Want to upgrade your morning routine? Try out these 9 soul-nourishing morning rituals to boost your productivity and get your day off to a great start.
Nothing quite sets you up for success like an energising morning routine. I call my mornings my “soul-nourishment” time, dedicated to getting my energy right and setting the tone for the rest of my day.
It’s no secret that many high performers recommend a morning routine along with meditation. For example, Tony Robbins apparently starts his day with a meditation practice that include breathing, visualising, and expressing gratitude (and nobody can question that guy’s incredible energy levels).
The benefits of a morning routine include:
- Deeper focus and concentration
- Improved ability to prioritise
- Higher productivity
- More creativity
Plus, we get a gorgeous sense of satisfaction from practicing self-care first thing in the morning, safe in the knowledge that we’re putting ourselves first.
But I don’t have time…
Everyone’s morning routine will look different depending on how much time they can free up. But let’s cut the BS here – we’ll never find time.
There’ll always be something else we could be doing. If it’s important to us, we have to make the time.
How? By waking up earlier, and/or stop engaging in activities that aren’t serving us, or basically waste our time (hello, social media).
Set a low barrier of entry
Starting small is also super key here. Try not to take on the world at once; so often, we completely overestimate what we’re able to fit in, especially when we’re trying something new.
My original morning routine looked like sitting up in bed to meditate for 5 minutes before I got on with my crackpot busy day. It was small, but achievable.
So let’s say you want to start journaling on a morning. Instead of saying you’ll do it for 30 minutes, try 5 minutes. Or 10. Or even 1. That way, it’ll be much easier to find the time, to surpass it (which will leave you feeling like an absolute champ).
Things to avoid
Let’s begin with how not to start our day. In an ideal world, the following would be banned from our mornings:
- Social media
Why? They distract us from our intentions. They give us other people’s agendas, ideas, and problems to deal with.
The ideal way to set up your morning is to create an intention for yourself – how you want to spend your day, and how this ties in with the bigger picture (in this case, your whole life).
Morning routine activity ideas
Recommended time: 10-15 minutes
This is without a doubt the #1 practice that’s changed my life. Meditation is an amazing way to discipline our minds, focus, concentration and energy.
Meditation isn’t about trying to clear or empty our minds. It’s a way to practice observing our minds, which will ultimately give us more control over them.
What this really means is we stop getting sucked into the drama of our thoughts – our obsessions about the past, or worries about the future – and can focus our attention on whatever we choose.
The best thing about it is you need no equipment, experience or expertise. All you need is yourself, a comfortable place to sit and a timer and you’re good to go!
If you need a little more guidance, check out my guide to meditation for beginners.
- How can I make meditation a regular part of my morning routine?
- What resources do I need?
- What’s the lowest achievable barrier of entry I can set myself?
Recommended time: 30-40 minutes
Moving our bodies means we get to shake out all the stagnant energy and tension that’s built up overnight, and get our blood pumping (not to mention all those happy hormones).
We all know we need to exercise, right? So… why don’t we?
My theory is that our approach is usually out of whack. We believe exercise has to be hard work, and that it’s not worth doing if it’s not intense. It all seems like too much to try and take on. But over time, I’ve shifted my own mindset to see some movement (no matter how gentle) as better than none at all.
The key for me has been finding the way my body likes to move. My body likes to be stretched, and challenged with bodyweight exercises; Pilates and Yoga therefore work perfectly for me, and I enjoy them. Experiment with different types of movement until you find one that works for you.
- What movement feels good to my body?
- What exercises do I enjoy or look forward to?
- What activities can I try out for a week at a time to see what works?
Recommended time: 10 minutes
Nourish your body to nourish your soul! The morning is where we set the tone for the rest of the day, especially when it comes to food.
Since we have the most willpower in the morning, it’s the perfect time to make conscious choices about what you eat, how you want to treat yourself, and how you essentially want to live your life.
I’ll be honest – I used to jump out of bed, wolf down a sugary cereal with milk, throw an unsatisfying instant coffee down my neck and be out the door. The result? My energy was low all day – it crashed soon after eating the cereal, and I just wasn’t paying any real attention to how my body was reacting.
Now, I craft myself a delicious (and healthy) nutrient-packed smoothie, make myself a cup of tasty herbal tea, and actually enjoy eating it. I notice how good my body feels after feeding it this way – which is where the biggest difference lies.
Everyone’s body is different and needs different things. Do some research and pay attention to your body’s signals – when does it feel good, and when does it feel drained? You’ll soon start to notice patterns and can adjust based on these.
- How can I make myself a more nutritious breakfast?
- How can I slow down and enjoy my first meal of the day?
- How can I make each aspect of this experience more pleasurable?
Recommended time: 10 minutes
Journaling is an amazing way to reflect on our experiences and to gain clarity on our thoughts and emotions. It’s particularly awesome in the morning if you want to journal about your dreams, create a gratitude list, or set your intentions for the day.
Personally, I like to fit journaling in right after my meditation. It gives me a chance to reflect on my practice, and helps me to “empty” my thoughts onto paper, so I feel like I can go into my day with a clean slate.
