Ep 15: My Morning Routine

Setting myself up for success first thing in the morning has been a total game-changer for me.

Knowing that every morning I get to wake up and do what I want to feed my soul and care for my body and mind helps me enter the day with gratitude and peace.

I didn’t always have a morning routine. I woke up and let life just happen to me. When I tried to create a routine for myself, it fell apart at least 80% of the time.

But when I realized it didn’t have to be perfect, I then found the consistency that worked for me.

Listen to episode 15 to hear my top four suggestions for a healthy morning routine.

What You’ll Learn From This Episode

  • The four most important things to add to your mornings.
  • How learning something new affects your brain.
  • Commitment to your routine is more important than how much time you spend.  
  • How to drop perfectionism and find a routine that works for you.

If you want help implementing the tools I teach, I would be honored to be your life coach. Working with a coach helps you to create change quicker, easier, and with more fun along the way! Are you ready to create a more Joyful Love in your own Life and Marriage? Then click here to find out more.

Mentioned On The Show:

Podcast Transcript:

Hey there! I’m Rachael Cunningham and you’re listening to Joyful Love, Episode 15

Are you all ready to talk about the importance of a morning routine?

Some of you already rock at this … but many of you are still struggling to bring consistency to this area.

Or maybe you have a routine, but it’s getting stale and boring and doesn’t give you the same excitement as it used to.

So we’re not talking about any morning routine today…  I want you to have a morning routine that sets you up for peace, Clarity, trust and love throughout the day. For most of my life my adult life, my morning routine looked like Sleeping as long as I possibly could before my kids would wake me up…

then I would see their beautiful faces and peel myself out of bed 2 go feed them and have my coffee.

through much of my parenting my own personal time to reflect and take care of myself and my own needs was lacking quite a bit.

 I would often try to create a morning routine but quite honestly my tendency to people please and neglecting myself took over more often than not.

And that lack of taking the time that I needed for myself affected every aspect of my life. It affected my anxiety, my peace, my stress levels, and my ability to really lean into the difficult parts of my life that were there. And I believe it even affected my ability to love my people in the way I wanted to.

But when I learned to really prioritize  My personal time in the mornings, before I gave to anyone else – so much changed for me.

 Now I truly treat my morning routine like a part-time job that I show up every day for.

If I’m going to call in sick to my part-time morning job … It better be a really really good reason.

Not just because I don’t feel like it or because I have a busy day.

So you might be curious what my morning routine is. I’m absolutely willing to share it! But first I want you to know that it changes occasionally. It changes according to the season. It changes according to what we have going on in our family. And I change it up occasionally on purpose just to get my brain something to be excited about.

I like to wake up excited about my day! And creating a morning routine that’s exciting is part of that.

And over time, I’ve increased the time that I spend in the morning on myself.

Part of this is due to my kids getting older and not needing me in the mornings. And part of it … to be honest is because I’ve told my husband that I love him … but my morning alone time is precious and I’m gonna prioritize that.

When you work together and see each other non-stop like we do — it’s important to create that alone time on purpose for yourself.

So – My body naturally wakes me up at 5:00 since I turned 40.  Occassionally it wakes me up at 6 and I assume I need the sleep so I let it.

So — since I know that regardless of an alarm, my own brain is gonna say, Ok, Rach, get up!  I make sure that my morning routine starts the night before … by going to bed between 9 and 10.. So i can get 7 to 8 hours of sleep.

I make the coffee and while that’s brewing, I set up outside on my porch. I bring my journal, my planner, and my phone.

I grab my coffee and then I sit down to journal. I write down all my thoughts I’m having that morning and work through any worries or anxieties that I’m processing in the morning…

After I journal, I look at my planner and get clear on what I’m going to accomplish and work on today. I plan my meals.

Then I meditate – sometimes without being guided, and other times I’ll do a guided meditation (which is why I bring my phone outside with me)

All of this takes about an hour.

Then I workout for about 30 minutes … I alternate between yoga and riding my peloton.

And then … I practice something new just for fun for about 20 minutes. Right now, I’m learning to longboard.  For those of you who don’t know, A longboard is just a long skate board.

I love incorporating something new for my brain to learn in the mornings … whether it’s reading something or actively learning something – it lights up the brain.

Learning something new
is like a mental workout and not only does it strenghten connections between the existing cells … it also builds new cells.

