I used to smile and nod when people told me about their morning and night routines. As a provider of counseling, I have heard that there's some benefit, it definitely sounds nice, but I often consider myself to be more of a go with the flow, get up and rush to get ready in the morning, and scroll social media until I'm exhausted at night kind of person. It wasn't until I found myself in desperate need of a self-care that I actually took the time to consider implementing a morning and night routine, and I want to share today, my easy and simple way of incorporating them. It might help you attain some more structure and self-care each day!
Before diving into it, I want to give you information on why morning and night routines actually can be helpful and supportive of us as human beings.
What the research says:
In short, morning routines give us the energy and grounding we need to begin our days on positive notes. They can be monumental is helping us to feel centered as we begin our often busy and long days. Night routines, on the other hand, help to wind us down, and give us a sense of relaxation and calm which aid sleep hygiene. It has been shown that night routines can help us to fall asleep more quickly and to remain asleep, feeling more rested upon waking. Our dream content can also be influenced by our night time routines. As you can probably imagine, watching an hour of reality television will likely disturb your dreams quite a bit more than engaging in meditation.
What I say:
I always worried how much I had to think about these morning and night routines and how they would impact my flexible nature as a person. I worried about having to get up earlier to implement a morning routine and having to be in bed by a certain time at night for a night routine to be successful. I learned that Morning and Night routines can be flexible and easy to implement. They don't have to be elaborate one hour extravaganza's, but quite the opposite. Morning and night routines can be simple, quick, and still be just as powerful.
"Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have." - Lemony Snicket
Mind, Body, and Soul
The approach I took to creating my morning and night routines is to incorporate something into both routines which could feed by body, mind, and soul. For my morning routine, I decided to complete a meditation which appealed to me on the Podcast app for my mind, drink a glass of water with lemon for my body, and read a quick devotional and do some brief journaling for my soul. I quickly noticed the benefits of the meditation and water-drinking, and felt more grounded overall after journaling - with something interesting to consider as I began my day. For my night routine, I decided to complete a word puzzle (like Wordle) or read for my mind, drink a glass of water and take my medications for my body, and write down. a three-item gratitude list in my planner for my soul. Puzzles and reading allowed me to wind down without screen time, water is important and I don't get enough of it throughout the day, and my gratitude list was especially impactful, as it allowed for me to reflect on my day and I even if I felt like I had a crappy day, I would end the day most focused on the three most positive aspects of the day, nonetheless. The morning and night routines I implemented, were thus, not very elaborate, but still meaningful and impactful.
Here are some other ideas for Morning and Night routines
Mind: Brain-Dump on Paper, Review Planner/Calendar, Create a To-Do List, Journaling, Podcast, Puzzles, Tidy Up
Body: Drink Water, Yoga, Aerobic Exercise, Stretch, Skincare Routine, Take a Walk, Healthy Breakfast or Nighttime Snack, Tea, Bubble Bath/Nice Hot Shower
Soul: Prayer, Meditation, Yoga, Gratitude Lists, Read Religious/Spiritual Books, Sage, Crystals, Tarot Card Readings, Spend time with a Pet, Essential Oils
Morning and Nighttime routines can be difficult to implement if you've been living life on the fly. But, it's doable. My morning and nighttime routines take no more than 5-10 minutes. This is an amount of time which we can often spare to maximize the way we feel about ourselves, the day at hand, and the next day to come. If the items you include in your morning and nighttime routines are meaningful to you and help you feel better overall, these routines will not feel like a chore. They'll feel like a necessity. Life is life, though, and things happen. So, don't beat yourself up if you go through a rut or are truly in a rush and your routines get left out. Be nonjudgmental towards yourself, and pick it back up when you can. We want to be able to practice balancing both consistency and also flexibility.
"Life Changes, Routines can change too." - Laura Vanderkam
I'm inviting you all to now try to create and implement your own morning and nighttime routines. Comment below and share how they might have been impactful for you. Here are some resources that may help:
The Fabulous App - Designed to help you build better habits and achieve your goals
Morning Makeover by David Zahariades
Calm and Connected Podcast by Janine Holloran: Episode 42 - AM & PM Routines for Adults