Your Morning Routine Doesn’t Need to Look Like Everyone Else’s

Making time for self-care in the morning can be essential to your well being, so think about how you want your morning to look and function.

Is your morning routine setting you up to fail?

Mornings can be a special time where we can ground ourselves before the demands of the day take over and pull us off center.

But too often, articles, books, and Instagram posts boast about the superhuman capabilities of the early risers, implying that you, too, can be as successful as they are if you just wake up at 5am.

These ideas fuel our cultural obsession with productivity and self-optimization, where we define ourselves by how little sleep we get and how much we can accomplish. But make no mistake—this is a setup for feeling like a failure, and it can ultimately lead to burnout.

The Fallacy of a Productive Morning

two women doing push upWhat does a healthy morning routine look like?

If you looked at a recent Peloton commercial that’s come under fire, you would think that mornings should be dedicated to an hour-long workout, meditation, and a gourmet meal before you start the workday. Though the company has faced backlash regarding the commercial for a number of reasons, one of the most notable faux pas is that the ad pushes the morning productivity agenda that simply isn’t attainable for everyone.

Not everyone has the space for a 4-mile walk or an hour-long meditation session in the morning. The wealthier among us have resources that can support them in their early morning routines, and those of us who don’t have these resources must make sacrifices elsewhere.

Not everyone has the same biological predisposition, either. Some are naturally early risers. Some (like me) are night owls, and others don’t fit neatly into those patterns at all.

And let’s not forget that there is a tendency for people to present the ideal versions of themselves online versus in real life. What you see isn’t always how things really are, but rather the image that others want you to see.

As a result, seeing others enjoying a productive morning (or struggling to create this perception) can make us feel inadequate if we’re not able to replicate these so-called successes.

Choose to Use Your Mornings Wisely

In a world where people are expected to work 24/7 (or at the very least be available to work around the clock), the solution is not to “optimize” your morning routine, but rather to create a sustainable routine that leaves room for you to be who you are, honor your natural rhythms, connect with yourself and others, and recharge during the day.

woman sleeping on bed next to clockDon’t succumb to self-judgments by striving for something unattainable. Create a morning (or even an afternoon or evening) routine that works for you. It’s healthy to acknowledge that sleep is vital and can have just as much of an impact on your energy levels and your ability to focus and get stuff done as rising early for an hour-long Peloton session.

If you’re inspired by other people’s morning routines, that’s great! But remember to also embrace the realities of your life and create a routine that works for you.

Resources:
The False Promise of Morning Routines
What the Peloton Ad Says About Our Morning Routine Obsession

Felicia Baucom
felicia.conway@gmail.com
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