What does your morning usually look like?
For many, it starts with frantically grasping for your phone to turn off the alarm. You might see a text to respond to, or an email notification to address. You might take a hot shower and ask Alexa to turn on the news, drink some coffee, and head out the door. Or maybe you have a gentler routine. Maybe you wake up early to have some peace and quiet before your day begins. Maybe you make time to hit the gym, drink a smoothie, listen to a podcast… Whatever you do, some of the world’s high-performers will implore you to pry open the first few moments of your day for centering within, before going out into the world and affecting, and being affected by, others. As spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson says, “At the beginning of the day, the mind is most open to receive new impressions. One of the most important things we can do is to take full responsibility for the power of the morning.”
What is a Morning Routine?
A morning routine is exactly what it sounds like–– the habits and tasks that fill the first few hours of your day. The very nature of routine is that eventually, it becomes who we are. If we’re not vigilant, that precious part of our day (and the rest of it) can become overrun by everything and everybody else. But if we’re astute, we can hold space for mental clarity, knowing it will have a lasting impact on the rest of our day–– allowing us to feel clearer, calmer, more productive, joyful and present–– regardless of the obstacles that come our way.
Why Have a Tech-Free Morning Routine?
If you’re anything like most Americans, you might suffer from some form of stress, anxiety, and/or depression. While there are many factors involved, studies have partially linked high levels of stress and anxiety to the amount of information coming our way from our phones, computers, and television screens. In recent years, smart technology has made its way into almost every area of our lives. These days, many people sleep with their phone right next to their bed. Many have Alexa next to us, or in the shower with us, or while we’re eating breakfast. We’re connected by Bluetooth when we get into our cars, and then when we get to work, we’re surrounded by technology again. Of course, technology has made major strides in improving our lives. However, as with anything— we must find balance. It’s important to look at the mental, emotional, and physical impacts of being constantly connected to our devices. It can keep us in the mode of reacting and responding, without ever having a moment to collect ourselves, gain perspective, seek wisdom, and ponder life’s greater questions or callings. It can keep us in a state of doing, rather than being. To restore balance, try drawing boundaries and creating tech-free moments. Setting a few minutes aside in the morning when we are refreshed can be a simple, doable start.
A Few Examples of Tech-Free Morning Routines
A morning routine can look different for everyone, and ultimately it should be a reflection of your own needs.
For some, it looks like 5-10 minutes of meditation.
For others, it looks like 5-10 minutes of prayer, visualization or an affirmation.
Oprah Winfrey starts her morning with “twenty minutes of meditation, which she says fills her with “hope, a sense of contentment and deep joy.”
Longer routines can start with a brief meditation, and then lead to some stretching or a light workout, perhaps coupled with a health-promoting beverage like green juice, tea, or kombucha.
Your morning routine can be whatever works best for you, but we recommend starting with at least 5 minutes of some form of meditation or stillness.
The Health Benefits of a Morning Routine
Many high-performers attribute morning routines to their ability to have clarity, drive and systematically set their day up for success.
Many have attributed morning routines to helping with the following:
- Improved productivity
- Better focus
- Increased enthusiasm for life
- Success at achieving goals
- Boosted creativity
- Deepened compassion
- Improved problem-solving skills
How Long Should a Morning Routine Last?
We recommend starting with 5 minutes, since for many, it’s hard to find any free time— especially in the morning.
With that said, by committing yourself to 5 minutes, after a few weeks you might find yourself wanting 10. Others who have been practicing for years find time for an hour or more.
The Science of Morning Routines
Since the type of morning routines we are referencing here require some form of meditation, there is plenty of scientific research outlining the power of meditation.
5 Tips to Start a Tech-Free Morning Routine
1. Put your phone on airplane mode while you sleep.
Better yet, keep your phone, ipad, and computer outside of your bedroom while you sleep. This can help create a more peaceful bedtime environment and allow you to complete your morning routine undistracted by notifications. (If you have elderly parents or fear being disconnected from your loved ones overnight, reconnect your landline and make sure everybody has that number to call instead.)
2. Start with at least 5 minutes per day, for at least 2 weeks to witness results.
3. Pick a form of meditation that feels soothing for you.
If could be silent, guided, chanting, or a breathing exercise, for instance. Just pick something simple enough to do every day, and also something you’ll look forward to.
4. Decide when you’re going to do it, and schedule it in.
Will it be before or after you shower? As soon as you open your eyes? By spending a moment to think about the best time that will work for you, the greater your likelihood will be to do it.
5. Ask your family for support.
If you live with other people (especially kids), it can be difficult to find time for yourself. But the truth is, if you don’t have 5 minutes to yourself, your ability to show up as a partner, or a parent, will be compromised. So if you need to, let others know what you’re doing, and ask for their respect in giving you undisturbed privacy for 5 minutes in the morning.
Creating a tech-free morning routine can usher in a greater sense of peace, gratitude, and fulfillment to start your day, which can positively impact the rest of it. You might realize things that would have taken you much longer to figure out if you had not created space for stillness. Lastly, the rest of your day might feel more at ease because you started it by creating a reference point for peace and calm.
Try it, and let us know how a tech-free morning routine goes for you!
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