It feels only right that I would be sitting here at my computer this morning, in the short-lived quiet before Gabriel wakes up, writing this post about morning rituals. My coffee is hot and perfectly mixed with the glop of milk, sugar and cinnamon that I take in it. A bowl of yogurt and fruit sits not far behind it and my to-do list, written on a paper slip at the end of yesterday, is within eye-shot. The dogs have been fed and the sun is slowly rising. I’m ready.
Lately, I’ve become fascinated with morning routines… who has them, what they look like, how they work. I even asked my most recent podcast guest Kelly about her morning routine. (Expect to hear more of that question in the future.) Despite my own anemic habit, the power of a good morning routine is something I’ve long been aware of and aspired to have. But after reading The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp, I’m motivated more than ever to make it a reality. Twyla talks about the value in repetition, default schedules and programmed behavior. She has a very specific routine that she’s been following for years and it’s become a kin to sacred. Her argument – and I happen to agree – is that in order to save all that good, juicy, spontaneous, freeform creativity for your work, it’s helpful to offset it with solid structure in the other aspects of your life… the way you start your day being especially important.
When you have a baby, the idea of a consistent routine feels wholly unattainable. How your morning goes is inextricably linked to how said baby’s morning unfolds. For the first few months, I didn’t even worry about a routine. Some days we woke early, other days we slept in. My objective was simple – get through the day with as little stress and as much loving (and sleep!) as possible. Now, seven months in, I’m finally expanding on that idea and defining something that resembles a morning ritual. Here are the things I’ve learned to be helpful:
- Wake early – Ugh. I hate this one. But the truth is, the more time you have in the morning, the more you’ll be able to get out of it. And in my case, my best chance of having any semblance of my own ritual is to do it before the baby wakes.
- Leave the phone in the other room – it’s hard to avoid social media in the AM when your phone is also your alarm clock. But once you’re out of bed and moving around the house, leave the phone where it is. It can be such a nasty distraction to the zen of a good morning.
- Don’t over schedule – that is to say, have a plan… that’s kind of the whole point. But don’t overload your time. A morning you can ease into is much more pleasant and consequently easier to maintain than the frenzy of the alternative.
It seems I’m not the only one with morning routines on their mind! Check out my friend Lauren Kelp‘s article about creating an easy morning habit with the help of contributor Natalie Canizares. Her suggestion to create an intention for the day is simply brilliant!