If you’re like me and my husband, we’ve noticed a real lack of focus over the past several years. It takes a lot of intention to stay focused on one thing until it’s done. And we are fully aware that as we age, memory and concentration is more challenging.

The temptation would be to not add anything else to our lives, however …When you exercise the brain by learning something new – those consistent workouts help improve cognitive functions such as  concentration, attention to detail, memory and even problem solving.

So I like to think that engaging in challenging things … like longboarding – or anything new – I like to thing that it’s saving me time.  Because I’m strengthening my brain’s ability to focus better and problem solve throughout the day.

That 20 minute commitment every day also benefits my mood — I know I’m not putting off learning things for myself until my life is more calm, until my business has grown to a certain level, or until everyone that I love is okay first.

And mama’s — I want to give YOU permission to go after your dreams too!

As mothers, we are constantly wanting to feed life into our kids. We constantly want to encourage them to learn and grow in new ways.  Yet, we’ve forget how to dream ourselves.

I want to offer this … the BEST thing you can do for your kids is to be an example of someone who loves herself enough to pursue her own dreams.  They will learn 10xs more by seeing YOU happy and healthy and whole than by all the words of encouragement you speak to them.

They need to see the example.

And I promise you … Your kids are going to LOVE it when they see you come alive because you’re learning and doing what you want to.

So – if you have time in the morning to learn something new for 20 minutes – do it! If not, create that 20 minutes somewhere else in your day.

Your brain needs exercise too!

Ok, back to my personal routine ….

At this point, after I’ve practiced my longboarding …. I come in the house, set the time for 15 minutes and clean fast. I get the kitchen counters cleaned off, I start laundry, I clean the litter box and I feed the animals.

Then I go grab a shower while I listen to music or a podcast.

Then, by 8:00 I start working. I work for about 4 hours every day until I need to focus on my family.

Now… that’s a 3 hour routine before I get started with work!  And it feels magical to me.  If I’m honest, since I’m an introvert … I could have an 8 hour morning routine and be totally content just to think and be alone all that time!

However, 3 hours works well for me right now.

Occasionally, I’ll sleep in til 6 or 6:30 when my body needs to and I’ll keep my routine, but adjust the times. Maybe I’ll just give myself 10 minutes for each thing instead of 20 …. But keeping that routine – even if it’s shortened is important for me.

Just a little goes a long way. And dropping perfection is a huge part of staying consistent.

Now my kids are older – they don’t need me in the mornings like they used to.

But I do have a husband who likes to verbally process in the mornings … so occasionally I’ll create space for us to hang out and talk.

And sometimes my kids DO wake up and feel chatty early in the mornings!  Since that is a rare occasion, I’ve decided that I LOVE dropping half my morning routine to engage with my kids when they want to.  Chatting with them in the early morning lights my brain up every bit as much as other things if I let it!

And I’m willing to adjust when I need to because I”m so consistent most days.

I know that one day of switching it up isn’t going to ruin my consistent routine.

I know that my life has to work for me and my family … and part of that is staying present to what’s needed and trusting that there is time and space for it all.

Now… if you have younger kids who you have to get off to school or take care of in the mornings, your routine will not be as long as mine.

But I encourage you to create a mini-routine anyway.  Even just 20 minutes to sit and have coffee — or heck even a big glass of water, breathe, and wake up with intention is going to help you move through your day in a way that helps you stay present throughout the day.

5 minutes of meditation goes a long way.

And then incorporating your kids into your morning routine is so much fun!

Taking a walk with them, meditating with them, giving them something to do with their hands while you journal …. It CAN be done.  

The secret is committing to the routine and helping them to understand that this is what we do! We do morning routines and it’s fun!  I remember when I used to take my youngest to school, we’d leave a bit early and meditate in the car for 5 minutes. Then we’d take a 15 minute walk at a park before he went into school. That time was magical.  And honestly, I’d love to experience that again with him!

Time with young kids does go by fast – enjoy your own alone time for as long as you can in the mornings … even if that’s 10 minutes … and then enjoy creating routines with them!

And if you want that 3 hour routine like I have, trust me … it’s coming sooner than you think it is!

But get in the habit of honoring a mini routine now. Don’t wait. Your peace and joy need that now. And your kids need to see the example of you honoring yourself now.

Now — your lovely brain is gonna offer you all the excuses.

From I can’t wake up in the morning to there’s not enough time before work.

Entertain this thought for today, “Time for a consistent morning routine is possible. And I’m open to figuring this out.”

