Growing up in a dysfunctional family, self-care wasn’t something I had even heard of until college and social media. If you are anything like me, your definition of self-care may have been limited to words like spa treatments, taking a vacation, or selfish.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Self-care is seen as self-indulgent in our society instead of the basic foundation for your overall well-being. Your current habits are an accumulation of past experiences that may have been focused on adapting to the world around you instead of honoring your own needs.
This may be the first time you are learning how to take care of yourself and make space for self-care. I realize that can feel overwhelming, AND kudos to you for prioritizing yourself.
Creating a morning self-care routine can be an invaluable way to start your day. It’s essential to take time for yourself and your well-being, even when you are busy and have a lot of things on your plate. This post will explore the different self-care ideas you can include in your morning self care routine and why creating one is beneficial.
WHAT IS A MORNING SELF CARE ROUTINE?
Self-care is a term used to describe practices and activities to improve, maintain, or enhance one’s physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health.
Morning self-care routines are a great way to set yourself up for a successful day. Focusing on nourishing your body with the right foods, building strength through exercise like stretching or yoga, and taking time to reflect by journaling or meditating can be excellent ways to set the tone for your day.
Morning self-care routines, no matter how small or big, can help boost productivity and creativity and reduce stress. As you progress with your daily practice, it will become easier and more enjoyable as you notice its benefits on your overall well-being.
WHAT SELF-CARE ISN’T
Self-care is often associated with activities that fill you up. Your self-care choices should not feel like another item on your to-do list but rather support you in creating a little breathing room to handle life stressors.
A morning self-care routine should include exercise, healthy eating, managing stress, and setting realistic goals. Not only that, but self-care needs to continue throughout the day—recognizing when it’s time to take a break or disengage from technology is essential to stay balanced and mindful.
Self-care isn’t just about getting up in the morning; it’s about creating meaningful habits that promote long-term well-being even as life’s challenges arise.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF A SELF-CARE DAILY ROUTINE?
Creating a morning self-care routine has multiple benefits for physical and mental well-being. According to research from the American Psychological Association, regular self-care practice leads to improved stress management, mood regulation, and overall health. Additionally, creating a morning routine helps you set the tone for the rest of your day—it sets up a positive mindset that allows you to handle challenges more effectively throughout your day.
Your morning self care routine doesn’t have to be complicated – it’s just about taking time for yourself and doing something that enhances your mindset. If you complicate or add much too soon to your habits, you are more inclined to avoid following through on it, so keep it simple.
Developing a Morning Self Care Routine will help you stay centered and peaceful throughout your day.
SELF-CARE AND CHILDREN OF IMMIGRANTS
Self-care can and likely will look different for children of immigrants. My parents are immigrants who came to the United States for better opportunities for their children. They are the most hardworking people I know. But, growing up, we received different messages about what self-care meant.
You are taught to put the needs of others before your own needs and learn to identify what others might need before they even ask. Caring for others means caring for yourself and if you prioritized yourself, you are selfish making you feel guilty. Now- as adults- you are coming to realize that it is okay (even necessary) to put yourself first and self-care isn’t selfish.
HOW DO I START A SELF-CARE ROUTINE?
A Morning Self Care Routine is a great way to get acquainted with an ongoing routine of taking care of yourself. Being mindful of daily self-care practices helps to build resilience creating an atmosphere of stability and structure that will start your day off on the right foot.
A good daily self care morning routine starts the night before. You want to get enough sleep to start your morning off right. This includes:
- Not utilizing your electronics at least an hour or two before bedtime.
- Keeping your sleep times consistent.
- Having an idea of what to expect in the morning, aka your to-do list.
When reflecting on a daily self care routine morning ritual, you want a routine that will work for you and not against you. Keep it simple and start small.
15 BEST MORNING SELF CARE IDEAS
As I mentioned, self care is an essential foundation for your overall well-being. To use these ideas in your day-to-day practices, we will view self-care through the wellness lens, which looks at your body, mind, and soul.
