messages and emails, you are starting your day by putting the brain on a reactive mode. Whereas what we should be aiming for is to be in the productive mode.
The brain is at its most efficient state in those early hours. Your thoughts are clear and sorted. The moment you start mindlessly scrolling past the stories, posts, and notifications, your thoughts scatter. A task that takes 5 min to do could easily spread over to 15min. We don’t want that, do we? There are plenty of things that will get done when you put down your phone for a while.
There are a lot of chores that can be done or atleast started the night before. Ironing and sorting the outfits, getting the backpack ready, chopping the veggies, prepping for the meals, etc will ease the morning load. Layout your workout clothes for that extra motivation. I get my daal and veggies, washed and soaked for the breakfast sambhar in the pressure cooker. That way, the boring part is already done 😀 ( yes, I am that kind of lazy). The saying, well begun is half done is pretty much accurate in this case. Chances are you might as well do more than half of it. So you wake up knowing that you just have to finish what is already started.
Your morning routine doesn’t have to be hard and fast. Accept the fact that you don’t have to do it all nor do it all alone. Involve your family in the morning routine planning. Get your partner to share the chores, like getting the kids ready while you prepare breakfast. If the kids are older, assign chores to them too. They can pack their lunch, help with setting the breakfast, etc. This might not happen overnight, especially with younger kids, but do it consistently. It is so important to involve the family so that the whole morning doesn’t revolve around you.
All of the above were the MUST-DOs to create your morning routine run stress free. There are some Nice-to-do things as well, which is like the icing on this stress-free morning cake.
Set a routine for the house
Not having a place for things like keys, clean socks, etc creates unwanted confusions and multiple yelling sessions. Yet another stress builder when you have to multitask. Practice putting things where they belong. Make everyone in the house responsible for their things. For eg, once the laundry is done and folded, ask each one to organize their pieces of stuff. This will save a lot of ‘where is my’ yellings. This applies to older kids ..and spouses who forget where they left their stuff. 😀 Something as simple as a box or a tray for the keys, a basket or a stand for the shoes, a designated spot or box for clean socks, etc, will make a whole lot of difference to your morning sanity. Read how decluttering the living space helps your daily life here. Check out our collection of printables that can help you.
Look forward to following the routine
Figure out something to look forward to every morning. It could be a twist to the usual routine, a new recipe for breakfast, a new outfit to try, or as simple as listening to your favorite playlist through your chores.
Fit in some Me-time in the routine
Pamper yourself with a good tea/coffee time, write a to-do list for the day or a journal or just enjoy the serene morning moments. Have some Me time or Our time(if your partner is in too) before all the morning madness begins. If you think that is too filmy kind of pampering for yourself, then you can always come back to reality with a good morning workout. Begin your day with a mindful morning ritual; pray and meditate before you begin the chores. The benefits of exercise and meditation are known to all, but fitting it into your healthy morning routine is the best self-care you can give yourself. This energizes your body and mind and you are ready to take on the day.
DO NOT skip breakfast
Eat your breakfast. Its quite possible that in the morning hustle and bustle, having breakfast is the last thing on your mind. Plan for simple and easy breakfast recipes. If that doesn’t work for you, stock up some nuts and dry fruits that will keep you full and going at least through the rush hour.
Set a buffer time.
Set an alarm for your target time ideally with a buffer time of 10 min. That way you are prepared for a last-minute change of clothes or a bathroom break.This is how we did it. On school mornings, we have an alarm for 8 am and once it rang, we would just pick up the bag and leave. So the next 10 min was kind of a bonding time. We would take a little walk outside, or finish that last bite of the meal. That way, on his way to school, last thing my kid sees is a calm and happy mommy and not the otherwise ‘Momster’ face screaming hurry-hurry!!!
To create a morning routine that works for you,
Have a plan.
Keep it simple.
Be consistent, don’t give up
Take care of yourself first.
Get help when needed
It might take a bit of trial and error, but eventually, you will figure out a routine that works best for you and your family. Once that works, let us know. Maybe we will learn a trick or two from you too.
Update: If you already have a morning routine but seems like something is missing, you might want to check out the next post on this topic,