Using a Morning Routine to Keep You Sane, Productive and Happy
Just recently things felt out of whack. I was grumpy, short-tempered and probably not much fun to be around.
Then it hit me – things had been going so well for me that I’d got complacent and had let go of some of the tools that keep me sane, grounded and happy.
The next morning I got up when my alarm clock went off. I did the things that make me feel oh, so good (yoga, meditation and journalling – oh yes, I’m one of ‘those’ people 😉 ). I had some blissful time alone before my three children woke up and demanded my attention with cuddles and laughter (and their fair share of squabbles and arguments!).
That morning, I reconnected with the things that make me feel alive! The things that settle me and allow me to be the best version of myself. The things that help me to stay in good humour when the inevitable toddler whirlwind hits.
And boy, did it feel good!
In today’s video I take you through my own morning routine, step by step, and explain why it is so important to me. I also share how you can create a routine for yourself that will make you happier, healthier and more productive – all you need is 30 minutes or so a day (and don’t try to tell me that you aren’t worth 30 minutes… 😉 ) You’ll also get to meet my son, Milo, who, as you will see, had something very important to ask me about lol!
Tell me, what are your go-to’s that keep you sane and happy? Where have you let them slip? Is it time to tweak things and bring some back?
Remember – the key isn’t in copying someone else’s routine and tools, it’s in finding your own – the things that work for YOU.
Do you have a morning routine? If so, what does yours involve, and if not, is it something you’d like to try? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. If you found the ideas in this post useful I would be honoured if you shared it with your network.
This video was originally recorded as a Facebook Live.
– – Good afternoon, my lovely friends. How are you today? It’s Dr. Sally Graddon, The Life Balance Doctor here, and I thought I’d come and say hello and have a chat about morning routines.
Morning routines are something that I always rolled my eyes at a little bit and never really got into until a year or so ago now. Somebody introduced me to something called The Miracle Morning, which is a book by a guy called Hal Elrod. In it, he talks about his version of a morning routine. It involves a whole series of different things that he does, none of which take him more than about five minutes for each section. And I started following it, and I followed it religiously. And it made the world of difference to me. Over time I have adapted it, I’ve changed it, and I’ve made it really work for me. The things that I do now, which I’ll tell you about a little bit in a minute, they set me up for my whole day. And the days when I haven’t done it, I am a grumpy, grumpy, grumpy woman, and I really notice a difference in my mood and how I am with my children, with my husband, and just generally how my day goes (it’s not pretty, to be honest!). And so it’s something that I would really encourage all of you to consider starting – some sort of morning routine that works for you.
Everybody’s different. There are certain things that I would really encourage you to include, because I think they’re particularly important. But then there are also things which you might want to add in or take out that are important or not so important for you, your needs, the way your life runs. Because at the end of the day, we’re not carbon copies of each other. We’re all individuals.
The things that I do that are pretty non-negotiable if I want to have a smooth-sailing day, I get up early in the morning – and this is just my choice because I’ve got very young children – the way for me to beat them out of bed in the morning is to get up about 4:30 in the morning. Now, that’s not for everybody, and I know that there will be a whole load of people having sort of panic attacks hearing that maybe they need to do the same, and you don’t. If that doesn’t work for you, don’t do that! Do it whenever suits you. You can do this at 10 o’clock in the morning if you wanted to.
I like the early morning because it’s peaceful, it’s calm, it’s quiet. It’s solitude for me. It’s that one time of the day before my children get up and start running around and wanting things, and before I have to start with my work or with whatever else I’m doing that day. It’s time that is purely, solely for me. The house is quiet. The dogs are sleeping. It’s just nice. There’s something special about that time of the morning for me. I’ve got added bonus that I get to watch the sunset most days, which is pretty magical.
Anyway, so I would recommend getting up half an hour earlier than you normally do to do this, and that’s all it needs to be. Just half an hour earlier than your normal waking up time so that you can beat everybody else. And as I say, that’s all it needs to be, half an hour, which really is not that much in the grand scheme of things. Not for a smooth-running day, anyway.
The things I do that particularly work well for me are I meditate. And I do different meditations depending on my mood, so sometimes I do guided meditations, sometimes I do metta meditations, loving-kindness. Sometimes I simply sit in silence and just let my thoughts wash in and out without judging any of them and just sit. Sometimes I might sit and watch a candle flickering. There are so many ways to meditate, and there’s no right or wrong way. It’s whatever feels good and works well for you.
