How I Created the Perfect Morning Self Care Routine
Morning is the ideal time for self care. You’re fresh and rejuvenated, and the day’s tasks haven’t had a chance to throw you off track yet. Whether it takes 15 minutes or two hours, a good morning self care routine can set the stage for a successful day.
While my exact routine likely won’t work for you, I’m hoping that by sharing it and the reasoning behind each step, I'll inspire you to create your own morning self care routine that fits your needs and schedule, and helps you feel great all day long.
Wake up slowly
Productivity gurus will tell you to jump out of bed as soon as you wake up. It might be great advice for some people, but it just doesn’t work for me. I did it for years because I thought I had to if I wanted to be productive, and I always ended up feeling awful for most of the day.
I use my “wake-up” time to stretch, play a simple game to wake up my brain, and drink some water. (If you prefer cold water like I do, fill this tumbler with ice water before you go to bed and it will still be cool in the morning.)
Advice you get from smart people can be useful, but once you’ve given it a few weeks (or years, in my case), don’t be afraid to do your own thing if that advice doesn’t turn out to be right for you.
Breakfast + quality time
Once I’m up, it’s time for breakfast. I have no appetite in the morning, but I know I’ll feel better if I eat something, so I have an apple and a cup of this tea from Sloane.
Since my husband also tends to work late, this is often the only time during the week that we get to talk about things not related to chores and errands. We make an effort to put aside our phones for these few minutes and focus on each other while we eat.
While I may do yoga or strength training later in the day, in the morning I want something mindless and gentle. I do an hour of walking, cycling, or rowing at a rate of perceived exertion (RPE) of about 4.
Moving at a “tonic level” of exercise, which means an RPE that you enjoy and that makes you feel good, increases the likelihood that you’ll stick with it over the long term, and also stimulates your vagus nerve, helping to reduce stress and inflammation in the body.
This is a recent addition to my routine (the cold part, that is). I’ve been reading about the benefits of cold therapy and decided to give it a shot. I do my usual shower routine (this Faerhaven soap is a staple) and then turn the tap to cold for the last two minutes. I’m impressed by how great it makes me feel! Calm, refreshed, and energetic.
Contrary to what you might imagine, you don’t have to jump right in to the cold - you can take your time getting used to it first. Start with a hand, then an arm, then the other arm, a foot, then a leg, then the other leg. Splash a bit on your chest and back, and then step in and enjoy.
When my skin feels soft, smooth, and protected, I feel good. This is the shortest part of my morning routine, believe it or not. I switch up the products I use a lot (can you blame me when I’m surrounded by so many beautiful brands?), but the steps are always the same - cleanser, toner, serum, eye cream, moisturizer, SPF. (I’ve linked to the products I’m currently using.)
Ready to get started with your morning self care routine? Here are three things to consider while you do:
Begin with the end in mind
What do you want out of your morning routine? More calm? More energy? Stronger focus? Better health? While any good morning routine will give you a bit of all of these things, it helps to know which is your top priority when you’re choosing specific activities.
While it can be tempting to create an elaborate routine that encompasses everything you want to be doing, a new habit is more likely to stick if you start small. My own morning routine started just with an apple, a cup of tea, and a few minutes of quality time with my husband. Start with a simple activity, and build step by step from there once the first activity has become a habit.
You might not land on the perfect routine right away. Experiment with different options until you find the right fit. And remember that circumstances and people change - what works well now might be wrong for you a year from now. Reevaluate every 3 to 6 months and adjust as needed.
Take care of yourself,
Debra Purdy is the owner of ShopEco, a beauty and self care boutique located in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Her mission is to help you thrive through self care you can feel good about. For more self care tips delivered to your inbox and a special birthday treat, click here to subscribe.