Self-care: How to Create a Morning Routine

Here’s something I’m curious about: Are you a morning person? Or a night owl? Does one of those groups dominate among knitters? I don’t even have a prediction about this! Let us know in the comments, and we’ll see what conclusions can be drawn.

Either way, whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, a morning routine can give you a good start to the day. And you know what they say: Start as you mean to go on. For morning people, a routine is a way to make the most of the best hours of the day. For the not-so-early inclined, a routine can dial down the impact a little, and ease you into the day with some bubble wrap for the sharp edges.

Everyone likes a routine—except for a rebel. Rebels tell me they hate routine. And I believe them, but … everyone can benefit from a morning routine, even a rebel. If that’s you, invite your inner rebel to read along now. There’s something here for her, too. Let’s begin.

Suggestions for creating a morning routine

Step 1: Do not start by asking Senior Manager Google how to create a morning routine.

See, already we have something for the rebels. It is so easy to create a morning routine that the first action we take is a non-action!

If you Google for suggestions, it’s just going to get you a stack of job productivity hacks. This is self-care, not employer-care, so we’ll leave the career-oriented tips to another, less knitterly outlet. The morning routine I have in mind is primarily for your benefit, not your employer’s.

Step 2: Ask yourself, what is this morning routine actually for?

Is it for serenity? Is it for ease? Is it for getting organized?

Is it to make sure that the best hours of the day are used for the highest good? Is it to make sure the worst hours of the day pass in relative painlessness?

Is it, in fact, for productivity? That would be okay, too, if it’s productivity for you or if it pays well. Or both!

Depending on what would care for you, here are some candidates to consider:

  • Anything that lifts your mood, that feels good while you’re doing it. Perhaps yoga or meditation. Perhaps kickboxing.
  • Anything that will lift your mood and feel good when it’s done, even if not during. I don’t love cleaning the bathroom, but I love having a clean bathroom.
  • Anything that’s simply got to be done every day and is better got out of the first way thing. See “bathroom, cleaning the” above.
  • Anything that, if done every day, accumulates into a big result (could be an object, could be a skill…). Sooo many candidates. So many sweaters!
  • Anything that’s going to get you well set up for later. Like a glance at the calendar. Nothing is more flustering than missing appointments, and nothing could be easier than checking. But we’ve all got things that actually have to be made part of a routine, or they won’t be remembered. The calendar check is mine.

Step 3: Trial your routine.

There’s a thing that can happen with morning routines, and you’ve either spotted the problem here or run into it in real life: A routine can get kind of long. If you do even a fraction of what they tell you is good to do first thing in the morning, you’re going to run out of morning pretty quick and be well into the afternoon. Not the outcome we’re shooting for.

So whether you’re starting from scratch, or your morning routine has gotten stale and is due for a refresh, start with a trial.

A routine isn’t a routine until it is in fact, you know: a routine. Until you can roll out of bed and just kind of do it. By definition, it’s not a routine on Day 1.

So begin with something provisional and see what you think. Evaluate the routine before you evaluate your performance of it. If something isn’t performing, 86 it!

If the inner rebel is very active right now…

One more thing for the rebels here. It’s a gnarly thing to talk about and it’s also your bonus goldmine. If the good people at MDK HQ trusted me with design matters, I would put a 90s style marquee of dancing butterflies around this paragraph. (You’re wondering right now why they don’t trust me with the design, aren’t you?) Okay so no marquee, but just know: BONUS GOLDMINE for you to dig here:

When we say things like I can’t be told what to do! I can’t be told what to do every day! I can’t be held to a routine! I need to be free!, we’re having a good healthy rebellious impulse. And yet. That impulse might be slightly misdirected.

There are times we don’t want to do things that would be good for us because it might also be good for someone else. Someone who wants us to do things that are good for us, so they can say I told you so. That is a BIG DRAG and a BIG reason stopping people doing things that would make them happy.

I am the world’s oldest living Gen Xer and mother of some of the oldest living Millennials. As such, both I and even my very youngest kid are old enough to have had schoolteachers who were old enough to be those gloating told-ya-so types. Or maybe that person you never want to please is a parent or older sibling or the neighborhood busybody. That type of person is really not uncommon.

But so what? Rebel friends, consider that doing what’s right for you is a very high form of rebellion indeed. Contemplate that.

Anyway, nobody has to know that you are winning Morning Routine.

Next time we’ll talk about creating an evening routine because as you might already know, morning begins at night.

More on routines:

In Case of Emergency: Don’t Break Glass

Image: Flowers of a Hundred Worlds (Momoyogusa): Morning Glories (Asagao), 1909-10. Kamisaka Sekka. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Norman O. Stone and Ella A. Stone Memorial Fund. public domain.

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