Call it whatever you want: quiet time, me time, time with God, or a morning ritual, routine, or practice. The act of staking claim on your day, first thing, does wonders for your mental health.
What you do during your morning routine is far less important than that you just have one. It can take you 10 minutes or 2 hours.
Start with where you are, and build it up as you go.
Here’s my current version (these do evolve and change as we grow, so allow for that too):
I wake up, get the coffee going, and spend time with some spiritual texts that support my particular recovery program. (I’m sober so I always tend to that first.)
Then I take my coffee back into bed and write Morning Pages (3 pages of handwritten free writing) as taught by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. I’ve been doing these for 10 years or more and I swear by this practice for higher thinking, clarity, creativity, and overall well-being.
After I write, I meditate. I have a really robust set of practices that I like to randomly cycle through. It might be a basic sitting practice, intuitive movement or yoga, centering prayer, meditating on a line from A Course in Miracles, or some spiritual reading and contemplation. But it’s generally 15–30 minutes of quiet stillness.
Once I’ve meditated, my day officially begins. I’m off to breakfast and possibly a workout, but the structure is open and I’m available to the world at this point.
Those first few steps are absolutely non-negotiable. I do them every day, everywhere I go. Sometimes I may write a little less if I have to be somewhere super early, or I’ll shorten my meditation to 4 minutes or so, but these are the things I always do to center and ground myself before I head into my day.
I am fiercely protective of this time. And I am deeply grateful that I’ve created this routine for myself, because it has done wonders for my mental health. It gives me the structure and support I need and from there, I can grow and be my best self.
Here are the top 3 reasons I insist on spending the first part of my morning on myself, and why I strongly suggest you do it too:
1. It sets the tone for my day.
Before the world starts pulling at my attention, screaming the bad news at me, or filling my to-do list with its demands, I get to decide important things when I start my day off right. I decide how I want to feel. I choose my priorities. I take a look at my upcoming appointments and prepare myself mentally for whatever I need or want to get done that day.
It allows me to manage my time and my mind, so the day feels more in control and much more serene. I’m not at the mercy of everyone else’s schedule; I take time to make my own plans, and then even when life throws something unexpected at me, I can pivot and change course with more grace and ease.
Without a morning routine, I’m stressed and reactive. With the morning routine, I am calmer, more creative, and able to handle things better.
2. It connects me to Source.
I call it God. You might call it a sense of peace, or Love, or the Universe, or your highest self. Whatever you call it does not matter. But for me, my morning routine helps me nourish and build an intentional, reciprocal relationship with this Something Greater, and I suffer when I don’t have that connection.
3. It connects me to myself , to my dreams and goals, and ambition and potential.
It also helps me work through my fears, anxieties, and worries. It’s the ultimate in self-love. First thing, I am spending time with myself, basically saying, “Hey friend, how are you? How do you feel? What do you want? What can I do for you today?” This foundation of self-love has allowed me heal so much and really create a sense of self-trust and respect.
If you don’t have a morning routine yet, I invite you create one. Keep these 2 tips in mind:
- Start small. Instead of trying to immediately get the ideal 2-hour routine going, try carving out 15 minutes for yourself. Get up a bit earlier if you need to. Don’t worry about feeling tired; the energy you save when you start your day rooted in your power will more than make up for the 15 minutes of sleep you’re giving up.
- Start with one thing. You don’t have to go from nothing to a full-blown practice like mine. Pick one thing that appeals to you and begin with that. Write for 10 minutes, read some poetry, say a prayer or set an intention, do a couple yoga poses, or just sit quietly with your coffee and watch the sun rise. Whatever appeals to you, start there, and add components as you feel called to them.
Wherever you start, whatever you choose, trust that by choosing to put yourself, your peace, and your well-being first will ultimately serve the whole world in a powerful way.