Why is a Morning Routine Important?
A morning routine sets the tone. My morning routine that keeps my energy levels up all day and helps me stay productive throughout the day.
I remember reading The Miracle Morning years ago, it was the first time in ages that I felt excited for the next morning and starting my day the way I wanted it to.
The beauty about a good morning routine is that this is something we can do completely for ourselves.
Routines are key in habit formation. Small habits help me stick to my routine. By creating a fixed morning routine, I reduce the ‘friction’ and resistance of my brain to accomplish certain tasks.
We don’t do things that are good for us because we make them difficult or get stuck in perfectionism. I have developed a routine for myself that works because I engineered it that way.
So here’s my complete morning routine on a normal day.
Get Up Early
I really enjoy rising early to make the most of the morning. Even back in school, I got up way earlier than I had to because I enjoyed having an extensive morning routine, time for tea and a long breakfast. I really don’t like the feeling of having to rush, so I make time for the things in the morning that I care about.
Having enough time for myself in the morning hours keeps me well balanced and I kick of the day in the right spirit.
I love the spring and summer months because I can get up with the daylight. I like to keep my window ajar, to let fresh air into my bedroom at all times.
One thing that has dramatically improved my sleep (and thus morning) routine are Philips Hue lamps. I got them when I moved into my house almost three years ago and had a Philips Wakeup Light for years before that. This is the best way for my body to wake up in its natural rhythm by simulating the sunrise, slowly helping my body release hormones that help me get up naturally without a brutal ringtone.
You can set timers on the app to manage all Hue lamps. My Hue lights switch off (dim out slowly) in the evening, allowing me to go to bed at the same hour and getting me into a slumber state and fall asleep easily. The latest model of the Philips Wakeup Light is also app-connected. Built in sensors measure your bedroom’s temperature, noise, light and humidity levels – synching with the app and suggesting ways to improve your sleep space and routine. Absolutely brilliant. I love using technology to my advantage.
In the morning, the light slowly switch on, giving your body the same effect of the rising sun. Getting up never was easier for me, even at 5 or 6 am in the winter time when it’s pitch black outside.
Make My Bed
The first thing I do after waking up is making my bed. I believe that this small habit helps me keep my life in order.
It gives me joy seeing a perfectly made bed every time I enter the bedroom. It is a luxury I create by myself.
Taking care of the place where I find rest is treating it like a sanctuary. You can create a peaceful place by treating it accordingly.
I have always been a beauty gal, and I love discovering new products. The cornerstones of my skincare are Retinol, Vitamin C, Glycolic Acid and Hyaluronic Acid for hydration.
A summary of my morning skincare routine is cleansing and using products packed with Vitamin C and antioxidants to protect my skin from daily stressors.
I wash my face with a gentle cleanser and have fallen back in love with toners lately. I use a simple alcohol free vitamin toner for everyday, to give the following HA Serum something watery to absorb (#beautyhack). 2-3 days a week, depending on my skins happiness level,, I apply a Glycolic Acid Toner to maintain the GLOW and fight potential breakouts.
Afterwards, I apply deep hydration. Hydration is the key to skin functioning properly and looking its best. This is why I use a serum jam-packed with different molecular weights of Hyaluronic Acid before anything else.
Vitamin C Serum + Resveratrol + Ferulic Acid or EUK 134 (alternatingly) as a powerful antioxidant mix against skin aging and protecting from damage and environmental stressors. On days where I have more oiliness and enlarged pores, I frequent Niacinamide 10% + Zink for a great pore-free makeup base and keeping breakouts in check.
Moisturizer: TO Natural Moisturizing Factors on most days, mixed with 1-2 drops of ‘B Oil’ (a blend of squalane and oils to support healthy skin defense to fight free radicals for extra radiance and protection during the day.
You can find a full review and recommended products from The Ordinary here.
My skincare routine works really well lately, and while you should never change a winning team, I am considering trying a few bits and bobs to upgrade my routine a notch. So here’s my current shopping cart:
Sunday Riley LUNA Sleeping Night Oil
I will report back on how that’s going.
My Morning Pickmeup Tonic
I like to put something warm into my belly first thing in the morning. I prepare a lemon ginger drink essence that lasts me up to an entire week. It is a ginger lemon shot but I prefer to drink it hot with some water, so I just top it off with some boiling water and add fresh lemon juice and sip it. I have 1-2 cups every morning.
This alkaline drink helps detoxify the system, gets the metabolism started for the day and makes sure I am hydrated from the start.
On chillier days, I keep a pot of this on my desk and sip it throughout the day. On warmer days, I have a bottle with lemon water next to me at all times and make sure I am always hydrated. The added hydration and energy has worked magic for my skin health and well-being in general.
I have successfully managed to ditch my caffeine addiction that way. So instead of having coffee first thing in the morning, I have something healthy first. I have also replaced coffee with green tea or matcha, although I still enjoy a nice cup of coffee, but have reduced my intake significantly.
Before breakfast, I take a few supplements, most of them is extra nutrients for skin and hair. I don’t go crazy on supplements, as nutrients are processed best through good food.
I am massively into Collagen recently. I use both micro-needling, also known as Collagen-induction therapy, as well as supplements to complement these two routines. There are so many Collagen supplements out there nowadays. I started with one to just test the waters and so far, I am quite pleased with the result.