Are you wondering what is a good self-care morning routine for your body, mind, and soul? Keep reading for 15 simple practices you can incorporate right away.
1. STRETCH OR DO SOME LIGHT YOGA TO LOOSEN UP
When it comes to creating a successful morning self-care routine, exercise should be noticed!
Physical activity releases endorphins and gets your blood flowing, whether it’s yoga, stretching, or simply walking around the block. This will give you more energy throughout the day and help reduce stress levels.
Make sure to fit in at least 10 minutes of exercise each morning so that you can start with positive vibes!
2. DRINK A GLASS OF WATER BEFORE YOU DRINK COFFEE OR TEA
Your body is dehydrated when you wake up. After waking, you first want to restore and replenish lost fluids, aka hydrating yourself.
I believe that the first decision of the day sets the tone for the rest of the day. If you are anything like me, you might not get thirsty in the morning and have to make this a healthy habit. I would wake up and reach for my cup of coffee when I did not follow a morning routine. It took months to break that habit, and I still struggle at times, but I realized that drinking caffeine before a glass of water will further dehydrate your body.
Some easy ways to remember to drink water in the morning are having a glass or bottle of water on your nightstand, setting a water intake goal, and setting reminders on your phone. My go-to tip has been to put bottles in every room of my house, which makes it easier for me to remember as I live in a cold state which leads me to not feeling thirsty.
3. EAT A HEALTHY BREAKFAST
It’s easy to rush through breakfast and grab something unhealthy on the go, but taking time to cook or prepare nutritious food is essential for starting the day right.
Eating healthy foods such as eggs, oatmeal, smoothies, or avocado toast is excellent fuel for your body and mind—and it will ensure that you stay energized until lunchtime rolls around!
Additionally, if possible, add calming herbal teas to your breakfast routine; this will help relax your mind and ease anxiety.
4. ANCHOR YOURSELF TO THE PRESENT MOMENT
Many of us spend a lot of our time in our heads. You add meaning to those thoughts and now find yourself reacting to something that hasn’t happened before you even enjoy your coffee. The morning is a great time to minimize looping reflections by consciously disconnecting.
Start getting in the habit of checking in with yourself frequently throughout the day. Many people do not realize how much stress your body holds on to and because we often label it as ‘I am so busy,’ we tend to normalize our auto-piloted behaviors.
The simple exercise below will allow you to anchor yourself to the present moment. You can also take nature walks and actively connect to your surroundings.
5. TAKE A WARM SHOWER OR BATH
This is a great self-care routine for your skin. When I wake up, the first thing I like to do is take a warm shower. This allows me to feel fully awake and present for my self-care daily routine. I also habitually listen to calming music when I shower, which gets me in the right mindset for the day.
If you wake up tired, anxious, or just not feeling your best self, try taking a shower first thing in the morning.
6. WRITE YOUR DAILY TO-DO LIST
This is truly a habit you should adopt and make part of your morning self care routine. This is one of those habits that start before you go to bed. You want to have a plan of action for your next day; otherwise, you will find yourself wasting time on things that are less important to you, OR you might notice you feel overwhelmed throughout the day because of a lack of structure.
Before having a system, I was the queen of post-its. Then, I realized I needed appointments or help finding the post-it (they quickly became bookmarks). So I started implementing a task and calendar system that has worked wonders for my life.
A task list includes ALL your tasks, and a calendar keeps track of all your tasks + appointments. Together this would be an accountability and organization tool. This list can be simple. I like to use a simple planner for the year to keep everything in one place. You can use whatever works best for you, but keep it all in one place.
You want to look at your task list every day, along with the specific day on your calendar. Update this calendar weekly, so you can stay on track and not miss any important tasks or events. The goal could be better with this tip. If you try to perfect every part of the task list and/or calendar, you will not have any systems in place.
When you wake up in the morning, you won’t be wondering what to include in your morning, but instead will have a plan.
