My Morning Routine
I love my morning routine though.
Yeah, even on the weekends.
It has been an absolute pain in the hoop to get INTO the routine, and I’m still figuring out the details and adapting as I go, but it just takes so much hassle out of my day, without me even having to think about it too hard.
Take showering for example. Changing states is difficult for me, going from dry to wet to dry, changing clothes, it all translates into my brain as hassle. It can take a lot to get me going, but if I’m going I sort of need to keep going, because historically I’ve been running on fuel that is trauma sourced and fed so the innate danger is that if I stop I won’t get up again.
Dramatic explosive changes I can do, but the gentle transitioning of getting in the shower is a constant struggle. Welcome, my friends, to the world of executive dysfunction.
“Properly taking care of yourself seems comparable to running a marathon and a half. Maybe you don’t even want to take care of yourself. Maybe you just want to wither away. Either way, this is day three without a shower, and the only reason you’ve eaten anything is because junk food is cheap, and there sure is a hell of a lot of it in your room.”
[Quote from here, but it’s not a great article tbh]
There’s not a huge amount of information available on it, and what’s there is often taken from different contexts.
But the upshot of all of this is that to get moving in the morning, I need to not be making choices or decisions. I need a routine that means I just get moving and stay moving through it without having to think too much. That takes a trigger, and then clear steps to follow.
Here’s how I do it.
My Morning Routine
Sometimes I wake before the alarm, and I have my tablet to hand with eBooks on there, and to be able to check the time because my phone is at the end of the bed, but no Facebook. I can check email on there to make sure there’s nothing super urgent, and to see if I made any money overnight… but I don’t get into reading them. I’ll usually take a look at online banking too, and do any transfers or bill paying that’s due that day. If I woke a good bit before the alarm, I’ll do my morning professional reading, or meditation in here, depending what I’m in the mood for.
8am – Alarm goes off, but phone is at the end of the bed out of reach. So, I have to get up to turn it off. Then I sit on side of bed and drink some water (I make sure I bring a bottle or glass with me the night before), eat an energy bar (just dates and nuts, from Aldi – no sugar), take my meds, look out the window for a while to collect my thoughts. Bathroom time; I use the loo, and brush my teeth. I’m awake now.
Showering. I turn on the bluetooth speaker and put on the business audiobook or podcast I’m currently listening too. Right now it’s The $100 Startup: Fire Your Boss, Do What You Love and Work Better To Live More, by Chris Guillebeau (you can get it on Amazon.com here, or Amazon.co.uk here). I focus on that, letting the ideas and interest bits fire off in my brain, to distract myself from having to shower. Get clean, get dry, get dressed.
I leave the biz audio on, grab my bullet journal and bits from the bedroom, and head downstairs. I drink more water, let the dog out, check on my garden, and make a green smoothie from a bag of spinach I keep in the fridge, a fresh banana, and whatever frozen smoothie mix is in the freezer. I’ll either fill the watering can a billion times to water the garden while I’m drinking this, still listening to the audio as I go, or I’ll sit outside (inside if it’s lashing, but even then I might stand under the tree a while). I’ll usually check WhatsApp messages at this point and say the daily hellos to my family, make sure nobody has died in the nighttime. Things like that.
When I’m done, I head into the sitting room where we keep our altar space, turn off the audio stuff, and I’ll say good morning to the Mórrígan. This could be anything from beating a rhythm on the Bodhrán drum, to making an offering of alcohol or incense or berries from the garden, to just saying a prayer silently or aloud. But it does always involve lighting a small votive candle on her altar and leaving some silent space for her to say good morning back. Or whatever the fuck she wants to communicate to me that day… though many days she is silent.
Then I turn on the Calm app and do the daily meditation, or choose one from the menu themes. I’m curious to try the Winnie The Pooh meditations but haven’t got there yet. Maybe next week. After that the biz audio often goes back on, or professional development (ie Irish heritage, folklore or mythology) audio, but it’s more difficult to get good versions of things I want to study on audio, so I usually have to read those myself.
Because it’s time for my physio exercises! Between the dodgy knee and the persistent pain in my shoulder, I’ve a lot to be strengthening up here, and I keep the hand weights weights, roller, and stretchy elastic tension thingy in the room ready to go. If I’m feeling particularly energetic I might throw in a few stomach crunches here as well, but that’s a new thing.
If I didn’t get to read professional development stuff here, I’ll do that at this point – a chapter of a book, a section of an academic paper. It doesn’t take too long, and I might make a few notes to get the hands warmed up for the next stage.
Office time. I’ll refill my water on the way through (I’ve probably put about a litre into me at this point, but I need at least 3 litres every day) and go sit at my desk. I open the bullet journal and either read aloud or rewrite some affirmations, and spend a few minutes visualising what I’m telling myself. Then I turn to the next available page and write the day and date at the top, and check back through my monthly/master tasks and events, and my weeklies, to make sure I’ve not missed anything.
This is that training your brain to trust the system thing, making space to regularly go back and regroup or gather up any loose ends, and putting them where they need to be on a plan of action.
Then I’ll write out the tasks for the day, working round any planned events, and slotting it all in. If there’s a lot, I take a few minutes to prioritise what HAS to get done or what would be nice to get done, and then I might even number them in order of which I want or need to do first.
All of that usually takes me about 2 hours, and I am ready to start writing by 10am. I begin with my biggest project, currently my book on Pagan Priesthood, and get the daily word count for that done while I’m fresh and still have will power. (We’ll have a look at decision fatigue another day!)
My first break usually happens round 11.30 or 12 noon when I’m done that. I get some coffee and carbs into me at that point, and allow myself a small Facebook check in. Gotta watch this addictive nature round things that are designed to addict me!
I’ve developed this routine over YEARS mind you. I was doing bits and pieces of it at different points through my whole life, but it’s only in the last year or so that ‘ve put it all together and got in the rhythm of it like this.
So if you’re starting off, just pick one thing. And do it tomorrow. Keep doing it every day until you’re used to it and you don’t have to remind yourself to do it. Until it becomes something you rely on rather than something of a chore or a hassle.
What’s the one small change you could make tomorrow to begin or improve your own morning routine, to make your day a little better?
We’re a few days in now, so I’d love some feedback. Is this useful? Any questions? Anything I’ve mentioned that you’d like me to expand on or just talk more about?
Let me know in the comments below!
Don’t forget the links to books I share are ALWAYS my personal resource recommendations, but are also sometimes affiliate links if you want to head over and get a copy for yourself. It doesn’t affect you in the slightest, or cost you anything, but I get a few cents kickback if you buy. I’m not going to remind ye of this every time now, but I want to be crystal clear and accountable!