Then watch your brain get to work and figure it out!

Allow yourself to feel curious.

Curious of how to make it work.

And then start trying new routines on.

Just like you’d try on several pairs of running shoes before you settle on the perfect pair –  you may need to try on a few different routines for yourself before you find the one that really lights you up during the day!

You’ll know you’ve found it because you’ll start to feel satisfied about moving into the rest of your day.

You’ll feel peaceful and excited to see your people.

Because you KNOW that even if the rest of the day throws you curve balls, you’ve already accomplished so much.  

That can come from a 2 or 3 hour routine …. And it can come from 5 minutes of meditation to get you started.

If time is an issue … start small. Retrain yourself that YOU are a person that honors their own commitments to themself.  Start with 5 minutes. Every single morning for THIS week, You’ll wake up, and do just 5 minutes of something…. Whether that’s journaling, stretching or 5 minutes of sun-salutaions, I don’t care – write it down and commit.

Then next week add 5 minutes to it. Train your brain that you DO have time for yourself in the mornings. Because you do!

As you increase your morning routine time, keep in mind the top 4 things that I believe set you up for success throughout the day.

#1. A moment to breathe and be present – that can be sitting in silence or meditation – but taking that few minutes to simply be helps you get in the habit of being present for the rest of your day … from conversations with your partner to those curve balls that are thrown from your beautiful kids or work!

#2 A moment to sweat and move.  It can be 5 minutes or 1 hour … but getting your heart rate up and warming up your body helps you to focus better throughout the day and loosens your body to feel better.

#3 A moment to look at your plan for the day … from your top three things you want to accomplish to knowing whats for dinner. Giving yourself a headstart of knowing what to expect helps you to keep on track and succeed at your goals fo the day. So look at your calendar. Plan your top three goals, and know what you’re going to eat!

#4 A moment to take care of energy leaks. I call those things that take up my brain space … like dishes, laundry and trash ENERGY LEAKS. They’re energy leaks because if they are left undone … thinking about them being left undone … robs me of energy to do other things.  So taking care of them in small bursts throughout the day helps me to stay focused on my work or present with my family for the rest of the day.  And this first 15 minute bursts of taking care of those energy leaks happens in the morning!  

You can even make it fun by putting on some music and racing against the clock to give yourself a little sweat session!

So … Morning routines set you up for success.  They get the important things out of the way. They remind you to be still and present with YOURSELF.

It’s a way to remember before the day gets started that you are lovable and worthy and complete exactly as you are.

Morning routines settle your brain. Whether it’s a routine as full as mine or not … starting your day intentionally creates peace.

From simple things like knowing my laundry is started, the dishwasher is emptied, and the animals are fed FREES my mind to let go of those energy leaks. I know that my basics are taken care of.

I know I’ve made my body sweat.

I know I’ve given my brain the gift of practicing being present.

You deserve to start your day with that peace instead of struggle and stress too.

Prioritize creating a routine that works for you.

You’re whole family will benefit! I promise! When you honor your own needs first thing in the morning … those conversations will flow easier and your desire to connect and listen will increase. The more you learn to love yourself in this life, the more you learn to love your people. It’s science. It’s fact. There’s no other way around it!

Okay … if you want to TRULY commit to massive change in your life – from your relationship with your partner to the dreams you’re going after … it starts with your relationship with yourself.

If that is out of order, the rest will fall apart.

Coaching helped me to heal and know how to manage my mind to create the results I want… and I know it can help you too. Reach out to me and let’s take your relationship AND your life to the highest level it can be!  You don’t have to do it alone. It’s more fun with a coach …. And I’ll help you see the blind spots that are making consistency so difficult.

You can book a free consultation at rachaelcunningham.com to learn more.

And one more thing … If you are a creative professional … whether that’s an entrepreneur or an artist … if you’re someone who has dreams still on the table and you’re not sure how to make time for them without ruining the rest of your life and relationships in the process … I want to welcome you to The Workshop my husband and I are teaching NEXT week!  You’re gonna learn our plan to help you accomplish your dreams and goals AND to REVEL in the journey the whole way there!

Go to rachaelcunningham.com/bigmagic to sign up.

It’s free. And you DON’T want to miss it!

I can’t wait to introduce you all to Cris! He’s a real treat!

Even if you can’t make it live, sign up so you can get the replay!

Have an incredible week, friends! And start working on those morning routines that set you up for success the rest of the day!

Enjoy the Show?