The Self-Care Capsule: Morning Routines for Successful Days
The way you start your day generally foreshadows the way the rest of the day will go. We all have our mothers in our heads telling us to make our bed in the morning, and studies have found that this one, simple act can improve your productivity. When you start your day on the right foot, everything follows - positive, mindful actions lead to better days.
With many of us working from home for the better part of a year, routines may have been hard to define when the regular, wake-up, drive to the office, work, drive home routine has become non-existent. A lot of people can go from their bed to their computer and then back to their bed because there is nothing delineating work time from personal time anymore. This has caused an increase in anxiety and depression among working people since the start of the pandemic.
Esteemed psychologist Esther Perel wrote that: “Rituals and routines are both about delineating between space and time and creating a grounding rhythm, a predictable structure with a reassuring, calming, and stabilizing effect.” Getting into a routine or creating rituals in the morning will start your day in a positive way, and get you ready for what’s ahead. Starting your day in this way will also create a line between your personal time and your workday, to prevent life and work from bleeding into each other, allowing you to breathe easier.
Highly successful people all have set routines for their mornings, where they do particular things to ensure that their days are productive. We’ve rounded up our favorites to help you get your days started in the best way:
Make your bed
Seriously. “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day,″ retired U.S. Navy Admiral SEAL William H. McRaven said in a commencement speech at the University of Texas in 2014. “It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.” Also, people who regularly make their beds in the morning often describe themselves as “extremely productive” during their workdays.
What we think, we become.
Enter the power of positive affirmations. This isn’t just repeating to yourself how great you are, it’s speaking to yourself in a positive way that combats insecurities and motivates you. While this may seem like something “new age”, it is actually backed by widely accepted psychological theory. Self-affirmation theory is based on empirical studies that researched the idea that we can maintain our sense of self-integrity by telling ourselves (or affirming) what we believe in positive ways (Steele, 1988). Find some affirmations that apply to you and go on and self-affirm!
Meditation can lower stress, boost memory, and even improve your immune system, so it’s no surprise that so many entrepreneurs make this practice a priority in their morning routines. A Harvard study even found that meditation helps combat depression and PTSD. Notable names like Oprah and Ray Dalio make time to meditate every day.
Technology Time Out
Don’t check your phone first thing in the morning. Arianna Huffington insists that removing electronic devices from your sleep space “puts an end to your day”, and allows you to get more restful sleep. Waking up and checking your phone will bombard you with information, which is linked to higher levels of stress and anxiety, says Dr. Nikole Benders-Hadi. According to Dr. Benders-Hadi, this stimulus overload also affects your productivity for the day.
Exercising - be it at home or in a gym - is generally an important part of any successful person’s morning routine. There are so many benefits to starting your day off with a sweat session and making healthier food choices. It can increase alertness, help you maintain a better focus and you can feel more energized throughout your day. Richard Branson is up at 5 AM every morning to get his exercise in. Whether it’s running, tennis or kitesurfing, he says that his morning workout puts him in the right frame of mind to get things done throughout his day.
Log Your Thoughts
Take the time to journal your thoughts, your goals, and your priorities for the day as well as what you’re grateful for. The importance of journaling does not lie in productivity, says Tim Ferriss, it’s basically to clear your mind so that you’re able to take on your day with clarity.
We hope that by adding any of these habits to your morning routine, you’ll see a change in yourself and the way you spend your days.
If you find that you’re still having trouble differentiating between your time and work time, why not take a page out of Cupcakes & Cashmere's Emily Schuman's book and create end-of-day rituals as well. Once she finishes her workday at home, Emily lights a candle that she loves to signal to herself that the working day is done, and she should be focusing on other things.
All of these habits that we’ve introduced are in the lens of self-care, in the interest of doing things to make you feel better. There is no pressure to do one, least of all, all these things. We strongly encourage everyone to listen to what their bodies need and are asking for and do things that are in line with that!