The Morning Routine Helping Me Thrive Through Stress

Routine is important to me. Which may sound strange, given what I’m going to tell you next.

I crave change. I seek it out. I might break-up with it for a month, but before I know it I’m knocking on its door again. Because I like new challenges. I get bored if things stay the same for too long. I love a change of scene—a new adventure.

But it’s the fact that I have the routines I have that make the change I pursue doable for me. It’s what prevents life from being one non-stop panic attack, basically. My morning routine centers me for the day ahead. My evening routine helps me wind down.

Since October there have been a lot of changes in my life and I’ve struggled to find the magic combination of self-care that will make it manageable. During the worst of the chaos, it was all I could do to get enough sleep and feed myself. But I’m currently spending my mornings in a way that’s been working really well for me, so I thought I’d share it here.

6am. I get up; contact lenses go in; I throw on my workout clothes (if it’s a workout day); and I grab a glass of water and a pre-workout snack. I take about 20-minutes to sit quietly and adjust to being awake.

Motivational workout tank is not essential, but highly recommended

Motivational workout tank is not essential, but highly recommended

6:30am. I do a 30-minute workout. Some days it’s intervals on the treadmill (my favorite thing). Two days a week is strength training. But 30-minutes is my max. I add on about 5-minutes of gentle stretching after. I exercise five days a week. I’ve played around with longer sessions on fewer days. I’ve gone through phases where I exercised 7-days a week (10/10 do not recommend). But 30-minutes, 5-days a week seems to be my magic number. It’s enough, but it doesn't exhaust me.

Coffee.jpg

7:15am. I shower, get ready for the day and make breakfast. Usually that’s a smoothie with some spinach, berries and protein powder. Oh, and coffee. Always coffee.

IMG_0162.jpg

8:30am. I read a few pages of whatever inspirational book I’m into at the moment. Lately I’ve been re-reading WE: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere. Still love it. Then I’ll spend about 10-minutes journaling and writing my gratitude list for the day. This is also usually the time where I’ll jot down the major tasks (work and otherwise) I want to get done. Then I’ll take another few minutes to meditate.

9am. I start working. Maybe I have another cup of coffee. Maybe.

So, that’s it. Pretty simple, right? I have the essential self-care practices in there—movement, food, sleep, meditation, journaling/gratitude.

I’m not perfect at it. There are days when I forget to do it, or prioritize other things over it. But I always come back to it because I feel so much better when I’m consistent about those things. Even if the rest of my life is unpredictable, that time in the morning centers me and strengthens me for the day ahead. I’ll write in a later post about how I wind down at the end of the day, especially during times of stress and overwhelm.