I’ve been an early riser for as long as I can remember. I wake up at 5am on most mornings thanks to some internal clock that I can’t seem to do anything about. When I was younger, I viewed this trait as a curse because it meant that I couldn’t sleep-in no matter how late I stayed up the night before. Now though, I am so grateful for this internal alarm because it gives me a solid hour and a half of what feels like extra time in my day.
Over the years, I’ve used this extra time in a variety of ways. Some helpful ways (reading and praying) some not so helpful ways (doomscrolling). I’ve always strived to manage some kind of routine, but historically, I never stick with any set plan for very long. For the past few months though, I’ve settled on a pretty solid routine that feels like something that I want to stick with. I know this routine may change as I do, but for now this routine is giving me a good foundation for the rest of my day.
Here is what I do in the morning:
I play soft Christian inspirational music on Spotify.
While my Keurig is heating up, I turn on the Christian Instrumental Chill playlist on Spotify. I’ve only recently discovered the magic that is a good Spotify playlist, and this soft, slow music has a way of giving me a sense of peace as I start my day. Even while I’m making my coffee and taking my vitamins, this music puts my heart in the right place for the first hour of my morning. This seems like such a simple thing to do (and it is), but it goes along way in starting my day off right.
I sip on my coffee and sit in stillness.
In the Fall of 2020, I read something (somewhere) about the power of silence and stillness. I have long resisted silence and stillness–even the thought of it brings on a certain amount of anxiety. In the past few months though, I have come to embrace these quiet moments before I do anything else. I sip on my hot coffee, and listen to my instrumental music playing softly in the background. Sometimes, I have something in particular on my mind, but most days I just enjoy sitting quietly for a few minutes. If for no other reason, starting my day this slowly reminds me that nothing is so urgent that I need to rush after it at 5:10am.
I read the Divine Hours.
I have struggled with prayer for most of my adult life. Some people seem to pray as naturally as they breath. I do not fall under this category. I struggle with my words, what to pray for, and if I’m praying long enough to get God’s attention. I get distracted while I’m praying, and for many years, I have felt like I flat-out fail at this part of my spiritual practice. A few years ago, I stumbled upon Phyllis Tickle’s Divine Hours series of books, and they have transformed my prayer life. I know that liturgical prayers are not for everyone, but they have helped me turn a corner in my spiritual life. No longer do I worry about having the right words to say. Instead, these prayers allow me to just focus on talking to God. This only takes a few minutes, but it serves as a foundation for the rest of my morning routine.
I read the Daily Office.
I recently purchased a Liturgical based Planner from Sacred Ordinary Days, and it has also served to enhance my morning routine. I start with reading the selections from The Daily Office. I’ve completed a number of Bible reading plans over the years, and I’m so enjoying these Daily Office readings which include a reading from the Psalms as well as readings in the Gospels and the Epistles. I feel like the readings give me a broad range of Scripture each morning, but are short enough that I can keep a strong focus and connection with what I am reading.
I plan my day and set my priorities.
This section deserves its own post, but after I read Scripture, I plan my day. I use the Powersheets from Cultivate What Matters as a basis for establishing my monthly goals, and then I use my Sacred Ordinary Days Planner to break my goals down into weekly and then daily formats. Again, this takes a few minutes of intentional effort, but at the end of this short period of focused attention, I have a solid plan for the day that aligns with the goals I have set for the month and for the week. As an aside, it has taken me a long time to figure out how to transfer my big life goals into daily rhythms, and the tools I mention here have been invaluable to me in this process.
I write for five minutes.
As someone who is trying to write with a bit more intention, I have found the idea of Morning Pages to be of great benefit to me. I stumbled upon Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages method last year, and it has already added great value to my morning routine. I’m sure I’m breaking all the traditional rules for this, but I set my timer and free-write for five minutes each morning. When I first started this practice, I feared that I wouldn’t have anything to write, but as it turns out, that has never been an issue. I always have something on my mind, and getting it down on paper has proven to be a way for me to get a deeper look at what I’m dealing with internally. There is something powerful about seeing my innermost thoughts in black and white that make them more manageable somehow. I’m so grateful for this simple practice that adds so much to my mornings.
I read to learn something new.
I spend at least 10 minutes each morning reading something with the intention of learning something or growing in my faith. Sometimes these books/readings are spiritual in nature, and other times they are more focused around some other aspect or area of my life that I want to learn more about. I am always trying to learn and grow, and even if I can only squeeze in 10 minutes for this in the morning, it always feels worth it.
If you have stumbled across this post, I’d love to know–what do you do in the mornings? Do you have a routine or a practice that gets your day off to a good start?