Five am to 6:30 am is the time of my morning routine. It’s my favorite 90 minutes of the day. PERIOD. To be fair, I’m a morning person. It’s easier for this to be the golden hour of my life because I’m wired for it. My morning routine was born after the birth of my second child. Two kids was a lot more than one, and I committed to a meditation practice that helped me with this stage of life. While my alone time was frequently interrupted by a newborn (duh), now that my boys are older, it’s more common that those 90 minutes are mine.

I’m reading a book called “My Morning Routine, How Successful People Start Their Day” that discusses how your early morning habits can potentially boost your productivity and relax you. I’m less concerned with the “success” part, but more interested in how becoming intentional with my morning tasks can equip me with a more mindful, centered and grounded woman and mama. Starting my day in this manner feels like arming myself with superpowers ready to handle uncertainly and potential morning chaos. You know, when kids won’t get dressed, brothers bicker (more like brawl) and you forget you had to pack snacks for all the kids in your son’s class, etc?  This routine certainly doesn’t guarantee I won’t lose my cool, but I know I’ll do better than if I hadn’t carved out the me-time.

Why the MORNING?

The morning seems to be an opportune time. It’s less likely to get interrupted. And once you commit to it, and do it regularly, you’ll see results. In fact, I do everything in my power to protect it. That’s why I aim to get in bed by 8:45 pm, leaving time to read, and then turn the lights off around 9:15 pm. I just don’t want to be too tired and sleep through it. Plus, in case you haven’t heard…you need 7-8 hours of sleep at night to be your best.

What does my morning routine look like?

5-6 am exercise (run, strength train or yoga)

6:00-6:30 am

  • Meditate for ~15-20 minutes using the app: insight timer
  • Read something that fills my soul – my favorite ever daily read is called “The Book of Awakening” by Mark Nepo
  • Eat breakfast – current obsession – kefir milk mixed with plain yogurt, honey, berries + my homemade granola

Bowl of plain yogurt with chia seeds, granola, strawberries and blueberries with a spoon in yogurt, berries on the side of the bowl

Examining What You Need In Your Morning Routine. 

That’s my gig, but what do you need in yours? You might ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How much time do I REALLY have? Could I create more? Could I hit the snooze button less (or not at all)? Per my morning routine book, hitting the snooze button isn’t productive. The “extra” sleep isn’t high-quality.
  2. What activity would set me up for a day that is more intentional, grounded, productive or joyful?
    • Could getting exercise done provide you less decision fatigue later in the day?
    • Maybe writing in a journal would help you process some difficult challenges you are currently facing?
    • What would it feel like to mindfully drink your coffee or tea while doing nothing else. Could it be the ONE time in your day that you let you mind be still?

I believe that a healthy mind, body and soul doesn’t just happen. We must get intentional and set boundaries around what we need. For a while, I was feeling guilty about hearing my husband putting away the clean dishes or getting breakfast ready for the boys while I was quietly reading away in the other room. We had a conversation about it and committed that we could do whatever we wanted for ourselves until 6:30 am.

What if I’m Not a Morning Person?

If you’re not a morning person, maybe you turn my morning routine into an evening routine that doesn’t include Netflix? Perhaps you could try going to bed slightly earlier so you have an additional 15-30 minutes to set up your day as you wish. While this self-care routine can feel like a luxury (especially as a parent), what it really is, is a well-deserved placeholder for you and your time.

I hope you give it a try for awhile, that is if you aren’t already. Let us know if you do. We would love to hear what happens.

-Jennifer

Jennifer McDaniel

Jennifer McDaniel is a Registered Dietitian, Media Spokesperson, and co-author of Prevention's Mediterranean Table Cookbook. She and her team of Registered Dietitians aim to help their clients go further, make change last, and unlock their potential. She lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband, and three young sons. If you are interested in working with Jennifer, please visit our contact page.