Tips for a Morning Self-Care Routine
Self-care is not a luxury—it’s a right. It’s the regular care you take of yourself so that you can not only manage the pressure of daily life but develop ways to thrive despite it. Self-care is the sum of all that you do to manage and improve your mental, physical and spiritual well-being.
Think of self-care as a way to charge your battery every day. It should start soon after you wake up, giving you the boost you need to start your day right. And, it should sustain you emotionally and physically throughout the day so you have enough to give.
Let’s uncover more about why self-care is important and what you can do every morning to fill your tank before taking on the world.
Self-Care Prevents Burnout
Self-care consists of activities or practices that address your mental, physical or spiritual health without damaging some other aspect of your life. Self-care shouldn’t mean sacrifice, which is why it’s just as important to know what self-care isn’t. Self-care is not a way to justify over-indulgence or excuse neglecting tough responsibilities.
Self-care is an essential part of wellness. You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s a solid analogy, so don’t skip ahead. Self-care is like those oxygen masks on a plane during an emergency. If you’re the type of person who actually listens to the pre-flight routine, then you know that you should always secure your mask before you help someone else. That seems sort of selfish, right? You’re sitting next to someone who may need your help securing their mask, but you grab your mask first. Why? Because if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of the person next to you. That’s the take-home—self-care is not selfish. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. There are people and processes that rely on you and need you in tip-top shape.
Self-care not only helps you maintain your well-being, but it also prevents burnout—a total state of emotional and physical exhaustion due to prolonged, unmanaged stress. It’s much easier to prevent burnout than it is to recover from it, so it’s important to recognize the signs:
- Feeling physically or emotionally drained and unable to continue
- Taking a cynical or negative view consistently
- Feeling unproductive, unmotivated and lacking direction
Self-care is not a quick fix, and it shouldn’t be an on-again-off-again practice. Since self-care is about prevention, it’s good to have a consistent routine. But as you grow, your routine will naturally evolve to meet your changing needs. In practicing self-care, it’s essential that you be flexible, forgiving (towards yourself) and persistent.
Self-Care for the Mind
Taking care of your mind isn’t about living a stress-free life. Stressors are inevitable, and we all face them. Self-care allows you to mitigate the effects of stress on your mental and emotional health.
Self-care for the mind is two-fold—first, we learn to manage and minimize stressors, and in cases where they can’t be managed, we learn to deal with them. When it comes to managing and minimizing stressors, a sensible and well-planned morning routine is key. One of the most basic mental self-care practices is a to-do list.
A to-do list or daily schedule reduces stress by helping you take control over your time and responsibilities. When you have a daily plan, you become more mindful and conscious of how you spend your day.
When things happen outside of our control, we need coping strategies that help us accept and deal with uncertainty. Practices like meditation, deep breathing and other mindfulness techniques teach us to be at peace with what is. Adding these techniques to your self-care toolkit can help you manage stress and deal with life’s curveballs.
Learn how to incorporate meditation into your morning routine.
Self-Care for the Body
When we think of self-care, we tend to think of our physical needs like staying hydrated, eating well, getting enough sleep and being active. But neglecting any of these is like building a square table with three legs—it’ll hold up for a while, but eventually, it’ll fail.
As part of your morning commitment to self-care, start your day with a refreshing glass of water before you grab the coffee pot. Hydrating when you wake up is a good way to invigorate your body after a long rest. You can make your morning water more interesting by infusing it with lemons, strawberries, watermelon or cucumbers. Put it in your favorite glass so it’s more enticing to drink.
Next, care for your body with a nutrient-dense breakfast that’ll provide the energy you need to thrive until lunch. If you workout in the mornings, try to eat a balance of fats, carbs and protein to give you the nourishment and fuel you need for exercise. If you have a job that requires a lot of focus, make sure to eat enough to maintain your physical and mental strength.
In addition to hydration and diet, a morning self-care routine can also include movement. Not only does regular exercise help prevent disease and strength your body, but it also improves mood, alleviates stress and enhances cognitive ability. You don’t need special equipment or a gym membership—go for a walk outdoors, do some calisthenics or try some yoga poses. Morning workouts, whether light or intense, provide endorphins that last throughout the day.
Many people don’t prioritize sleep, sacrificing to get more done. If you’re feeling tired, your body may be trying to tell you that you need rest. Inadequate sleep can lead to an imbalance in stress hormones and increase the risk of illness. Beyond that, everything is more difficult, more frustrating and less fun when you’re tired. Sometimes, morning self-care looks like hitting snooze when you know you need the extra winks.
Discover the best morning exercise routines.
Self-Care for the Soul
If self-care for the mind and body help us alleviate stress and nourish our physical health, then self-care for the soul takes our life to the next level. Self-care for the soul is what you do that makes you feel alive, present and centered.
Ultimately, self-care helps us get in touch with our needs and desires. When we take time to think about fuels us, we give ourselves a roadmap of how to live our lives daily. To uncover your passions—the activities that give you energy—try journaling, meditating or just sitting quietly. Whether it’s gardening, painting, dancing or playing an instrument, make time for what inspires you. Try connecting with the parts of yourself each morning, if only for a few minutes.
Another aspect of self-care for the soul is self-forgiveness. Caring for your soul may mean working on letting go of something that’s weighing on you down. Consider how your life might improve if you offered yourself and others more patience and understanding. The morning is a time to reflect on the attributes you wish to develop—who you want to become.
Self-care for the soul works in tandem with mental and physical well-being. When you build a foundation of mind-body health, you support your personal growth and ability to flourish.
Make Self-Care Your Morning Ritual
Self-care should be something you engage in and look forward to every day. Your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day, and you should try to squeeze in a self-care practice or two as early as you can.
Make self-care part of your morning routine, just like breakfast and brushing your teeth are. It takes time to form a new habit, so be patient. Give yourself time to adjust to your new self-care routine, and stick with it. You’re worth it.