I write my gratitude list. I write three things that I’m grateful for. And I make sure, I’ve said this before, but I always make sure that I include something that’s really, really simple, so something like the smile on my daughter’s face or something that takes it right back down, and I make sure that I really feel into it and feel the gratitude and feel how I feel when that thing is happening, or when I see my daughter smile, or when I see that beautiful flower sort of shining out at me. And I really internalise that feeling, and it allows me to carry that feeling with me for the rest of the day.
I also visualise how I’d like my day to go. And it’s really simple. It’s just letting thoughts and images run through of how I’d like my day to pan out, the things I want to happen, the things I want to get done, the way I want to feel, and just enjoy it really.
I journal. It’s something which it’s taken me a while to get into and took me a while to understand how to really do it and what would work for me, but now it’s invaluable to me. I have learnt so much from taking the time to journal every day. I say every day – there are times when I miss it, and there are times when I do none of these things. There are times when I only do a few of these things, and I have learnt not to beat myself up over when I do or don’t do it. I go with the flow. If I do it, then great. And if I don’t, then, well, as I say, sometimes I’ll really, really notice it and realise that I’ve been getting grumpier and grumpier and realise I haven’t done these for a few days and I’ve let it slide a bit, and then I’ll get back on it again and it will all be good again. But with my journaling, I tend to just free flow write, so after my meditation I will just put pen to paper and let my hand wander across the page basically and not worry about what I’m writing, what I’m saying. It’s literally what comes into my head and down my arm into my hand as I’m sat there. And it’s a pretty magical experience, because so often what comes out onto the paper is very deep, very profound, and incredibly insightful, and gets to the heart of your worries, your excitements, your joys, your fears. It really cuts through all those layers and cuts to that unconscious sublayer, and it’s a really powerful exercise.
Often, I’ll also pull an oracle card or an affirmation card or something like that, because, again, I find that it really helps bring things to the surface and gets me thinking about things in a slightly different way, and approach things from a slightly different angle. And I have some beautiful, beautiful cards that I adore using, because they are all so positive and uplifting and they always seem to give me what I need that day.
So, what else do I do? Sometimes I will read. I’ll read books that help me grow as a person, that uplift me and make me feel good or just teach me something.
I write my affirmations, and I’ll say them out loud.
The final thing is exercise. And the thing with exercise is it doesn’t have to be big, it doesn’t have to be grand, it doesn’t have to be an hour-long super sweaty workout in the gym. It can be something a lot more gentle, a lot more personal and quiet and relaxed. And yoga is one of the things that I love doing because it helps centre me and brings me back into my body and helps get my head out of clouds and, whoo, up here and back and centred and grounded, which is something that personally I need. So yoga is one of my go-tos.
Anyway, this has been a bit of a longer video so I’ll leave it there. If you’ve got any questions, then feel free to post them and ask me about it, and I’ll happily expand on any of them, and perhaps in the future I’ll talk in a little bit more detail about all of these different things that I do and that I’ve seen work for so many other people.
When we give so much of ourselves to other people, it is so important that we take some time for ourselves, some time to be by ourselves. To find that peace that is very often lacking from the rest of our day as we rush around being busy, being mothers, and trying to do our work and fit everything in. So, enjoy it. The point of this is to enjoy it. It’s not to put pressure on you or yourself to fit even more into your day. It’s not about that. It’s about giving yourself some space which then actually you’ll find provides you with more time, as you go about your day in a more relaxed way. You’ll be less stressed. And I find that when I’ve done this, I’m more productive, I’m more centred, I’m more focused, and I’m all able to more present with my children because I’ve had the time I needed for myself.
I hope you found this useful. Please comment if you’ve got any questions about any of it.
I’ll talk to you soon. Take care, bye.
Dr Sally Graddon
The Life Balance Doctor
I help doctors to find balance, reconnect with the things that are truly important to them and create a life that makes them light up as they Dare to Dream of a life outside of medicine!
As a former doctor and now mother of three, I know only too well the challenges of trying to balance career and family life, and I feel incredibly privileged to help others create a life they love, as I have done myself.
Send me a message to find out more about working with me. I look forward to 'meeting' you!
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