Next to that, I take B Vitamins & Zink to support healthy hair and skin from within.
I see a healthy diet, good skincare and supplements working as a team.
Dreaming of working with yoga pants all day? Yeah, me too. However, I have ditched that yoga pants lifestyle a while ago, despite working more from home lately.
Even when I am working from home, I get fully ready for the day. I get dressed as if I was leaving the house for a business meeting. I treat my work like work.
I like to be comfortable AND look put together.
It might sound weird and useless to do all this effort to look nice – just for yourself. But this is exactly the point. How do you show up yourself on a daily basis?
It is not about the time, it is about getting into the mindset of caring for yourself enough to treat yourself the best way possible and show up for yourself – like a boss, every single day. Getting dressed, having nice hair and makeup is a huge part of that.
It was insane(!) what getting dressed and showing up for myself in the morning did to my self-esteem and productivity. I noticed I was carrying myself differently and produced on a completely different level.
I became more confident and got shit done and also felt less like a slouchy, jobless person and just had a different attitude in general.
How you treat yourself matters a lot(!), so show up as your best self every day.
Some of you know that I do Intermittent Fasting and have for years now.
This means I don’t always have breakfast every morning. On fasting days, I skip breakfast and eat a nourishing ‘all-in-one’ meal for late lunch.
While some complain about headaches and a gruntling belly when they don’t eat, I have found that having less food increases my energy levels and helps me focus so much better during my morning hours, where I tend to be most productive.
After meals, I usually get a little dip, where my energy drops. On fasting days, I can focus a lot better and am not distracted by food, preparing food, thinking of food or giving in to urges and cravings.
(I will put together a separate blog post on my Intermittent Fasting routine.)
On those days where I eat normal breakfast, I opt for porridge with fresh fruit, eggs, a smoothie or a high-protein banana pancake. It is nourishing and keeps my belly happy for a while. I eat less but healthy aka. focus more on the quality of my food than the amount. My food is about nourishment and giving my body the nutrients it needs to perform its best.
I like to have a few go to recipes I stick to, so I don’t indulge in confusion over my food or fall into bad eating habits because I am overwhelmed and don’t have the time and energy to think about what I am going to eat. Pick a handful of go-to recipes and grocery shop accordingly, so you can simplify your diet.
Another benefit of skipping breakfast is that I can have a workout on a comepltely empty stomach, which increases fat burn and just makes me feel better. I have been a morning runner forever. But since I am a fair-weather runner, I have purchased a a rebounder a while ago, so I can stick to my cardio workout at home. It is the most efficient (and fun!) workout ever, elevates me mood, gets my blood flow going and has toned every muscle in my body. Rebounding has become my favorite way of getting some movement.
How rebounding is different from any other cardio:
The forces of gravity create a compression or ‘vaccuum effect’ in all cells, like a cell massage, hereby toning and increasing blood flow to all muscles, organs and stimulating deep tissues and the lymphatic system, while being super gentle to the joints. I can confirm that after rebounding on my bellicon, I feel soooo good! It is both relaxing and refreshing at the same time. What for me started with a substitution for running on rainy days, has become a fixed part of my daily routine. I cannot imagine needing any other fitness device in my home than the bellicon rebounder. Cannot recommend enough!
I finish my quick morning workout with a some stretching and yoga to mobilize my entire body. It has helped with my core and posture, reducing all pains and aches in my back, as I work in front of a screen sitting at my desk the majority of the day.
I don’t have to force myself to workout, because I found ways to incorporate it into my routine and make it fun and enjoyable.
Journaling & Planning
I have made it a habit to find at least 10 minutes in the morning to sit down with my ginger-lemon-water and do a quick reflection or visualization exercise and set an intention or focus for the day.
I used to wake up sometimes and being flooded by people on the socials just gave me an instant feeling of inadequacy and feeling ‘lesser than’. This is why I have stopped consuming social media first thing in the morning and focusing on myself and what I can contribute instead of comparing myself. I have made it a rule to produce before I consume.
Prep the desk
The night before, I always clean up everything from my workspace, so I can find a perfectly neat and tidy place the next day.
I love starting my day at an organized and tidy workspace. I put everything I need next to me on my desk.
So next day, I just have to flip open my laptop, grab my glasses and put a bottle of water and/or tea next to me and I am ready to go!
You might not realize how much clutter affects your energy and productivity until you remove it. So I make it a ritual to clean up all cups and glasses at the end of my workday, and put everything back to its place. Cleaning up my workspace also serves as a trigger that the workday is over now and I can transition into my evening routine.
Nothing is more important than a great morning routine! I have designed it in a way that I look forward to the next morning, no matter how many things on the To Do list.
Also, don’t forget that a good morning routine starts with a good evening routine. I prep everything I can the night before, so I can kick off my mornings on the right foot. I try to go to bed at the same time every night, lay out my workout clothes the night before, fold my clothes, clean out the kitchen counter tops and the dishwasher… This all helps e avoid stress the next morning.
If you are looking for more ideas how to design your perfect morning routine, my latest book on my nightstand is The Sweet Spot. The author does a great job explaining the science and psychology behind habit formation and how to design your days and routines to serve you best.
What is your morning routine?