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The Creative Girl’s Guide to a Good Morning Routine

Morning routines are all the rage these days. It seems like everyone is meditating, working out, stretching, dry brushing, making smoothies, setting intentions, and trying to be a more productive human, all before 8 am. Here at Zappy Dots, we’re all for anything that sets your day up for success, happiness, and creativity. BUT we also believe that a morning routine should make your life easier, rather than just adding another bunch of items to your task list.

With that in mind, we bring you our creative girl’s guide to morning routines. Even if you’re not typically a morning person, you can design a morning routine that sparks creativity and inspiration and one that works with your lifestyle, personality, and schedule. We’ll share some of our favorite ways to start the day and give you plenty of ideas for creating your ideal morning.

Young woman reading and journaling in bed

Why We Love Morning Routines

Mindset – Have you ever had one of those days where something goes wrong immediately, and it seems to set a frustrating tone for the rest of the day? Us too. Fortunately, it also works the other way around. When you start your day with things that make you feel good, it can set the tone for a good morning and a great day.

Mindfulness – It can be easy to get lost in the shuffle of a busy morning. When you’re juggling a growing business or demanding job, kids’ activities, appointments, and relationships, you’re always thinking about the next thing that needs to be done. A morning routine can help you to center and focus on the present, so all those worries about the future don’t occupy so much of your mental space.

Productivity – It feels great to tackle those tasks that you never seem to have time for, or the ones that are weighing on you because they’ve been sitting on your to-do list forever. A morning routine can be a great way to knock some of those out, making you feel productive and creating momentum that will carry through the rest of your day.

Reset Intentions – Without a clear intention for the day, it can feel like you’re spinning your wheels and getting carried along by life’s events. A morning routine allows you to set intentions and goals for the day, giving you a great sense of purpose and allowing you to stay focused on what’s most important to you.

Steaming mug and pink pen on open journal in a bed

Questions to Help You Create Your Ideal Morning Routine:

One of the best things about morning routines is that they’re individual. Contrary to popular belief, you do not HAVE to focus on typical wellness practices. Although there’s nothing wrong with adding some physical activity, a glass of water, and some healthy food to your morning, we actually prefer to focus on thoughts, mindset, and doing things that spark creativity. The point is, you’ll need to create a routine that works for you. So how do you figure out what that looks like? Here are some questions to ask yourself.

What energizes me and makes me feel ready for the day?

If you feel energized when you wake up early and spend some quiet time alone with your thoughts, you might try starting your day with mediation or journaling. If you get your energy from external stimulation and being around others, you’ll want to consider things like listening to your favorite upbeat music or a fun group exercise class.

What areas do I want to focus on today?

Many morning routines are focused on aspects of wellness, but a morning routine doesn’t have to include these things. You can also choose to focus on spending time with your family or doing some household chores first thing in the morning, so you don’t need to do them in the evening. Your morning routine also doesn’t have to look the same every day. You can change your focus as your needs and priorities change.

What makes me feel my best in the morning?

Think about what makes you feel empowered and inspired to take on the day. Maybe you feel your best when you choose a great outfit that expresses your individuality. Or perhaps your morning coffee is more of an essential ritual than a beverage. You can get inspired by reading your favorite quotes or start your day laughing at some funny animal videos. Anything that makes you feel great can be a part of your routine.

Woman holding "My Life Journal" and pen in bed

Morning Habits for Productivity and Creativity

Ready to get started creating your morning routine and need some ideas for what to include? Here are a few of our favorite morning routine activities to get you started.

Gratitude Practice – If you’re looking to improve your overall happiness, a gratitude practice is a great place to start, because it forces you to focus on what’s good. Start your morning by making a list of the people and things you’re thankful for, your recent successes, and the things you’re looking forward to.

Journaling – Journaling is such a great creative practice because it’s so versatile. Use your journal to reflect on how you’re feeling, plan your day, or jot down your hopes and dreams for the future. Or take some advice from the classic book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and include the practice of Morning Pages. If you’ve never heard of Morning Pages, you can find some great information in this article.

Visualization Exercises – The great thing about visualization is that it allows you to practice for the outcomes that you want before you even begin your day. Think about what you have planned for the day – who you’ll be interacting with and what you need to accomplish. Then focus on how you want to feel during these activities and ask yourself what it would look like if everything turned out in the best possible way.

Stimulate Your Creativity – After your mind and body are refreshed from a good night’s sleep, it’s a great time to let those creative juices flow. Work on some drawing, painting, or other artistic activities, sing or dance, or try tackling a problem you’ve been working on with brainstorming session.

Write a To-Do List – Nothing makes us feel like we have our life together like having our daily task list ready to go. Take a few minutes in the morning to get the day’s tasks down on paper and you can relax, knowing that you won’t forget anything important. (Looking for a to-do list to spark your creativity? Check out our colorful Planner Pads here!)

Imagination Prompts – Ever heard of an imagination prompt? If not, you’re missing out on one of our favorite creative tools and a great addition to your morning routine. Imagination prompts are quick and fun exercises that invite you to dabble in all kinds of things designed to spark your creativity. From artistic visual creations to whimsical writing, there’s something for everyone and every skill level. In fact, we love these so much that we’ve created a weekly series of Zappy Dots Confetti and Cake imagination prompts for you to try.

If you’re looking for even more to add to your list, this morning routine checklist has tons of great ideas.

A Morning Routine to Fit Any Schedule

What if you want to create a morning routine but you’ve only got 10 minutes? No problem! Just use the time you have, and don’t stress about it. Rest assured that your morning routine doesn’t have to take 2 hours to be beneficial. Below we have three examples of how you can build a morning routine to fit different schedules.

A Morning Routine in Minutes

Morning routine hand turning off alarm clock

On those super busy days when you only have time for the essentials, pick 2-3 short activities that will set you up for success for the day. Here’s an example:

  • Stretching and/or breathing exercises – 5 minutes
  • Write your daily to-do list – 4 minutes
  • Visualize your ideal day – 3 minutes

The Just-Right Morning Routine

Morning routine writing a to do list

We love those days when we can set aside about 30-35 minutes for our morning routine. It’s just enough time to build in 4-5 beneficial activities without feeling like we’re weighed down with too many morning tasks. Here’s what that might look like:

  • Stretching and/or breathing exercises – 5 minutes
  • Make the bed and straighten the house – 10 minutes
  • Imagination prompts – 10 Minutes
  • Write your daily to-do list – 5 minutes
  • Visualize your ideal day – 5 minutes

The Leisurely Morning Routine

Morning routine going on a walk

On those rare days when you’ve got all the time in the world, it’s great to take your time with a leisurely routine that contains everything you need to start the day in the best possible way. On these days, we like to have a more free-flowing routine, rather than planning everything out in advance. But if you prefer a plan, here’s an example. There are no time limits on this one – just go with what feels right!

  • Stretching and/or breathing exercises – 5 minutes
  • Take a walk outside – 30 minutes
  • Relax with your cup of coffee or tea – 10 minutes
  • Make the bed and straighten the house – 10 minutes
  • Play with kids or pets – 20 minutes
  • Imagination prompts – 10 Minutes
  • Write your daily to-do list – 5 minutes
  • Visualize your ideal day – 5 minutes

And there you have our complete guide to morning routines! As you can see, it doesn’t have to be stressful or time-consuming to create a morning routine, and your routine doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. The point is to take what works for you and have fun with it, so try it yourself and create something that you’ll look forward to each morning!

Keep Track of Your Morning Routine — and Everything Else!

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