5 SMALL Tweaks to Transform Your Morning
What’s the first thing you did this morning?
No, really, take a minute to think back to how you started this day.
Maybe you got up the minute your alarm went off, hopped right in the shower, made a home-cooked breakfast for your family, took the dog on a walk, and then helped everyone get organized and out the door for school and work.
Maybe you hit the snooze button a couple of times (Hey, no judgment! We’ve all been there!), dug through your clean laundry pile looking for socks (Yeap, still no judgment!), flipped through emails while you guzzled your coffee, and hustled everyone out the door with a granola bar and a hug.
Or maybe you thought to yourself, “This morning? I … Geez, I don’t know! I can’t even remember!”
We all know that our mornings set the tone for the rest of our day.
Listen, that whole “woke up on the wrong side of the bed” thing is no joke. When your day gets off to a hectic, stressful, frantic start, it can be hard to recover.
I promise I’m not here to try to turn you into a “morning person,” but I do want you to have the best tools to start your days in a healthy, mindful way! (Even on the days where your coffee needs a coffee.)
So here are five small tweaks that will transform your morning:
1. Wake up to an alarm that’s not your phone.
When your phone is your alarm, it’s the first thing you grab in the morning. And we spend so much time on our phones that sometimes it’s just reflex—you unlock the screen and before you even know it, you’re opening your email. Or reading the news. Or Googling “how to ask for a raise without asking for a raise.”
Instead of coming into your day gently, you’re starting with your brain in reactive mode, already thinking and worrying about all the things that need to get done.
When you use an alarm that’s not your phone, you’re opening up some space so that your whole day isn’t driven by that little device that takes up so much of our mental space.
Any good ol’ alarm clock will do, but I especially love a sunrise alarm clock.
2. Create space before you pick up your devices.
Just because you didn’t pick up your phone to turn off that alarm doesn’t mean it’s not still going to be calling to you. Chances are probably good that the first thing you do in the morning is grab your phone.
Those reflexes kick in, and next thing you know, you’ve gone completely down the rabbit hole of checking emails and your calendar, and suddenly you’re starting your workday a full two hours before the “official” workday begins.
So create a space in the morning, maybe the first 30 or 60 minutes, where you do not use your device for tasks.
That doesn’t mean you can’t touch your phone at all. If waking up to glow-up videos on TikTok helps start your day with a smile, go for it! But commit to avoiding those work-related apps like your email or your office Sling chat so that your day starts with things that bring you joy rather than with your to-do list.
3. Start your day with meditation.
I know how hard it is to avoid your devices first thing in the morning. But here’s the thing—it’s much easier when you have a plan for something else you’re going to do first thing when you wake up. That’s right, we’re gonna swap that phone time for a mindful activity instead—meditation.
This doesn’t have to be an hour-long guided meditation session; just take as little as 3 minutes, and just imagine what a good day would look like.
Use the time to set an intention and to think about the kind of day you want to have. Now hold up for a second, remember, we’re not planning our day during this time. Instead, use this time to think about the kind of energy you want to bring to this day—Who do you want to be? What kinds of interactions do you want to have?
The reality is that for all of our planning, we have no idea what the day will bring. This is your time to just decide how you want to show up, regardless of the day brings. Do you want to embody calm? Self-confidence? Joy? Positivity?
You can’t plan for the events of the day, but you can create a goal for how you will show up in every interaction.
Listen, I’m never going to be the person who tries to convince you to work out first thing in the morning. Because I ain’t gonna do it, so I’m not going to tell you that you should either. (Unless you’re someone who really loves getting your workout in first thing!)
The key to actually working out consistently is doing it in a way that you enjoy it. So if you’re not going to enjoy it in the morning, don’t put that expectation on yourself.
BUT I’m also all for starting your day with some good movement, like getting in some stretching. Stretching is a great, gentle way to wake up your body and to get your muscles and tendons ready for your day.
And because many of us spend most of our day sitting, starting your day with a good stretch helps ensure you showed your body some love before you ask it to chill for hours at your desk.
5. Connect with the people you love.
The second you walk out the door in the morning (or sit down in your home office), the flow of the day takes over. We get caught in traffic, jump into meetings, try to respond to every email in our inbox, drive to 4 different stores to find that brand of yogurt our kids really like…
But if you have a joyful moment to come back to, you can always find your inner peace.
This doesn’t have to be a big lift. I’m not telling you that you need to cook a five-course breakfast and have a kumbaya talk with your family every morning. But if you have time to eat breakfast together, savor that moment instead of answering emails.
Crank up “We Don’t Talk about Bruno” on the drive to school and sing your hearts out.
Roll down the car window and yell “I love you, baby!” as they’re walking into school.
Will it embarrass them? Probably. Will they remember that love all day? Definitely.
And when you’re in the middle of the crush of the day, you’ll be able to take a deep breath, touch back to that loving memory, recenter, and move forward. That quality time anchors you in the things that matter most so that the little (and big!) frustrations of the day don’t pull you off course.
To sum it up...
If you’re not a morning person, that’s okay! Implementing some of these small habits into your morning routine will jumpstart your day and set yourself up for success. And the best part is, these tips don’t require any drastic changes. They may seem almost too simple, but trust me, they will make a big impact on how you feel throughout the day.
These five easy tweaks can make all the difference in your day-to-day happiness and productivity.
What tips do you have for starting the day in a mindful way?
Hiya! I'm Karen.
My main goal is to give you the mental skills you need to experience less stress and more joy.
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Either way-see you soon!