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Self-care morning routines seem to be all the rage at the moment. But they are not just a trendy fad, a routine can help you set yourself up for a healthy and productive day. The problem is that we often feel guilty for putting our own needs first. It’s commonplace for us to look after others and then see to ourselves if there is enough time leftover. But it is essential that we take good care of ourselves in order to be able to look after others.
It has taken me months, if not years, to find good self-care morning routines that work for me; and my routine sometimes changes depending on whether I’m working that day or not. I sometimes get bored with my routine or discover something new that I want to try to see if it works for me.
The point is, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ morning routine. You have to find what works for you with the obligations you may have. For example, my son is now 20 years old, so I don’t have to factor in looking after his needs anymore, but I have 2 cats who do need looking after. If you have young children, your routine may involve getting up a little earlier than normal to give yourself some downtime with a cuppa before they wake.
In this post, I’d like to look at what a self-care routine actually is, what sort of things you can include in your routine, how to start self-care morning routines (and how to help them evolve), and most importantly for those who deal with morning anxiety, how to calm yourself in the morning.
Let’s get to it!
What are self-care morning routines?
Self-care morning routines are exactly what they sound like. They are a way of managing your self-care so that you consistently include looking after your needs every day. Making something into a routine is basically making it a habit. Good habits are essential to our wellbeing so having a routine that includes looking after your mental and physical wellbeing is important.
What should I put on my self-care routine?
This is one of those things that only you can really answer. What do you need to do to make your day go smoother, stay healthy and focused and feel good?
This can include meditation, eating a healthy breakfast, getting in some exercise or just sitting quietly with a cup of herbal tea before the kids get up. This is my morning routine at the moment:
6.00 am – Get up and take my iron supplement. Have a cup of peppermint tea. I take iron for anaemia, and it is best taken on an empty stomach, so I always start with this in a little orange juice to help my body absorb it better. I enjoy a cup of peppermint tea in the morning, and if my IBS is playing up, I will have peppermint, fennel and camomile tea.
6.30 am – Have a shower. I like to take a shower in the morning as it makes me feel more prepared for the day. I brush my teeth before I eat because I like to get rid of the ‘morning breath’ that comes with sleeping!
7.00 am – Have breakfast. My current breakfast consists of yogurt, berries and a nut, seed and dried fruit mix. I’m hypoglycemic so I need to regulate my blood sugar levels, and eating protein and carbohydrate keeps them level. I also take my medication and supplements with my breakfast.
The rest of my morning routine depends on if I’m working or not.
7.15 am – Make my lunch and get my work stuff ready. Lunch will normally consist of something with protein and carbohydrate, such as a hummus and lettuce sandwich, rice salad or lentil soup. This ensures my blood sugar will stay consistent throughout my day.
7.45 am – Work on the blog. I usually manage to fit in about 30-45 minutes on this blog every morning; just to catch up with any social media activity, read emails from readers or other bloggers, and make notes on any things that need tweaking. I enjoy blogging so I feel this is a good part of my routine too.
8.15 am – Go to work. I work in retail for a lovely family run business and this is where my morning self-care routine ends. Though I am partial to a bit of soothing music on the way there!
7.15 am – Meditate. I meditate even if I’m not working. It is an important part of my day.
7.30 – 9.30 am – Blog. Although I don’t blog full-time (yet) I do spend a couple of hours on it on days when I’m not working. Writing posts, planning content, posting to my social media channels and so on. I would one day like to be able to make it my full-time job. So I try to be consistent with growing it. I also find that sharing my experiences with you makes me feel like I’m doing a good thing. Helping people is what I love to do most.
10.00 am – My day starts. This is where you will find me doing housework, cleaning, shopping and whatever else my day entails while I’m off work!
How do I start a self-care routine?
Starting a self-care routine is relatively easy. It’s sticking to it that can be difficult. New habits are not formed overnight, and you may find that some things you want to do, just don’t fit in with your life. The way I started was to make a list of things I needed to work on, ways to do that and work out how to fit those things into my day.
For example, I knew I wanted to work on my mental wellbeing, particularly calming myself, so meditation seemed like the ideal way to do this. I was easily able to incorporate a 10 minute daily guided meditation into my morning with an app called Calm.
However, I also love to read. But doing this in the morning, makes me feel sleepy, so I now read as part of my evening routine.
Diet is also another thing I needed to be careful with. I have IBS which means I need to eat healthily to keep my digestive system well, and I also have hypoglycemia which is an issue with my blood sugar levels. To keep my sugar and energy levels even, I need to eat protein and carbohydrate throughout the day, to give me a consistent release of energy. So this was something I also needed to include in my morning routine.
So make a list of the things you need to work on. Diet is always a good one, breakfast should be a healthy start to your day, with plenty of energy-releasing ingredients, such as proteins; nuts and seeds are good examples.
If you need to work on your mental health, try meditating, yoga or pilates.
Once you know what you need to do, and how you would like to tackle it, look at what time you have in the morning to fit it into. Write down your obligations as they currently are and see where you can fit in some you time.
It may mean you having to get up 30 minutes earlier, or moving some of your routine/obligations to the evening.
Try it out and see how it goes. Remember that you are the only one who can judge if it works for you. If it does, great! If not, try moving things around or trying something different. Don’t have time for yoga? Try meditation. Don’t have time for a sit-down breakfast? Make a healthy smoothie you can take with you.
You can always tweak your routine until you find what works for you. I still tweak mine sometimes if something isn’t working for me.
How do I calm myself in the morning?
For those of us who often suffer from anxiety in the morning, calming ourselves is essential. For me, it’s a case of accepting that my anxiety is going to cause IBS issues. This usually means several visits to the bathroom in the first hour. So I can’t do too much until it passes.
This is why I always try to include meditation practice. Taking myself away from my concerns, focussing on the here and now and bringing my attention to my breath helps to calm my mind and body.
I walk to work every morning, which also helps to burn off any residual anxious energy too.
Try meditation, conscious breathing or a body scan to focus your mind and calm down your anxiety in the mornings.
- There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ routine for self-care in the mornings, you need to find what works for you
- The mind, body and spirit are all connected and therefore all need your attention to give yourself complete self-care
- Diet, exercise and meditation are some of the ways you can look after yourself
- If you are not at your best, you can’t help anyone else!
Do you have a self-care routine? Share it with us in the comments!