As a child, I thought it was strange that my mom set her alarm to wake up before anyone else. She’d sit in silence- in the living room if it was cold or on the back deck during warmer weather- and sip her coffee. She wouldn’t read the newspaper or watch the news. This was well before the days of cell phones.
For several years, I’d wake up and rush to get ready and then go straight to work. When I taught English before the sun came up, I’d teach, then shower and go to work.
When my online teaching job ended, I found myself still waking up early. It would be easy to find a mindless task and I did for a few days, but then I realized that I wanted to utilize mornings.
For the better part of a year, I’ve been starting my morning off with a five-minute bible study as I drink a cup of coffee. Following that, I’ll stretch or meditate. After that, I’ll see what I feel like: maybe I’ll write or go for a walk or make a healthy breakfast. Some days I’ll feel motivated enough to workout.
My routine changes based on the season, but it always starts with those first quiet moments. Sometimes, I’ll set my intention for the day. That’s not to say I start adding to my to-do list. It might mean that I’ve noticed I haven’t been drinking enough water, so I’ll focus on staying hydrated. It might mean checking on a friend who I know needs some encouragement.
I’ve heard that productive people get up and 5 am and perhaps that’s true. It certainly is a quiet hour when many people are still asleep. I think the important thing is to be mindful of what you do at the beginning of your day.
A friend had told me that she was feeling anxiety throughout the day and wanted any tips I might have to share. When I asked her what her mornings look like, she was confused. She said that she often hit the alarm a few times and then rushes around getting ready for work, often watching TikTok videos. That sounds stressful!
I suggested she get up at the first alarm so she doesn’t start her day rushing around and then to pick one thing to try, such as reading a chapter of a book or stretching or watering her plants and see if she feels calmer that day. If so, rinse and repeat. If not, see if there is another activity might help. It’s certainly a good starting point to change a habit.
What about you? What’s your morning practice look like?