Last year, I would set my morning alarm in exam season to 7:15am, in the baseless hope that maybe this time I wouldn’t hit snooze, repeatedly, in a zombie-like trance, until 10am. No matter how hard I tried, I could not push myself out of bed and into a productive morning routine. If I somehow did, the motivation would fade after a few days of smoothies and power walks. Back to snooze-ridden sleep-ins and bed-head. 

It doesn’t help that, due to online classes and building closures, I don’t actually have anywhere to get up and be. 

So, 2022 I was resolved to make it happen: a healthy, productive morning routine. I wasn’t planning on aiming for Youtube-level perfection, just to be out from under the cozy covers before 9am, hopefully with a coffee in hand. 

Finally getting into a solid routine took repetition and resolution. I wanted to get up in a stable and calm way, especially with exams growing nearer with each passing day. I wanted to optimize my time use and minimize my stress so I could ace my tests and take-homes.

Step one is to outline your routine so you can see your goals clearly. 1) I wanted to wake up everyday before 9am 2) I wanted to spend at least the first hour of my day in warm light, like a sunny walk or writing by a candle, as opposed to the jolting and alarming blue-light of a phone or laptop screen. 3) I wanted to read, write, or draw for at least 10 minutes before doing anything else, just to get my day off to a creative and open-minded start. 

Step two, make it fun! I got a GIANT candle from Ikea for only $6.99, then found a iridescent holder for it at Dollarama. I also picked up some long matches for lighting it and created a jar of writing prompts on little folded up pieces of paper. Writing in front of this little mindfulness station each morning has completely changed the way I greet the day in 2022. I feel more connected to my mind and body when I give myself a moment to catch up in these ways. Journaling, writing down goals in the morning and a gratitude list in the evening, has also been an essential part of my writing ritual. You don’t have to write much, this practice grounds me either way. 

Another way to improve your morning routine is to set yourself up for success the night before. This makes your life more convenient and reduces your chances of cheating. I thaw frozen berries and fruit in a smoothie bullet overnight so that I can have a bright pink, vitamin filled boost in the morning. I lay out my outfits and write to-do lists the night before for the day ahead. If you are lucky enough to actually go somewhere, pack your bag beforehand and queue your walking podcast.

Instead of telling myself I would wake up at 6am, run a quick 10km, write a short novel, and whip up an amateur breakfast buffet all before the sun rises is way too much to put on yourself. Pick attainable goals that you will be proud of achieving. 1) wake up before a certain time, one that will maximize your health and proficiency. 2) Plan out at least your first activity and when you hope to complete this by. 3) breakfast. The productive energy completing these tasks will evolve into motivation throughout the day and into the week. Whether it’s the summer, exam season, or the reading week grind, taking the time to think about your morning routine could change your outlook on the rest of your day. 


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