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A Bare Minimum Morning Routine for Absolute Beginners

If you’ve found your way to Morning Human, chances are you’re already feeling pretty overwhelmed most mornings. And if starting a whole new morning routine feels like just another chore, we’re here to tell you it doesn’t have to be. If you’ve got 15 minutes, you can start doing yourself a world of good as soon as tomorrow with a simple morning routine.

We spend a lot of time exploring creative and unique additions to our morning routines, but if you’re just starting out, keeping it super simple is actually the best way to go. For a bare minimum but effective morning routine, focus on the Three Ms

Morning Sunshine 
Mindfulness 
Movement

Now, let’s break these down so there’s zero guesswork involved.

Morning Sunshine

Morning sunshine is a proven, natural mood booster; early a.m. sunlight exposure has been linked to improved mood and energy levels. The reason lies in the sunlight’s ability to increase the production of serotonin, a mood-lifting neurotransmitter in our brain. 

simple morning routine

Incorporating this practice into a simple morning routine, like taking a short walk or enjoying a cup of coffee outside in the early hours, can improve our overall health and mood. If it’s absolutely freezing out or raining cats and dogs, sit close to a window where natural light is coming in and enjoy your coffee there. Even a little bit of time in natural light can offer big rewards.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness, a concept deeply rooted in meditation and awareness, has emerged as a powerful tool for enhancing mood and overall health. This ancient practice, now embraced in modern psychology and wellness circles, involves focusing one’s attention on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations without judgment. 

simple morning routine

The list of benefits from this practice could fill a book, but here are a few that may make it worth your while. Research indicates that mindfulness can significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. By promoting a state of relaxation and reducing stress, it helps in regulating emotions, leading to improved mood and mental clarity. This is likely due to its impact on the brain’s amygdala, which is involved in processing emotions, and the prefrontal cortex, which manages higher-order brain functions like concentration and decision-making.

Some people are intimidated by this piece, but you don’t have to be a Zen master to practice mindfulness every morning. Mindfulness can take the form of journaling for five minutes or jotting down a few things you’re grateful for. You can do a guided meditation from an app or do some breathing exercises on your own. The goal here is to really clear your mind of noise and focus on something calming or restorative. Try to be present, not perfect. 

Movement

Get More Bang for Your Morning Buck

simple morning routine

Each of these three practices offers unique and valuable mental and physical benefits, but the best thing about them may be that they all work so well together. If you’re strapped for time in the morning (and come on, who isn’t?), they are so easy to combine into one simple morning routine. You can set aside a mere 15 minutes and still check all three boxes. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Go on a 15-minute walk in a nearby park and listen to a walking meditation track
  • Sit in the sunlight on your porch and journal for a few minutes, then finish with five minutes of light stretching
  • Take your dog for a walk around the block, then come home and jot down a few things you’re grateful for

Starting your day with these simple morning routine practices can make a significant difference in how you feel and function. Remember, the key is to keep it easy, enjoyable, and consistent. Embrace the morning sunshine, practice mindfulness, and engage in movement to connect to your calmer, happier self before you tackle the day ahead. 

If you’ve got a simple morning routine combo that hits all three Ms, share it in the comments below!

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12 Comments

  1. I love how you break this down and really simplify it! It can be so overwhelming to try to add one more thing to the day, even if I know it will help in the long run. But your suggestions make it seem so much more manageable to get started! I also love how you use the phrase “present not perfect” when you talk about mindfulness—such a good reminder.

    1. Perfection is the enemy of so many things, especially morning routines. As long as I’m showing up for myself, it doesn’t really matter how I do it. That makes a morning routine so much easier to stick to.

  2. I’ve never heard of walking meditations but that sounds amazing! Getting a couple of things done at the same time/in the same time block sounds like a really good way to get into the habit!

    1. Oh they’re great! Most meditation apps have a few walking meditation tracks. You can also just focus on your breathing while walking, or pay attention to a particular color and see how many times you spot it. Anything to keep you present in the walk.

  3. Thanks for helping me to think more about my morning routine! As someone who does commute to work, in the dark half of the year, my routine definitely looks different. But these were great ideas!

    1. So glad you found the post helpful. If you’re getting up in the dark a lot, I do recommend looking into a sunrise alarm clock. It’s really made a difference in my winter mornings.

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