If you read my articles you already know that I struggle with taking that detour from the tried, true, and planned. Even the peeps in my inner circle have been known to raise an eyebrow at my punctilious attention to time – how I order it and how I use it. Thank you for loving me anyway! But lest I sound defensive, it bears pointing out that there are many scientifically based benefits to having routines – particularly morning routines.
Having a morning routine simply means that you perform the same basic tasks and activities in the same order every day. A well-constructed morning routine can get each day off to a good start. Consider my sister, a hospital social worker who needs to get to work on time, every time. She came up with the clever idea of removing a step from her morning routine by hanging five work outfits in ready-to-go fashion on Sunday night. With that planning done, she’s more prepared and less stressed.
Piedmont Healthcare notes that, “According to a study by researchers at Tel Aviv University, predictable, repetitive routines are calming and help reduce anxiety. They’ll also help you take control of your day and subsequently, your life.” Dang, I knew that! The order and predictability are something I know I can count on. And yes, there’s more. With a morning routine, you can reap these psychological and physical benefits:
- Gain a healthy sense of control
Instead of beginning your day in a chaotic rush, a morning routine reinforces that you are in control and have things under control. There is nothing willy-nilly about how you will go about things because you’ve designed a routine that works for you. In my home, for example, our poodle eats first, then the backyard birds and critters, and finally, us. Works for me!
- Set the tone for the day ahead
That morning routine also establishes a specific, intentional vibe for the 24-hour cycle ahead. So often, we may feel as if we are at the mercy of everyone and everything around us. In fact, studies show that people generally spend more time thinking about the things they can’t control than those they can. You put the lid on unhelpful thinking when you customize your morning routine and make a conscious choice about how you want to experience your day.
- Lower your stress
By knowing that you can rely on your routine, you are automatically less stressed out. I always know that my outgoing mail will be in the mailbox each morning because I put it there when we head out for our morning walk. You also might include a brief period of meditation, yoga, or even weeding as part of your morning routine – all activities that will add to the calm, low-stress vibe.
- Increase your productivity
When you start your day focused, and in sync with the routine you’ve established, you put yourself in a productive mode. You’ve already channeled your energy in valuable ways. Now it’s easier to carry that approach into the rest of your day.
- Develop healthy habits
There is discipline involved in establishing and sticking with any new routine. When you see that you can do it, and that it’s working, you may be inspired to develop other healthy habits, maybe even incorporating them into your routine. Because your routine is likely saving you some time, you may decide to experiment with adding a healthy habit such as ten minutes of prayer, stretching, or journaling. Who knows where you will go from there!