Last Updated on December 1, 2023
Have you ever experienced those mornings when you wake up feeling stressed AF or in a funk?
You drag yourself out of bed and brush your teeth while staring angrily at yourself in the mirror.
You then rush out the door to make it to work on time and in doing so, you skip breakfast and any precious time for yourself.
This used to be me all the time.
Every morning, I’d hit the snooze button and later wake up in a panic as I would then only have an hour to shower, get dressed and take the long commute to work leaving no time to think about the kind of day I wanted to create.
And because I never had time for breakfast, I’d be sat at my desk feeling moody and ratty.
Of course, I’d blame it all on my demanding work schedule and my need for more sleep. But the truth was, I wasn’t prioritising my time in the morning and this later impacted my mental health to the point of burnout.
I’ve since discovered that having a healthy morning routine and starting my day with self-care has been the key to a more nourished (not to mention stable) well-being.
Here’s everything you need to know about building a morning self-care routine!
What is a morning self-care routine?
A morning routine with self-care consists of a set of mindful habits that you typically engage in after waking up so you can ease into the day on a more positive and stress-free note.
This might look like not hitting the snooze button, taking the time to cook a savoury breakfast or preparing a healthy lunch so you can avoid the long shop queues at lunchtime. These are fantastic acts of self care!
This intentional set of rituals can do so much for your physical, mental and emotional well-being.
It can look like going on a walk in nature (mental), practising gratitude (emotional) or doing a barefoot yoga flow in the garden (physical).
Whereas a self-care routine is something that you engage with at any time of day or during the week, a morning self-care routine is specifically for the first hour (or two) that you are awake.
It’s literally as simple as that.
P.S: your morning routine list doesn’t have to be lengthy to be effective!
Benefits of a morning self-care routine
Practicing self-care at any time of day can really make a difference in your happiness and overall life satisfaction.
But starting your day with self-care intentionally helps to reduce stress and overwhelm as you can spend your mornings mentally preparing for the day ahead.
Self-care is known to make you more resilient in the face of challenges and can help you avoid burnout. (Entrepreneur 2023)
So by dedicating time to self-care in the morning, you can boost your mental well-being meaning you are better equipped to manage the demands of the day.
And let’s not forget about productivity too!
The more you show up for yourself and take care of your physical, mental and emotional health, the better your overall performance.
Other things you’ll get from a morning self-care routine include:
- Improved productivity and focus
- Reduced risk of burnout and exhaustion
- Increased energy levels
- Better relationships with others (i.e. your coworkers)
- Boosted mood and lowered anxiety or negative thoughts
- Enhanced self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment
How do I start a morning self-care routine?
Truth bomb — there is no specific morning self-care routine to follow.
Purely because self-care is not one-size-fits-all and we all enjoy different things.
It is up to you to find what works best for you and create your own routine that serves you and your overall well-being.
I have however listed my morning routine tips to make your mornings as nourishing as possible.
You’ll also find 25 self-care ideas to add to your morning routine at the end of this blog post.
Top Self Care Morning Routine Tips to Follow
1 | Establish a consistent sleep routine
Prioritising self-care in the morning starts with waking up at the same time every day.
This simple habit not only improves sleep quality but also creates room for a structured morning routine.
Imagine this — you stayed up late last night binge-watching Netflix until 1 a.m.
When your alarm goes off at 7 a.m. the next morning you instantly hit snooze because you’re still sleepy. Next thing you know, it’s 7:50 a.m. and you only have ten minutes to get ready and leave the house to make it to work on time.
You just manage to make your train but because you feel stressed out by your hectic morning, you choose to scroll on social media to help you unwind. Which doesn’t actually help your overwhelm because you end up comparing your life to others.
Now picture waking up at 6:45 a.m. every day to dedicate 30-minutes to stretching, reading and journaling. You leave the house at 8 a.m. sharp, stroll to the train station and start your day stress-free! Woohoo!
And this alllll comes down to when you fall asleep.
Setting a consistent sleep routine is key to ensuring you have enough time for self-care in the morning.
