5 Ways to Reclaim Your Mornings

Morning Routine

When life gets crazy, the first things to go are the non-essentials.

Usually those are the things that we do to take care of ourselves, but can do without. We think if we skip the healthy meals that take longer to create, yoga classes, time to be creative or active, and slow mornings that we can stay on top of the crazy. It sounds good logistically, but the truth is that we can better manage the crazy if we are taking good care of ourselves.

If your mornings have turned to mush and your snooze button, coffee, and everyone else comes first, it’s time to reclaim your mornings.

Bringing back my morning routine

I am bringing back my morning routine. It didn’t really go anywhere, rather I went somewhere. I went to Italy and Qatar. I came home and tried to catch up. Then I stumbled and got sad. Somewhere in between all of that, my morning routine slipped away.

Luckily, as I explained for this awesome series: the Soul Rich List, I’ve gotten by with only a slice of my routine lately to keep me centered each day. But now I need more. I need a full hour or more of meditating, moving, and writing every morning before breakfast, before dog walks, and before email, to nourish my body, mind and soul.

Don’t you feel better when you start your day with intention and direction instead of chaos and distraction?

5 Ways to Reclaim Your Mornings

1. Gratitude stretch. Before you get out of bed, think of three things you are grateful for. Say them out loud or to yourself as you stretch your arms overhead and your toes to the end of the bed.

2. Drink water first. Instead of coffee or tea, or even breakfast, drink a big glass of water. Then decide what comes next.

3. Ignore email. Take a mini digital sabbatical for your first hour awake. Without the distraction of Facebook updates or email from your boss, you can start your day on your own terms.

4. Go outside. Start your day with fresh air, and sunshine on your face.

5. Go inside. Sit quietly and reflect, meditate, or pray your way. After a few minutes, ask this question, “How am I?” Then listen and answer. That may lead to more questions and answers, but taking the time to ask yourself is really helpful, or at least it has been for me.

A consistent morning routine can …

  • fuel your creativity
  • strengthen your muscles
  • quiet your mind
  • soothe your soul
  • help you focus
  • make you more loving and lovable

The best thing about a morning routine is that you can start anytime and you can always come back to it. If you are ready for more energy, clarity and love, trade your snooze button for a morning routine.


  1. says

    My mornings are very special to me too, Courtney. I never fail to meditate and sometimes I write in my journal. I would also like to spend a bit of time in nature and these lovely muscles could use some stretching. I could definitely expand into a fuller practice too. Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. says

    Love this post. I have a terrible habit of checking my phone as soon as I wake up. I need to make a point of just leaving it out of the bedroom. I know I need to make a small goal of getting on my mat and opening my notebook. If I just do those two things, the rest will follow! Thanks for breaking it down for us.

  3. says

    “Don’t you feel better when you start your day with intention and direction instead of chaos and distraction?” – a big YES to this Courtney and truth be known, my own little morning routine has been thrown of kilter this week. All it takes is the kids getting sick or a late night or two and my morning practice is the first thing to suffer.

    Your suggestion of having just a slice of what we need to sustain us, really can be enough until the opportunity arises again, to get back on track.

    Thank you for your generous submission to the Soul Rich List and for mentioning it here on your site.

  4. Robbie Biyani says

    I wonder about this a bit. Yes, I’m an early riser but to be tied to a rigid routine that I must follow is itself stressful. I do what pleases me in my early mornings, and it seems to vary every day. Even checking email makes me feel good. I think I like flexibility. Yet, maintaining a practice of doing what’s good for us is important to me and your suggestion to keep it up, even with a thin slice, is wonderful. I particularly like #1 and #5 on your list. To each their own! May God continue to bless your work.

  5. says

    My morning routine does tend to depend if it is term time or school holidays! That notwithstanding I write in my journal (just a paragraph or two not an essay); three things in my gratitude journal and read that day’s entry from my Bible reading commentary. All accompanied by a large mug of black tea.

    Then and only then I check emails and start to map out the list for the day. I have an uncalendar which I love and a rolling list of things I would like to do (from the essential to the whistful) so I can plan a practical or a more playful day.

    I sometimes write morning pages (see Julia Cameron – The Artist’s Way). And there is a lovely little bit on my uncalendar where I can keep track of a number of “essentials” for each day. Currently they are Morning Routine, Meditate, Walk, Read, Make, Blog, Tarot practice and declutter. I colour in a box for each day and can see at a glance if I am falling behind on something.

    Walks and meditations are afternoon things for me. So much so, that the dogs wait in the kitchen when I wash up my lunchplate. They know what is coming next!

  6. says

    Things are a little crazy in the morning. I’m doing my best to reclaim my mornings. Thanks for the reminder.

  7. says

    I’ve been drinking 2 big cups of water first thing in the morning in my favorite chair and it really has made a difference in the way I feel! I never realized how thirsty my body as after a night’s sleep.

  8. says

    Thanks for the post. I’m trying to get back into my morning routine! I find that if I wake before the kids, I can get into the right mindset, but if I snooze and wait for the kids to wake me up…oh dear, I seem to be on the back foot for the rest of the morning. Reminding myself of this fact drives me from my bed when the alarm goes off.

    Another little trick I use is to put my alarm close enough to be audible, but far enough away that I actually have to get out of bed and take several steps to turn it off. That seems to rouse me from my sleep sufficiently and makes it less likely that I crawl back under the covers!

  9. Daniel says

    Do you have any morning advice for parents who may need to get not only themselves ready in the morning, but a whole family, including a commute to the sitter and on to work, all in time for 7:45am? Not trying to sound like a pessimist, I would genuinely like to know how a person living more of an average lifestyle can attain this type of zen morning.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Great question Daniel. That can definitely be more challenging. I think they key is to start small. Aim for a 10 minute morning routine before everyone wakes up, or if the kids are old enough, encourage a tiny morning routine for them too. (doing things they love). Then start to look for other possibilities. Can you go into work later one or two days a week. Is there space to wake up earlier? Can you develop a routine that serves you during the lunch hour.

      Once you start to find little pockets, you be encouraged to consider bigger changes. At least that’s how things unfolded for me. Hope that helps!

      • Daniel says

        Thanks for your reply. Yes I agree, even a 10 minute morning would be very nice, and still realistic. As for going into work later, sadly it’s not that flexible, and the lunch “hour” is 30 minutes, sometimes 0.

        It’s nice to get reply on this sort of question, with a more realistic look at possible ways to achieve this sort of downtime, in one way or another. Setting the alarm clock slightly earlier every few days would be a nice step too. Even the end goal of getting up 30 minutes earlier could open new possibilities.

        • Nicola says

          I too have struggled with morning routine, if I try and get up any earlier (I get up at 6), my kids hear the stairs creaking and wake up! I now start my morning routine when I get to work (this may not be an option if your work is full on from the minute you arrive). I drop the kids at school at 7.20, get to work and keep my office door shut for 10 mins while I have a cup of tea, write in my diary and decide what my 3 most important tasks for the day are going to be. Can you have a five minute break every hour and go for a walk outside? It helps to clear my head if I can do that. Good luck!