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Like most folks, I used to just wake up and jump right into the chaos of my mornings straight away. The amount of times I forget to have breakfast or start yelling at the kids to hurry up because we’re running late – my friends, it happened more often than I care to admit.
As someone who finds great joy in planning out every second of my day, it’s actually really strange that I didn’t start creating a mindful morning routine till the start of this year.
As with all new habits related to my journey of intentional living, figuring out how to start a morning routine that’s mindful and sustainable took some time. And I’m still learning! But I think I’ve finally created a mindful, productive morning routine that really works for me.
And hey, they might just work for you too!
So keep scrolling to find out why having a mindful morning routine is important, tips on how to create your own, and a sneaky peek at my own morning routine (well, routineS – yes, I have more than one!).
What’s a mindful morning routine?
Mindfulness is about practicing habits that allow you to stay present and “in the moment”. It also usually means taking things at a slower pace. Being mindful allows you to approach things with intention, not just distractedly going through the motions.
So let’s say you usually find yourself rushing through your morning, perhaps sipping on coffee while replying to emails while also telling your kids to get ready for school (this was me, haha).
Even while multitasking, you feel like nothing is actually getting done. Spoiler alert: you probably feel this way because that’s exactly what’s happening. So you’re stressed, anxious, rushed, and the entire morning feels like a whirlwind of chaos and stress.
A mindful morning routine is the opposite of this.
Being mindful means that when you sip on that coffee, you do so without distraction. You enjoy the aroma of that warm cup of joe, savouring the taste. While you do this, you practice your affirmations with eyes closed, priming your brain to react positively to whatever life throws at you later on.
And you can smile and laugh at your kids while they run circles around you, gently asking them to please get ready because you have to leave soon. And they do. Because that calm energy? It’s infectious!
And that, my friend, is what a mindful morning routine is.
It’s about replacing that chaos with calm.
Benefits of having a mindful morning routine
Here are the key reasons you should create a mindful morning routine:
It sets the mood and energy for the rest of the day
Just like how a nutritious breakfast helps keep your hunger pangs in check, I’ve found that my calm and mindful mornings spark a positive and high-energy mindset that sets the tone for the entire day!
It helps you feel in control
There are a lot of uncertainties in our lives, so having that structure in the morning can be like an anchor sometimes. While the rest of my day may go in unexpected directions, I know that I’m at least in control of how my morning goes.
It provides an opportunity to develop healthy habits
This was quite an unexpected benefit, but it makes a lot of sense actually. A mindful morning routine will generally contain self-care activities and habits that are good for you.
Going screen-free, incorporating movement, eating healthy food – these are just some of the good habits that may become a part of your healthy morning routine. Before you know it, you’re developing new and healthy habits that will positively impact your wellbeing in the long run!
It reduces stress
If you do it for only one reason, let this be it! As I mentioned before, reducing stress was the main reason I wanted to try a mindful morning routine. I hated feeling so frazzled and overwhelmed so early in the day. It always stressed me out for hours after.
Starting your morning on a calm note does wonders for reducing stress levels. So if you find your mornings are causing a lot of stress, it won’t hurt to give mindful morning routines a try.
It improves your relationships
Whether you live with roommates, a partner, and/or children, being that beacon of serenity in the turbulence of the morning can impact how others around you act – and react – to the chaos.
I’m ashamed to admit that I used to pretty frequently yell and argue with my kids in the mornings. By the time we needed to get in the car to head to school, I’m stressed almost to the point of tears, and we could all feel it.
Fortunately, those horrible mornings have been replaced by laughter, connection, and joy. Do we still have rough mornings sometimes? Sure! But I find comfort in knowing I’m not the source, and I can actually emotionally support whoever actually is having the rough morning.
Tips to help you create a mindful morning routine
It can be tricky to figure out what morning routine habits should be a part of your mindful shift, but hopefully these tips can help you get started!
Think of it as a morning routine checklist – try including these mindful habits one at a time and keep the ones that make sense to you.
1. Ditch the tech
This was by far the hardest change I had to make! It’s just too easy to start scrolling through my inbox or opening up Instagram the moment I wake up. But the research doesn’t lie – checking your phone first thing in the morning just isn’t great for you.
I think of my phone – and all the temptations within – like candy. It’s a nice treat throughout the day, and even then shouldn’t be a big part of your diet. But candy in the morning? Oof, that’s bad!
As part of a mindful morning, I now set my phone aside from the moment I wake to the moment I get home from sending the kids to school. I basically avoid checking it until my work day begins.