7. READ A BOOK
Is there a book you started reading a few months ago and still suck on the same page somewhere under your bed? If yes, you may have attempted this tip but needed help to stick with it. Reading in the morning is a great way to be intellectually stimulated and for self-growth. However, this may take some time if you are not a reader.
When thinking of adding reading to your morning self care routine, think about starting small. You can choose to read an entire chapter or just five pages. The idea is to start building the habit at your pace and add to it.
A practical tip is to set a timer. For example, I read for 20-30 minutes every morning, sometimes more if I have the time, but I want to set a timer before I start reading. Then, when the timer goes off, I place the bookmark where I stopped reading.
8. LISTEN TO A PODCAST
If you prefer to avoid reading in the morning and would rather listen to something, podcasts are the way to go.
So whether you are cooking your breakfast or stretching, play an audiobook or TedX to get your morning started.
Are you someone who reaches for their phone before their eyes open? Or do you find yourself scrolling through world affairs before taking a mindful breath? How about the most widely used social media platforms?
Nowadays, most of us are glued to our cell phones which means we are almost always stimulated. The most common thing people check in the morning is social media and email. So that first negative thing you are exposed to in the morning or the unanswered email to your boss can leave you feeling on edge for the rest of the day. So instead of remaining present in your morning, you are now starting your day with notifications reflecting how you will feel, leaving you to be reactive towards your day.
As you scroll through Instagram and/or your work Gmail, I encourage you to check in with yourself. How did that make you feel, and where did you feel it in your body? Your stress levels will increase with the comparison game or ruminating about your to-do list that you may need to complete at work.
We live in an overly stimulated society, so it may not feel like a big deal when you innocently check your phone in the morning. However, it is important to disconnect so you can reconnect with the world in a way that does not drain you first thing in the morning.
Mindful breathing is a great way to start your day. It will help you anchor yourself to the present moment and allow you to slow down. For example, when I started a breathing exercise, I realized I was mouth-breathing most of the day. That information allowed me to reflect on my stress levels which at the time were elevated.
Your breathing practice can be simple. I like to practice 5-10 minutes of Nadi Shodhana: How to Practice Alternate Nostril Breathing. Then, you can start your day off with the 4-7-8 breathing technique or simple belly breathing. The goal is to be present with your breath.
If you are new to breathing practices, your mind may wander, or you may not be able to sit with this for extended periods, which is okay. Don’t let that discourage you from continuing. Start with 1-2 minutes, along with some calming music, and work your way up.
11. MAKE YOUR BED
As McRaven said in his speech to grads: “If you want to change the world, start by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the day’s first task. It will give you a small sense of pride and encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. By the end of the day, that one task will have turned into many completed tasks. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. If you have a miserable day by chance, you will come home to a bed that’s made. That you made. And a made bed encourages you that tomorrow will be better.”
Your mental health is a reflection of your physical space. So a task as simple as making your bed in the morning can give you a sense of accomplishment that positively impacts your mental health.
Remind yourself that it can be imperfect. For example, for many of you who work from home, your room might be the space your spend most of your time, or it may just be your safe space, so add this to your list of non-negotiables.
12. JOURNAL/ GRATITUDE LIST
The beauty of journaling is that there isn’t much you need to get started, and it has tremendous benefits. Most people get overwhelmed by the idea of journaling every day. However, you can journal WHENEVER you want to. I recommend sticking to a schedule to remain consistent, but other than that you can decide if you journal once a week, every other day, or every day.
Adding journaling to your morning self care routine is a great way to get your thoughts on paper. If you end up writing in the morning, avoid journaling about things that may be activating. You want your morning to be a space that can elevate your peace, not your stress levels. The morning is a time to set the intention for the day, which makes the gratitude exercise incredibly beneficial.
13. IDENTIFY A VALUE TO SET INTENTION FOR THE DAY
Intentions are phrases that help manifest what you want out of your day. It is different from goal setting but instead focuses on your mindset. Setting an intention for the day allows you to face your day positively. Each morning you can identify the most important value you would like to live by and create an intention around it.
