My 9-Step Morning Routine for a Great Day

1. Wake up using Sleep Cycle app // The very first thing anyone has to do in the morning is wake up! For a long time, I have usually slept in 1.5 hour increments. Why? Because your body goes through sleep cycles when you sleep. Each cycle lasts approximately 90 minutes and they keep repeating throughout the night. In the middle of the cycle you are in deeep sleep. Good luck waking up. I must have been in this stage of sleep that one time our carbon monoxide alarm went off loudly because it was broken and my entire family woke up and spent a long time trying to fix it while I slept soundly through the whole ordeal… hehe.

However, in between cycles is your lightest stage of sleep, and this is when it should be easiest for you to wake up. That’s why, if you try to shoot for the 8 hours of sleep recommended by many people, you might find it difficult to wake up. Seriously, though, what is it with all the 8’s? 8 hours of sleep, 8 8-ounce glasses of water per day…

I have been using the Sleep Cycle app, which uses your phone’s microphone to record the amount of sound you make during the night and attempt to wake you up during your lightest sleep. There is a premium version but I tried it and I think it’s totally not necessary, but the app is definitely something you might want to experiment with if you have trouble with the very first part of your morning routine!

I may or may not have spilled a bunch of chlorophyll while trying to take this photo and tried to wipe it up, leaving behind a big, green stain. I may or may not have freaked tf out as a result. Helpful hint (in case you ever need it, I sure have never needed it): try wiping with a soapy paper towel...

I may or may not have spilled a bunch of chlorophyll while trying to take this photo and tried to wipe it up, leaving behind a big, green stain. I may or may not have freaked tf out as a result. Helpful hint (in case you ever need it, I sure have never needed it): try wiping with a soapy paper towel...

2. Make hot lemon water // I like to save time, so instead of standing alone, quietly, in my kitchen, watching a pot of water boil and having a grand old time, I get it going as soon as I wake up so that I can get other things done while it heats up. I also prepare by grabbing a mug and putting a slice of lemon in there.

Once the water is hot (I don’t wait until it’s boiling), I pour it over the lemon slice. I usually drink this while I’m at my desk with my planner, and by then it’s a nice, warm temperature. According to mindbodygreen, warm lemon water boosts your immune system, gets your digestion going, helps flush out toxins (by making you pee), and helps clear your skin. Sounds like a perfect way to start your morning!

The website recommends using one cup of warm water with juice from half a lemon and I’m glad I was sitting down because reading that would have knocked me off my feet. Personally, I use a big mug with just one slice of lemon in it. I squeeze it to juice it and then leave the rest in there to float and marinte. And that amount of acidity is already a lot to handle for me! So… If you can manage a half lemon in there, by all means, do your thang! But I say, if it’s so sour you can barely get it down, it won’t stay part of your morning routine for long!

3. Bathroom + contacts // I use the bathroom, splash my face with some cold water to wake myself up, admire my skin from washing my face with coconut oil the night before ;), and then put in my contacts. I’ve been wearing glasses for… almost two years now and contacts for just about a month. I love them!!

4. Make bed // I have a super simple bed, so there’s not much to do. I smooth out the sheet, shake out the blanket so it lays flat, and center my pillow. It really helps get you out of that sleep state though because it’s like a physical declaration that you are not going back to bed.

5. Stretch // I grab my phone and some headphones and turn on some music. I love Spotify’s Morning Commute playlist (even though I don’t commute, I’m a rebel and I do things like that). HIIT-Pop is also a good one, although maybe a little too high-energy for simply waking up. I stretch however feels good. Usually that includes a lot of reaching for the sky, forward folds, and downward dogs. And maybe, maybe a little bit of dancing in the beginning ;) I said the playlist was good!!

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6. Plan day and flip through planner // I sit down and I get out my trusty planner. I first flip through my pages, making sure to add anything I’d forgotten to add. Did I finish a book? Watch a movie? Listen to a podcast? Find out about a concert? (Yes, I keep track of all of these, because I’m a freak). I flip to my habit tracker and make sure that’s updated. Then I flip to my weekly layout and just look over my tasks. I think about what needs to get done and add some things, try to plan out what will get done first, etc.

7. Read news // Once that’s all done I grab my phone again for the “This AM” app by Refinery29. They give you 8 news stories every morning, presented in a gorgeously simple layout. They range from the major, political news, to the silly, just-for-fun stories. You can read the one-sentence summaries, or if you’re really interested, you can tap to open the full article and learn more.

8. Eat breakfast // Arguably the best part. Sometimes I have something prepped and ready to eat, sometimes I make it from scratch. My breakfasts are pretty varied: sometimes I have smoothies, sometimes pancakes, sometimes oatmeal, etc. And, of course, if the breakfast looks good, I gotta take a picture for the ‘gram ;) While eating I either just sit in silence (wow, that sounds depressing) or read a book. I also have started enjoying a matcha latte with my breakfast.

9. Brush teeth // Yay, dental hygiene. I floss and then brush with my brother’s Tom’s mint toothpaste (shh, don’t tell him). He doesn’t like the strong mint flavor of other toothpastes and I just feel like it’s a better choice than the stronger, harsher toothpastes. However, switching to a better, more natural toothpaste or making my own is on my list of Slowly Green habits!

Keeping it short

Personally, I’m the type of person that needs a morning routine, but also needs to get through it quickly in order to feel productive, ya know? Getting off to a slow start makes me feel a little bit sluggish the rest of the day.

Experimenting

But it’s NOT the same for everyone! I know plenty of people who have long morning routines full of relaxing rituals and they love it!

The key is to experiment. For example, reading used to be part of my morning routine. I got rid of that - I’d rather do it in the middle of the day. I have also started oil pulling every other day, which requires me to shift my routine around to make space for those 20 minutes (because I do NOT want to stretch while I’m swishing oil in my mouth).

On this very day that I am writing the blog post, I am experimenting. I just got up, made some lemon water, and went straight to writing. I have a theory (a hypothesis, you might call it), that getting some work done right away will make me feel super productive, and actually produce some quality work because my mind is (mostly) clear and the house is quiet. I will see how it goes! And if it works, you betcha my morning routine will look different.

Always be changing, always be flexible, always be open to experimentation. Rigid routines don’t serve you. Following someone else’s rigid routine serves you even less. You are a completely unique person that needs their own unique routine. I shared mine with you only to inspire you and give you some ideas.

So, what’s one thing YOU can’t go without doing in the morning?