“Routine” – A sequence of actions regularly followed.
Routines can provide structure and focus to your daily activities. Having a morning routine can help you prepare for the rest of your day. Whilst some people may prepare for the day ahead the night before, having a morning routine is equally important.
How many of you have a routine? I never had one, until now. I used to roll out of the bed as soon as the alarm went. Wash my face, use the bathroom, get dressed, eat then zoom out the door. But I always felt rushed. I felt like I didn’t have time to really sit down think about what I wanted my day to be like.
So I created a morning routine.
Feel, distract, meditate. – this sums up my morning routine. In a depth:
In the past, I use to completely dismiss my feelings. I would instead keep my feelings buried and neatly tucked away and head out the door with a smile on my face. If I had a day where I wasn’t feeling great, I would pretend that I was fine. Suppressing my feelings and emotions was how I kept afloat. Suppressing how you feel however dampens your spirit.
When I started my Masters in Psychotherapy in September 2016 I was asked to start and keep a journal of feelings, thoughts, and emotions. When I began journaling initially I was very inconsistent. But as time has gone by, I make it my duty to journal every single day. I’ve also gone through two journals, and I’m now on my third journal as of August 2017.
So in my current journaling practice, I ask myself how am feeling this morning. I reflect on any dreams I may have had the night before. I write down my worries and my stressors. I often keep my journal beside my pillow; I also carry it around wherever I go. Journaling is a great way of reflecting on the events that have happened in your life, past, and present. It’s definitely a great way of tracking the emotions you feel on a regular basis.
Word Searches or Puzzles
Word searches – You either love em’ or hate em’.
Studies have found that word searches and other puzzles can help improve focus, memory, vocabulary, and overall mental acuity. According to a Havard Business Review by Gilkey & Kilts (2007), word searches can help us to develop our pattern recognition skills. There’s also a dopamine connection when completing word searches.
I tend to complete word searches or puzzles after I’ve journaled, allows me to take a break from my feelings and thoughts, and develop my focusing skills.
Meditation or Prayer
I’m still developing my meditation practice as I find meditation difficult. Meditation or ‘mindfulness’ reduces stress, improves concentration, increases self-awareness etc. I tend to use guided meditation and only stick to 5 minutes, as that’s how much I can hack at this moment in my life. If I don’t meditate then I’ll engage in prayer or read Psalm’s from the bible, or verses of the day.
So how can I create my own?
First of all your morning routine can consist of whatever makes you feel most alert. The things I list here are simply ideas. Your goal is to find a system that works for you.
- Choose an anchor: Choose the one thing you believe will have the greatest impact on your mood or productivity. Begin with one element, and then practice it regularly before adding additional elements.
- Add additional elements: Once your first anchor has become a part of your day, you can add other elements.
- Try new things: If something isn’t working for you then switch it up! For example, if you don’t feel meditating is working for you, try listening to a motivational podcast.
- Remain consistent: Try to stick with the elements you’ve chosen.