For example, let’s say your chosen value for the day is curiosity, and you intend to be curious about your behaviors today. As you go through your day, if you notice a shift in your emotions and your go-to reaction is to judge yourself, you can use your value-based intention to redirect your attention to be self-compassionate, allowing you to be curious about your emotions.
Setting intentions will give you the tools you need to make value-based decisions and show kindness to yourself. It is a potent tool for self-growth, and when practiced with time, you will notice your ability to engage with your environment more positively.
To set intentions for your day, ask yourself, “In what ways can I show self-compassion to myself today?”
14. CHOOSE A HAPPY OR CALMING SONG
Have you ever listened to a song and realized it impacted your mood and changed your feelings? Music can positively influence how you think, feel, and behave, making it an effective way to cope.
Identify what song makes you feel good and listen to that in the morning.
15. ALLOW THE SUN TO TOUCH YOU
Sunshine is a natural mood lifter that is free and easily accessible to most. It increases serotonin levels, aka your feel-good hormones, and that improves your mood. In addition, little sunshine gives you Vitamin D and that instant energy boost you need in the morning.
When it isn’t cold outside, I like to take my coffee and walk in the morning. Then, you can sit out in the sun and journal, read, and/or listen to music. There is really no wrong way of using this tip.
P.S. Remember your sunscreen. Read Sunlight and Your Health for more information.
16. VISUALIZATIONS AND AFFIRMATIONS
What you tell yourself MATTERS! Short positive affirmations are a great way to engage in intentional positive self-talk. Affirmations help motivate positive changes in one’s life by changing negative or unhelpful thoughts to more balanced and supportive ones.
When you have a chosen affirmation, you can visualize how you would like your day to go. You can do this by meditating, looking at your vision board, saying your affirmation out loud, or simply visualizing your day.
The mindset you create in the morning can impact the rest of your day, making this tip extremely important to add to your daily self care morning routine.
SELF CARE MORNING ROUTINE TIPS
1. Wake up a little earlier than usual
Many people find it challenging to find the time in their busy schedules to fit a consistent self-care routine. To make sure this does not overwhelm you, try waking up 10-15 minutes earlier than your usual wake up time which will allow you to have time for yourself before you jump into the business of your day.
2. Have a strong night time routine
As I mentioned earlier in this post, your morning starts with the night before. If you are new to creating a morning routine, you may also be new to a nightly routine. Don’t worry. You can start by focusing on three things: getting quality sleep, turning off your electronics 30 minutes to an hour before going to bed, and picking a time you can consistently maintain for sleep and wake up time.
Again, if you are new to creating a night time routine, pay attention to what works best for you and is realistic so you don’t get overwhelmed. I like to look at my to-do list before I go to bed which allows me to plan ahead for the next day and there isn’t much guesswork when it comes to tackling the the list.
3. Set small goals
Of all the tips, this tips is the most important in my opinion. Many people tend to make extremely big goals when they are first starting out with their morning routine and this can be problematic because your brain does not like sudden changes and will naturally push back.
You want to keep your goals small and focus on the idea of habit stacking. For example, if you are not used to waking up extremely early, you may want to try the gradual method first where you wake up gradually 10-15 minutes earlier for the first few days and continue working toward the desired wake up time.
Smaller goals will allow you to stick with a morning routine longer and build self-trust.
4. Be consistent
The two biggest mistake that people make when working on creating any types of routines is 1) They don’t set realistic goals and 2) They are not consistent. It does not matter if there is only one thing on your morning routine as long as you are doing your best to stay consistent. Consistency builds self-trust and will give you a sense of accomplishment.
The idea behind a morning routine is to create a foundation of self-trust. When things get challenging or stressful, a successful routine will be something you can fall back on as you ride the wave of the day.
Source: browngirltrauma.com ~ Image: Canva Pro