Build Stability With Morning Routines: How Therapy Can Help
Our lives can feel unpredictable, with change-- both expected and unexpected-- threatening to shake our foundation at any moment. Each one of us can build more stability and consistency into our days by creating a morning routine. A morning routine can anchor us to continuity and stability despite swirling chaos, upset, grief, excitement, change. A well kept routine creates a through-line in life to hold onto even when other areas inevitably become disturbed.
Customization: Building stability with morning routines that fit you
Even a short, simple morning routine can serve many purposes, and is completely customizable. It can consist of just one activity, or a small series of activities. The key is to create a ritual for yourself that you can do anywhere (in your home, on a business trip, on vacation), requires little or no equipment, takes under ten minutes, and is completely within your control.
That last part-- within your control-- is why routines can be so grounding. For most people, much of our daily life feels beyond our control. We have managers at work, obligations at home, and countless other rules and structures which we have little power to choose and which govern much of our existence. We feel like reeds in the wind, blown to and fro by changes or disturbances.
Agency: Building stability with morning routines that you control
Making a daily routine is a way to affirm that there are times and places we can exercise our agency and seize control of a few precious minutes for ourselves before we tend to other things. Each day, you get to build in a ritual of self-care before you turn to the many pressures and obligations of life. You don’t need anybody’s permission, approval, or help to do it. You just make a small promise to yourself --ten minutes or less helps this promise to feel manageable-- and follow through.
How to start building stability with a new morning routine: A Therapy Exercise
First, set your alarm tomorrow for 15 minutes (just 15!) earlier than usual. This gives you 5 extra minutes to do any light personal care (like washing your face or getting a glass of water) before settling in for your brief routine.
Next, figure out where you want to do your routine. A pillow on the floor of your bedroom? The living room before the family is up? The porch? The key qualities are: close, easy, quiet, alone. These qualities help a ritual of self care feel more grounding and beneficial, while remaining approachable.
That’s the when and the where. Now-- what will YOUR specific morning routine look like? Here, you get to decide what gift you want to give yourself for ten minutes each day to help build more stability. You might choose:
Journaling to cultivate self-knowledge and understanding. Journaling might look like: stream of consciousness writing to assess your current mood and stressors; a gratitude list; setting intentions for the day ahead.
Meditation to cultivate calm and emotional flexibility. This could be silent or guided, or in a faith tradition.
Reading a daily reflection or inspirational book to cultivate awareness and intention. Perhaps a short reading from a self-help book related to personal development, or one of the many excellent daily readers available on codependency, recovery from addiction, mindfulness, or emotional growth. Spend a few moments contemplating how the reading relates to your own daily life. Many find it helpful to avoid the news or anything too directly related to work-- this is about cultivating a space under your own control, not doing unpaid labor or increasing anxiety about national or global events you cannot change.
Prayer to cultivate connection with your higher power, God, or the universe.
Gentle yoga, self-massage, or stretching to cultivate connection to the body. Try to avoid activities that trigger self-criticism, focusing instead on ones that encourage appreciation and positive feelings of affection towards your physical self.
Options For How You Build Stability With A Highly Customized Morning Routine
Your customized ritual can consist of one or more of these options.Tech-free can be useful to help remain in the present moment, though there are options for guided meditations or yoga practices online which many find helpful. Consistency is nice, but feel free to do something slightly different each day or to shift it in ways that are nourishing to you. There is no ‘perfect’ routine; check in with yourself every week or so about how it’s working for you and if you want to change up how you spend your ten quiet minutes each morning. Having a morning routine is a practice, and a practice can evolve to suit our needs.
You are in charge. No matter what life throws your way, you can create a ritual that will give you the stability and control you crave. The most important part of the morning routine, the heart and soul of it, is committing to ten minutes each day to be with yourself and meet your own needs. To speak to a therapist at the Center for Growth who can help you develop stability with routines that fit you call 215 922 5683 x 100 or self schedule online.