And guess what?
I’m still productive, connected, and in the loop. I just don’t let my devices rule my morning or distract me anymore!
2. Embrace Niksen
Niksen – also known as the Dutch art of doing nothing – was a concept I learned about in December 2020 when my husband gifted me a book about it on my birthday. I was slightly offended at first (I don’t have the time to “do nothing”!) but I recommend it to everyone now.
As an ambitious Type A person, I’ve always equated busy-ness with productivity. Spoiler alert: that’s not actually true. Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is to rest and do nothing! This is true whether you’re on the verge of a breakdown or simply starting to feel a little overwhelmed.
But what if you pre-empt that feeling in the first place? Starting my day by doing 5 minutes of nothing by staring at the ceiling allows my mind to wake up slowly and my thoughts to float around freely. It’s relaxing and energising at the same time.
Trust me, try it for a week and you’ll start seeing real changes in how you feel in the morning!
3. Start with an affirmation
It’s no secret that I’m a big believer in the power of positive affirmations. Taking just a few moments of your day to say something positive to yourself can lead to massive shifts in your mindset and self-image.
When you start your day with an affirmation, you’re priming your brain for positive thinking. It’s like turning on the engine of your car – except you’ve turned on the positivity switch in your brain. And these positive thoughts, over time, can completely change the way your brain works.
I tend to have different affirmations based on what’s going on in my life at that given moment, but here are a few that you can try for your mindful morning routine:
- I am full of positive energy
- I am hopeful
- I create joy in everyone around me
- I attract good things and good people
If you want more ideas for positive affirmations, you can download my free eBook – 60 Days Of Positive Affirmations For Women. You’ll also receive a free printable with 30 affirmations that you can pop into your very own affirmations jar!
4. Do a body scan
I read somewhere that just because your mind is awake doesn’t mean that your body gets the memo. Have you ever gotten up from bed and pinched a muscle, or twisted your neck the wrong way, or (like me) realise your joints are singing the song of their people?
Yeah, your body didn’t get the memo.
Body scanning is a technique used in meditation and anxiety management and it’s quite easy to do. There are many resources out there to do it, but this guide to body scan meditation by Headspace is my favourite. You don’t have to listen to the guided meditation if you don’t want to – scroll down to read a simple guide on how to do it.
The thing that helps me most by doing a body scan is visualising where the stress and stiffness rests in my body, and then physically and mentally releasing that stress. It seems a little out there, but it works!
5. Stretch and move
Another way to avoid the ouchies when you wake up is to do some stretching and wiggling before you get out of bed. I try to channel my inner newborn when I do this.
If you’ve ever met a newborn baby, you’ll notice that they go all out with their stretching! Everything from their little scrunched up faces and their teeny tiny toes are involved in the process.
This is separate from yoga poses or functional stretches. This is just taking half a minute to stretch in a way that feels really good! Sometimes I even let out some sounds. It can get a bit moan-y though, so if you don’t want to make things awkward with the people you live with, maybe don’t do it.
This is a great way to get the blood flowing, and slowly – mindfully – waking up your body for the day.
6. Nourish mind, body, soul
Once I get up off my bed, I make sure my routine includes at least one thing to nourish my mind, one thing to nourish my body, and one thing to nourish my soul. This ensures that self-care is a part of my day from the very start.
This can act as a really simple and useful guide for building your mindful morning routine. What are the activities or practices that can nourish your mind, body, and soul? What makes you feel good now and also in the long-term?
You can nourish your mind by doing a crossword, writing in your journal, or listening to an inspiring podcast. You can nourish your body by doing a few minutes of yoga, eating a healthy breakfast, or doing your morning skincare routine. You can nourish your soul through meditation, prayer, or positive affirmations.
If you’re not sure where to even begin finding self-care activities to include in your mindful morning routine, download my free eBook – 100 Quick and Easy Self-Care Ideas. All the ideas in the eBook take between 5-15 minutes to do, which makes them perfect for even the busiest mornings.
7. Remember the oxygen mask rule
If you have people under your care that need your time and attention in the morning, it can really eat into your ‘me time’ during your morning routine. I’m a mum of three kids and three cats – I get it. It can be frustrating at times!
But when I created my mindful morning routine, I took my reality into account from the start. I knew that my mornings would require plenty of caregiving activities. Whether it’s making breakfast, getting my littlest one dressed for Kinder, or loading up the washing machine, there’s always a lot to do.
