A morning routine to boost happiness and creativity

For the past year or so, I've been experimenting with different morning routines. Trying to find something that both eases me into the day and also energizes me for the work ahead. 

In the process, I've found I'm a person who values variety and flexibility, so it's not always in my best interest to do the same things morning after morning.

(I found it refreshing when James Wedmore admitted the same in this podcast.)

I do have a few things that have stuck + one or two more that I would LIKE to make stick. Read below to see what they are.

1 Putting the kettle on

The first thing I do without fail, is walk into the kitchen and fill my electric kettle with water. (Side note- one of the possessions I'm most grateful for is my electric kettle. For real. I fought Mr. Gooder for a long time, saying I didn't need one. Then, he just bought me a nice one, and OMG! I use that thing probably 20 times a day. Not exaggerating.)

Then, most weekdays, I make matcha green tea. But I also brew coffee in my chemex- especially on the weekends. I'm also partial to this Yerba Mate & tulsi green tea from Thrive Market. 

Recently, Thrive included a sample pack of mushroom coffee in my order, and it was love at first sip. I know, I know... sounds disgusting. I assure you, it's not. Especially with some frothed milk. 

2 Meditation

After making tea, the next thing I'm trying to make a daily routine is meditation. I'm about 65-70% there right now. When I first started trying to add it to the morning, of course I went all in and decided I MUST meditate for 20-25 minutes. Dudes...that totally set me up for failure. I just wasn't ready for it. So now, I'm doing a meditation morning snack so it makes it easier for me to fold it into my daily routine. 10 minutes usually does the trick, and the more I do it on the regular, the more 10 minutes seems to sail by. I've also found that when it's just 10 minutes, sometimes I'll even come back later in the afternoon and do another 5-10 minutes as a reset. So yeah, it's been difficult for me to do this every single day, but I've gotta tell ya- when I do, it exponentially changes my day for the better. I highly recommend the Headspace app.

3 Gratitude Journaling

This is another practice that is subtly shifting my overall mood for the better. I have a little notebook, and every morning I try to write at least 3 things I'm grateful for.

Lately, I've been challenging myself to fill all the lines on one page. I've heard great things about The Five Minute Journal- which includes a gratitude practice- but I haven't gotten one for myself.

I've experimented with other morning journaling practices, but this seems to be the one that is easiest + most beneficial to me.

Very Sarie Morning Routine

4 Reading

I LOVE to read, and I'm frequently reading 2-4 different non-fiction books at the same time. Traditionally, I would save this practice for the evenings, but- like so many others- I would fall asleep while trying to read. I still read at night, but now I read every morning too- even if it's only one chapter. Setting aside time in the morning for this, feels like I'm getting away with something I'm not supposed to be doing. It's something I love, but never gave myself permission to do when I had a full time job. The mornings would have felt too rushed, or maybe I would have thought I'd be better served using that time to mentally prepare myself for work that had to be done that day. It's been 6 years since I've had a "normal" 9-5 and it's taken me this long to give myself permission to read for 15 minutes in the morning. Here's a tip- DON'T WAIT THAT LONG! Seriously- pick one mind, body or spirit enriching activity you love, and sneak it into your morning for 15 minutes.

mushroom egg omelet Very Sarie

5 Breakfast

Before getting ready for the day I always make myself breakfast. Even though I value variety, my homemade breakfast rarely veers off course. 99% of the time it's scrambled eggs. (The other 1% of the time is because I've run out of eggs, or I have a little more time to watch over the pan for basted or poached eggs.) If I have extra veggies on hand, they get thrown in too. And extra, extra lucky weeks mean my friend Kate has given me eggs from her chickens. I've been having this same breakfast for over 4 years now, and have found if I skip it, my day gets seriously out of whack. 

And now for the big one that I'm working on NOT doing in the morning- and that's reaching for my phone to check in on social media, etc. This one has been challenging, as I have made it second nature over the years. Also, since I use headspace to meditate, I would get distracted by notifications waiting there on my home screen when I logged into the app.

To curb this, I've started putting my phone into airplane mode before I go to bed. Then, if I do unconsciously grab my phone to check things, I actually have to take another active step by turning off airplane mode. So far, it seems to be working well. 

The more I stick to these routines, the more I see my happiness, creativity, productivity and ability to handle stress increase. Total, it's about 45-60 minutes. And so I don't feel like I'm getting started too late in the day, I'm also working on going to bed earlier so that I can get up earlier to fit everything in guilt free. Also, here's where I go back and talk about my opening point- variety. My end goal now is to have a time/space in the morning that sets me up for a successful day. If that means that any of the above things need to shift or change, instead of beating myself up for not "sticking to my routine" I just let things organically play out. 

If reading about other people's morning routines is intriguing to you, check out My Morning Routine- lots of great stuff there! And I'd love to know about your routines too- what gets you started off on the right foot?? Let me know in the comments.

All photos by Very Sarie