Let’s Build a Morning Routine

Expat Life

January 21, 2021

I’ve been seeing the ‘5am Morning Routine’ trend going around on YouTube where people share their productive morning routines on their channels. I used to be all about waking up early and setting the tone of my day with a healthy morning routine, but I have to say that this hasn’t really happened over the past few months. If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know that I’m attending my first year of college virtually with a 9 hour time difference, so it’s been a bit difficult to keep normal routines!

If there’s one thing that I learnt from my first semester of college is that I need a good routine to feel relaxed and productive in the morning. Because of my late classes, I would often wake up late feeling rushed and not really take the time to eat a nutritious breakfast or set intentions for the day – it was just wake up and stress. Now that I’ll be at home with the time difference for yet another semester, I’m really going to place an emphasis on creating a morning routine that works for me.

Why are morning routines important?

There is a lot of research on why a morning routine important, and for me it helps me wake up and feel relaxed. When I fill my morning routine with things that make me feel happy, I feel less stressed about the day and usually end up being more productive. Setting a morning routine doesn’t mean that you have to wake up at 5am and run 10 miles – I definitely won’t be doing that with my college timings – but it just means that you follow a pattern of activities that set up your morning the way you want it.

One of the main reasons morning routines are so important is because they can make you feel relaxed. When you manage your day effectively in the morning, you can avoid those feelings of stress and anxiety that you get from running around trying to get everything together last minute. With a planned out routine that you practice each day, you’ll feel much more put together and calm about the day ahead.

Another reason that morning routines are so important is because they take away some of the stress of decision making for the rest of the day. When we follow a routine that puts us in a good mood for the morning, we’re more fresh and focused and can better work on the tasks ahead, increasing our productivity.

All in all, morning routines help us set a mood for the rest of the day which affects not only our productivity in work but also affects our emotional wellbeing.

How do I build a morning routine?

Most of us probably already have a morning routine without being intentional about it. Even if your morning routine is waking up, grabbing a piece of toast, and heading out the door, that’s still a routine if you do it everyday. However, we want to focus on building morning routines that make us feel happy and fulfilled.

Last semester of college my morning routine would consist of waking up, reading through my emails and notifications (which was usually a big stress to start the day) rushing through getting ready and showering, sometimes going to a workout class, and grabbing something quick to eat for breakfast while I started studying as a I always felt behind. I actually wrote a whole blog post detailing it at the time. This was not a healthy routine most days, and I always started the day feeling stressed. This is why, I’m going to plan out a new morning routine this semester filled with activities that help me feel at peace.

I’ve created a free worksheet that will take you through planning your own morning routine that you can download in this post. The sheet gives you a space to list your top priority words for the morning, in other words how do you want to feel? Do you want your routine to help you feel relaxed, productive, connected to your loved ones, or something else? These are the words that will set the mood for the day.

The sheet then asks you to list your morning priorities, so basically the things that you’d like to work into your routine. These can be things like exercising, cooking breakfast, meditating, talking with a friend, or anything else you can think of. Then you can go through the timeline section and fill out each slot according to the activity you’re going to complete. By taking the time to think about each item in your routine, it will feel more intentional and meaningful. I’ve purposely left the time slots blank, so that you can base your morning routine around the time that works for you – no pressure to wake up super early if that doesn’t fit with your lifestyle!

Here’s a little preview of the worksheet

Download your own free copy here

Planning my own morning routine

To give you some inspiration, one of my main goals in building my morning routine is to have a relaxed start to the day. I actually prefer exercising in the evening, so I won’t be putting that into my morning routine, but some of my routine priorities are making sure I eat a healthy breakfast (not just some sugary cereal), limiting how much I use my phone, taking some time to be mindful, and of course having a matcha latte.

Later into the semester I’m planning to share my morning routine with you guys! This whole international student during a pandemic life is not easy, but I’m doing my best to share how I’m coping with you and the things that I’m doing to make the experience better. Let me know if you use this morning routine planning sheet, I’d love to see!

See you next week,

  1. […] few weeks ago I wrote a post about the importance of building a morning routine, and I shared a resource for building your own routine. One of the reasons I decided to write that […]

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