Using the “oxygen mask rule” reminds me that it’s okay to attend to my needs first before attending to the needs of others. Just a few minutes to stretch, say a positive affirmation, and brush my teeth is all I need to practice a little self-care before I care for others.
Once everyone else has been attended to, I continue with my own self-care activities to further ‘fill my cup’. So be realistic and plan around the eventual interruptions to your morning. Keeping this in mind has done wonders for my mood at the start of the day!
8. Tweak the routine to your changing needs
The most important thing about creating your mindful morning routine is remembering this: it can and will change over time. Sometimes it’s temporary, like getting sick or having houseguests over. Sometimes it’s more permanent, like a career change or having a baby.
So be kind to yourself. Staying flexible means you’ll be able to change your morning routine to suit your needs at every season of life. And have fun with it! Think of it as your chance to try something new and discover new ways to nourish yourself each morning.
While you explore mindfulness in your mornings, take stock of your reality and create realistic goals surrounding your new mindful morning routine.
My mindful morning routine
My morning routine contains several moments of mindfulness and intention. It is still productive, but it isn’t rushed or stressful. And over the long term, I’ve seen a huge shift in how my entire household feels in the morning. That’s what a healthy mindful morning routine can do!
I don’t necessarily do all these morning routine activities every single day (more on that later), but these are the main things I do each morning.
I also get interrupted by my caregiving tasks at times, but that’s okay. It’s more important to me that these things get done instead of getting them done quickly. That’s the key to being mindful – the whole point is to keep it slow and intentional. It’s a healthier mindset to be in, trust me.
And hey, maybe you’ll get some morning routine ideas to inspire your own!
- Niksen – As I mentioned before, I always start my morning with a few minutes of doing nothing. I just stare at the ceiling and let my mind wander a bit. I often have very vivid dreams, so sometimes I take the time to analyse and dissect them, or replay my favourite bits.
- Body scan – I take a few moments to scan my body and release any tension I might be feeling.
- Stretch – So simple, so effective! This is like a small shot of espresso for my body. I can’t believe I used to just jump out of bed, creaky joints and all.
- Skincare – My morning skincare routine is one of my favourite self-care activities. I don’t know if skincare counts as a hobby, but I’m going to say it is for me!
- Yoga – I do a few minutes of yoga every morning. If you’re new to yoga or just don’t want to have to think of your own poses and flows, I highly recommend the 10 minute mindful yoga morning routine videos by Yoga By Kassandra. Dubbed the Morning Yoga Movement, this video playlist is available for free on YouTube!
- Journaling – I write at least one page in my journal every day. Sometimes I write poems, sometimes it’s a gratitude list, sometimes it’s an attitude list (AKA things I’m annoyed about), and sometimes it’s just a summary of what I did the day before.
- Affirmations – I usually do this during my skincare routine, while I drink my morning tea or coffee, and while I practice yoga. There are many opportunities throughout the day to incorporate practice affirmations, so I try to pepper them into my morning.
- Planning – I always end my morning routine by checking my Saint Belford Curation Planner to see my to-do list for the day. This acts as the perfect segue between my morning routine and my work day, and helps me ease into my day with intention.
You can have more than one morning routine
When you’re building the mindful morning routine that suits your life, it’s important to remember that not all mornings are created equal! So when asking yourself “What should my morning routine be?”, think of the types of morning that you have in a regular week.
I personally have a few different morning routines. I have the weekday morning routine above, which is actually split down the middle by school drop-offs. Step 5, my ten minutes of yoga, is part of my second morning routine after I return home and have the house to myself.
I also have my weekend morning routines, including my self-care Sundays when I spend a couple of hours for my self-care. It often includes a warm shower, body scrub, face mask, Selfie Skin IPL session, and lots of body lotion. Bliss!
You may also have:
- A home morning routine and an office morning routine.
- A weekday and weekend morning routine.
- A morning routine when your partner sleeps over and another when you’re solo.
No matter what the circumstances, it’s a good idea to have at least a few mindful activities each morning.
Create a morning routine that works for you
Making your mindful morning routine a habit will take time, so be real about what you can do. Just like all new habits, it’s best to incorporate one new goal or habit at a time. I also recommend that you start with the activities that you know you’ll enjoy or are the easiest to incorporate into your routine.
And remember: just because it’s slow and mindful doesn’t mean it’s not productive. You might be surprised by how much you can get done when you commit to a mindful productive morning routine!
I still manage to make my morning routine productive without stressing out, so really it’s a win-win. I genuinely hope you can find the same sense of calm and peace in your morning that I have.
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