For example, if your goal is to wake up at 6 a.m., aim for a bedtime of around 10 p.m. to get a solid 7-9 hours of sleep.
By establishing a consistent sleep routine, you make sure your morning self-care routine becomes a non-negotiable part of your morning.
2 | Start your day with an intention
Now that you’ve established your wake-up time, it’s important that you stick to it.
Every morning, instead of hitting that snooze button, I want you to wake up with an intention to help you stay consistent.
Here’s how it works:
Slowly open your eyes, blink a few times, inhale, exhale and sit up.
Then ask yourself these 3 questions:
- “How do I want my day to go?”
- “How would I like to feel by the end of today?
- “How can I make this happen?”
By setting an intention for your day, you can actively show up for yourself and your needs allowing your day to happen for you, not to you.
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3 | Check in with yourself
Many of us will begin our day mindlessly, jumping out of bed and diving into our daily routine without taking a moment to check in with ourselves.
But one of the truest and most honest forms of self-care is to connect with your emotions.
So before you start your day, I want you to check in with yourself. How are you feeling? Does anything feel off? Reassess your daily habits and schedule. Do they still support your overall values and vision?
Another thing that I’ve been getting into the habit of doing lately is setting a daily best.
It’s very unlikely that your energy and productivity will be at 100% every day unless of course you’re Wonder Woman.
For example, let’s say on a good day you’re at 90% but on a bad day you might not be able to give 90%. You might only be able to give 50% or 30% or even 10%.
By establishing your daily best you are able to reduce expectation making your “bad” day a lot more manageable.
So ask yourself each morning:
- “What does my best look like today?”
Be realistic and honest with yourself and stick to what you say. If you don’t feel like you can give 100% to the day then that’s absolutely fine.
Do what you can and celebrate the fact that you have tried.
4 | Follow this mindful ritual
— Plant your feet on the floor, squeeze your toes, open the windows and recite, “Today is going to be a great day.”
Feel free to adjust it to better suit your needs and preferences. Or create your own mindful ritual that allows you to wake up with purpose and intention.
Having a morning ritual can help you to feel grounded, centered and mentally prepared for the day ahead. It also provides you with a sense of structure as you have something to mark the start of your day (which can be incredibly comforting).
And the best thing about building a morning ritual is that they are extremely easy to implement as all it requires is you. Honestly, it’s like the ultimate self love ritual!
You can also take your ritual with you! Like on vacation, work trips or when you’re staying with friends or family so you can always find familiarity in unknown places.
*My own morning ritual (above) has been inspired by Whitney Port.
5 | Keep your routine short with 2-3 self-care habits
It’s important to remember that your morning self-care routine doesn’t need to be ridiculously long or complicated.
On TikTok, the trend seems to be spending an hour on skincare before heading to the gym and sauna for another 2 hours and finishing it off with a 10k hot girl walk, green smoothie and a handful of supplements.
But the truth is, this isn’t realistic for the majority of us. Unless of course, you want to wake up at 5 am (which ironically is what the majority of wellness influencers do).
So keep your morning routine list short and sweet.
Figure out how much time you have to dedicate to self-care in the morning and schedule it in.
You may need to work backwards from when you start work. For example, if you need to be at work by 9 a.m. and have a 30-minute commute, you ideally want to complete your morning self-care routine by 8:15 a.m. to give you enough time to leave the house.
I always aim for at least 10 – 45 minutes depending on my needs or what I have going on that day.
And remember, you can always incorporate small moments of self-care throughout your morning even when you’ve already left for work. Try walking to the bus station instead of driving. Or read a fiction book on the train rather than a newspaper or scrolling on social media.
Listening to an audiobook or podcast while driving to work is also a form of self-care!
So be resourceful and think outside of the box.
Your morning self-care routine doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s — it should be unique to you and your needs.
To make it even more manageable, I also recommend choosing between 2-3 habits to add to your morning routine.
These can be as simple or as complex as you need them to be.
Just make sure each habit you choose, makes you feel good long after the initial dopamine hit has worn off.
