Taking care of yourself—mentally and physically—is one of the most important things when it comes to loving yourself.
However, self-care doesn’t always have to be as grand and money-consuming as taking trips to the spa, getting mani-pedis or taking out-of-town trips every week. It could be as simple as taking 10 minutes out of your busy schedule in the afternoon to take a rest or a nap; it could be taking a hot bath or a nice shower and enjoying that new shower gel you bought; or it could be taking care of your skin by having your own beauty routine. No matter what it is, it’s always important to have your me time.
For me, I take care of myself by having my morning time, in which I take the time to focus on myself, away from the screen and social media.
No matter how busy or stressful the day is going to be, it’s super important to have a few moments to yourself, and mornings are proven to be the best time to do just that.
Before, I’ve always wondered why there are morning people and night owls; I’ve convinced myself I was the latter, as I always felt productive at night. I didn’t know there was a scientific reason behind morning routines.
I learned that it doesn’t matter what time of day you wake up because it’s different for everybody (as i said, there are morning people and night owls). So you can’t force yourself to be productive in the mornings when you’re able to do more at night. What’s critical is what you do within the first hour after you wake up. Here’s where morning routines come up; this is beneficial because a morning routine generates momentum—this is explained further through the Endowment Effect.
Basically, this just means that by starting your day establishing a positive momentum, you would more likely keep doing positive things.
I get that for people who have their 8 to 5 jobs, having a morning time could be quite difficult—but it isn’t impossible. Waking up 15 to 30 minutes earlier to devote your time for a routine can bring a lot of health benefits and more successful chances of productivity.
Having a morning routine can help you improve yourself intellectually, physically, and can improve your mental health, as well.
I’ve had my own morning routine way before I even considered it one. Before, my routine only consisted of my skincare ritual after taking a warm shower. This happens the same time I’m either listening to music or playing a vlog in the background. It’s a morning routine, however I don’t consider it a healthy one.
Nowadays, I use my first hour and a half into investing on my wellness.
HYDRATE AND MUSIC
I read that we get dehydrated when we sleep, so once I wake up, I drink the bottle of water I keep on my bedside shelf. I also find drinking tea in the morning to be more calming and energizing than drinking coffee. There are times when I wake up feeling a little uneasy, my heart thumping a little faster than normal. Drinking tea and listening to some music keeps me in pace.
Later on, I learned that listening to music in the morning helps in productivity and relieving anxiety. So I created a morning playlist for myself. I don’t think the songs have anything to do with mornings or calming, necessarily; they’re not classical or anything. But these are songs that make me feel at ease in the morning.
It’s short and repetitive when you play it everyday but there’s something about its familiarity and melody that soothes me in the morning.
I’ve just recently tried the art of meditation. And man, I wish I tried it much earlier! There’s some kind of tranquility everytime I meditate (duh!), but the thing is, it’s so hard for me to just stop and let go of whatever negativity is inside me—may it be anger, anxiety or just bad vibes in general. So when I tried guided meditation, it was such a refreshing ritual to me.
The 10 to 20 minutes of my morning spent on this is worth it because of the light and positive feeling it gives me throughout the day. Some nights, when I still have the energy or when needed, I meditate for about 10 minutes to sweep away all the negativity before going to sleep. It’s not only emotionally and mentally healthy, but I’ve found that it also has short-term benefits to the nervous system.
Although, fair war warning, there should be some caution when doing meditation; it doesn’t always bring good effects. Especially when you’re in a rough place in life, meditation may result to a breakdown since it may either amplify or rattle a problem within yourself.
I change my rituals each day to keep my mornings dynamic and refreshing. I don’t think morning meditations should be done everyday. So in its place, I try to do some 10 to 20-minute yoga. With the start of the year, I want to keep a healthy lifestyle—physically and mentally—and working out isn’t possible to do everyday.
As you may have probably known, yoga is medically proven to have health benefits. Not only does it help in flexibility and blood flow but it also helps in keeping you centered, which is a great substitute to meditation for me.
This year, I vowed to have an active lifestyle, which I think I’m slowly trying to achieve. Although working out is not a constant part of my morning time, it still has its benefits and positive effects throughout the day when I do it.
After my morning exercise, I find myself more energized with boosted adrenaline, ready for the day. I feel like everytime I exercise is a small win for me—a feeling all of us needs. It’s not only good for the body but it also helps in productivity and mental health.
Plus, scheduling your workouts in the morning is best since it’s the most available schedule, free from sudden timetable changes later in the day.
I have just recently started listening to podcasts again. I used to do it last year but I don’t really know why I lost interest. I like listening to Ingrid Nilsen’s Ladies Who Lunch right now because it gives me a different perspective on different ideas and issues. Also, I find myself more informed on topics I’ve always wondered about but never really had the chance to get answers to.
I don’t really like listening to news (quite ironic, actually, since I’m a Journalism graduate) in the morning because nowadays it’s filled with negative reports about what’s happening, and I’m trying to steer clear of that in the mornings as I like to start it positively. So listening to podcasts is a good alternative for me so I could still be aware of what’s happening and what people’s opinions are.
I’m trying to expand my playlist so if you have any other suggestions, I’d love to know.
I love reading. But in this case, I like reading articles that can help me have deeper understanding and gain new insight on my fields of interest—like film, fashion or health. The best part about this is that it doesn’t have to take up too much of my time. I can read an article in less than 15 minutes but it would leave me with a new perspective and new knowledge.
Another thing I love to do in the morning is write—on a journal or on my planner. Also, when writing on my journal, I feel like it helps boost my creativity and startup my brain. Either way, these activities help me in creating a productive mood.
These are just some of the rituals you can do. It can only take up half an hour of your time, and others you can do while you’re on your way to work—like meditating and listening to music or podcasts while drinking tea.
By giving yourself time to just relax, especially in the morning, you can lay down your mood or increase the productivity of your day. So, I suggest you try to start it with some positivity.