There are many ways to journal – bullet journaling, gratitude journaling, stream of consciousness journaling are just a few examples. Experiment with what works for you, and what makes you feel motivated to engage with it regularly.
If you’re feeling particularly upset or emotional, you can also try following a particular freewriting technique specifically designed to help you heal anger and resentment so you can move on with your day.
Bonus tip: buy yourself a gorgeous journal and pen that you’ll actually be excited to write with (it makes a difference!).
- How can I make journaling part of my morning routine?
- What time limits will I set for journaling, if any?
- What journaling style appeals to me?
Recommended time: 5 minutes
In the Yoga sutras, Patanjali says that the best way to control the mind’s negative thoughts is to focus on their complete opposite. Affirmations are an incredible way to do this; we essentially retrain our mind to think the thoughts we want to think.
For example, I grew up with a scarcity mindset around money, and I often notice this “fear” voice creeping in to my head, telling me there’s not enough money to do everything and I can’t afford things (which in reality, I can). So in response, I crafted a list of affirmations that state the complete opposite and represent how I actually want to feel with regards to money, e.g. there’s always enough money to do everything I want, and abundance flows easily to me. I look at this list every day on my phone and my wall at home.
The result? My natural reflex when I hear this voice is now to consciously choose one of my affirmations as a rebuttle. Slowly but surely, I believe my affirmations more than my fear or ego voice – and you can do the same.
- What goals do you want to achieve, and what thoughts have been holding you back?
- What affirmations could you use that state the complete opposite of these?
- Where could you put these so you see them often?
6. Card reading
Recommended time: 5 minutes
This one’s for the more woo-inclined, but I love pulling cards as part of my morning routine. I personally use chakra reading cards each day after my meditation practice, to ask for guidance on whatever’s on my mind. I’ve yet to be unimpressed by the responses I receive from the cards (as they say, it’s impossible to choose the wrong one…).
If you want to increase or improve your connection to Source Energy, the Universe, your Higher Self, or God (whatever language you use), card pulling can be a beautiful way to do that. There are many types of cards and readings out there – including oracle and tarot cards.
Go to your local alternative healing shop and you’re guaranteed to find a wide selection to choose from. Go with what you feel guided to. You can then get a guidebook (if one doesn’t come with it) to show you how to use them for as daily guidance, or as part of a spread. I tend to do the spreads on new or full moons 😁
Bonus tip: place a clear quartz crystal over the top of the cards when they’re not in use, to keep them cleansed!
- How can I make card pulling part of my morning routine?
- Where could I get cards from?
- What about this appeals to me?
Recommended time: 15-30 minutes
Do you absorb negative news or scroll through your social media feeds first thing in the morning? If so, how much better might it feel to absorb something uplifting and inspirational instead?
I tend to oscillate between either consuming some inspirational “soul food” (such as a book, article, video or podcast) or insuldin in some creative work on a morning (outlined in the next step). If I’m not feeling creative, the inspiration sometimes actually triggers it – and if not, it leaves me feeling motivated and ready for my day.
Imagine how good it would feel to hear or read something by one of your heroes first thing in the morning. We could incorporate this into our commutes, our “getting ready” time, or even whilst we’re at work (if possible).
- What books, blogs, videos or podcasts could I listen to that would inspire me and bring me joy?
- What information sources could I eliminate that make me feel stressed, anxious or overwhelmed?
Recommended time: 15-30 minutes
The most important thing is to do this before we engage in any kind of “consumption” activity – i.e. email, social media, responding to messages, or even inspirational soul food. Otherwise, your brain will get scrambled and/or tainted with the absorption.
Creative work doesn’t have to be business-focused, either. I have a friend who wakes up every day and paints her dreams – because, well, why not? There are tons of ways you could be creative on a morning; including painting, drawing, writing, making music, building something, and so on.
- How can I bring more creativity into my morning?
- What creative activities feel good to me?
- What other activities could I try?
Recommended time: 10 minutes
I personally like to finish my morning routine by planning my day. This helps me to set my intentions for the day head, prioritise my time, and make sure I keep what’s most important at the forefront of my mind.
It’s way too easy to get dragged into the minutiae of the day. The best strategy by far is to pick 2 “mission critical” tasks (and no more) that need to be accomplished in the day – these are important, effective, efficient, and will move you closer to your ultimate goal for the week/month/year, whatever that might be.
For example, if I’m hosting an in-person course, in the lead up to that I’ll executing my marketing strategy. So my 2 mission critical tasks for the day might be to: 1. create and print flyers advertising my course, and 2. create social media posts for the course.
2 is the perfect number because it’s achievable, yet leaves room to tick more tasks off your to-do list if you have time. But even if you only achieve those 2, you’ll still feel productive!
Bonus tip: use a planner to help you get organised throughout the weeks months and year. I use My PA, and it’s the best one I’ve found so far; for entrepreneurs in particular, it’s amazing!
- What goal(s) am I currently working towards?
- What 2 mission critical tasks will help me achieve this?
- How can I get myself more organised and better prioritise?
Over to you – what’s your current morning routine? Share it with me in the comments below!
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