Pro tip: If you’re juggling a ton of tasks, struggling to keep your life organized, AND trying to stay on track with your goals…don’t try to manage your schedule by yourself!
You need to make sure you’re optimizing your time in the best way possible. But what even is “the best way possible”?
Well, you don’t need to waste time figuring that out when the Motion app can literally do it for you.
If you’re sick of feeling like there just aren’t enough hours in the day, Motion can fix that by:
- Automated scheduling that plans your day for you – this app knows exactly how to schedule your daily tasks FOR YOU, in a way that’s most productive for you and your lifestyle.
- Handling emergencies – Motion rearranges everything automatically so that urgent pop-up tasks don’t screw up your day…or your sanity!
- Being a game-changer for ADHD – anyone with ADHD knows the agony of identifying what to prioritize. Motion takes the guesswork out of time management, so you know exactly what to do next!
Motion is the game-changer your schedule has been begging for, so why not give it a shot and lighten your load?
25 self-care ideas to add to your morning routine
Don’t forget about these morning self-care routine ideas! Pin ’em to come back!
Need a little inspiration knowing what self-care habits to implement?
I’ve put together a list of feel-good activities for you to try out as part of your routine. These can help you curate the perfect morning routine for adults!
Be mindful that these self-care rituals might look different each day. It doesn’t always have to be about waking up at 5.30 am, doing yoga and then meditation.
Your morning self-care routine can look like staying in bed for an extra 20 mins to read, opening the windows to let some fresh air in, and then practicing gratitude.
Take 2-3 habits from the morning routine list below, based on your needs. You can always try the rest on another day. Or come up with your own list of feel-good activities!
Wondering what is a good self care morning routine? Give these a try!
- Open the windows and let the fresh air
- Make your bed
- Stretch or do a gentle yoga flow
- Rehydrate with a glass of cold water
- Meditate for 3-5 minutes or try breathing techniques
- Set an intention for your day (these journal prompts help you get clear on your intentions!)
- Check in with yourself and establish a daily best
- Listen to feel-good music playlist
- Get dressed in an outfit that makes you feel good
- Drink your morning coffee outside while listening to the birds
- Read a chapter from a fiction book
- Listen to an empowering podcast (here’s 4 of the best podcasts to inspire your journaling)
- Repeat positive affirmations in the mirror
- Practice gratitude or journal free-hand
- Relook at your schedule and prioritise your tasks
- Cook a savoury (protein-heavy) breakfast
- Prepare a healthy lunch
- Go screen-free for an hour in the morning
- Head for a short walk around the block
- Go barefoot on the grass to ground yourself
- Expose yourself to the sun
- Go to the gym for a quick workout or head to a workout class
- Practice cold water therapy by lowering the temperature of your shower at the end for about 30 seconds
- Put your “legs up the wall” and wiggle your toes
- Unclench your jaw and relax your shoulders
Self-care is an essential aspect of a healthy and balanced life.
It also works wonders for our productivity.
As the viral saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup” and that is most true when it comes to your productivity.
You can’t show up every day and perform at your best if you’re not taking adequate time to take care of your well-being.
And one of the most effective ways to make sure you are keeping yourself “full” is by starting the day with self-care.
The more you rest and take care of yourself, the more nourished you feel so you can keep showing up as the best version of yourself.
And for that reason, having a morning self-care routine just makes sense.
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Guest Author Bio
Hey, it’s Thalia!
I’m not like the other wellness girls you see online.
I don’t drink coffee or matcha lattes and I’m not a huge fan of green smoothies. Give me a medium-rare steak with a glass of red wine any day and I’ll be a very happy girl.
I’m also famous for my slow mornings. You won’t see me waking up at 5 am and following an unsustainable “That Girl” routine but instead ignoring my alarm and choosing to read a fiction book over going to the gym.
Holistic wellness is my jam, and I believe it can be attainable for everyone – you just need to approach it in a way that works for you!
For more realistic wellness and self-care tips you can find me on Instagram and Pinterest under @notesbythalia and for longer in-depth “how to” posts that empower you to do things on your own terms, head over to my blog notesbythalia.com