Never Give Up: Notes on Establishing a Morning Routine


These words are going to be on my mind a lot lately as I try to transition into some more solid routines and some better living habits—specifically morning and evening. For now, I'll focus on how I want to change up those first few hours of the day.

I would say I'm not a morning person but I don't necessarily think that's true or the right words to use since I do get up everyday at 7am. I've been doing so for many years now. Once Rico is off on his way to work, he wakes me up to say bye and I let that moment be the start of my day (and I absolutely love it). It does take me some time to let my mind and body adjust though. I'm not the best when it comes to transitioning from relaxed to getting up and going. So—I definitely can not jump into anything right away in the morning. I've had times of thinking "I'm going to get up and get right to it so I can get as much done in my day as possible." The truth is though, if those aren't my mind's prime working hours, my work isn't going to shine during that time either.

Through the years, I've developed what I'll call an "accidental routine," a routine that naturally fell into place without thinking of what it means and how it was beneficial. I just get up, check phone/email/social accounts, watch the previous day's Ellen episode (anyone else obessed? she's my hero #thankgodforslingbox #getellyonthetelly), have breakfast and tea while I read my favorite blogs, and then jump in to work! I've realized this accounts for a whole lot of screen time and not a whole lot of creating to get my brain in a good state to jump into work.

Today. Today was a new day. A new week. Time to change things up and readjust.

My initial plan was to have absolutely no screen time until 9am—giving me two hours. I quickly realized already that just doesn't make sense for the way my life works. I kept reading everyone talking about putting their phones down for those hours and I think that's a beautiful thing. Really. There is so much addiction to technology and there needs to be those times where its away. I'm a firm believer in that. It can't be the center of our lives but I'm going to let Amy Poehler speak for a second here, "Good for you, not for me."

Hear me out before it starts to sound like I'm just making an excuse. Being in a whole different country and timezone from your friends and family isn't easy. When I go to bed, they are still enjoying a good portion of their day so its exciting for me to wake up from texts, emails, notes, and pictures from them. That helps me create a positive start. So I've already called for a readjustment. Instead of a strict no screen time, I've decided I will allow myself a once hop around on my phone to check in and then its off and no screen time begins. I will not linger on social media or even get myself involved in responding to anything business related. This "screen time" is all about keeping up to date with my loved ones. With those rules, I still enjoy a good amount of time away from the screen—it barely makes a dent into my morning and is a whole lot less than my accidental routine.

Here's my new routine currently:

  • 7am wake up by Rico
  • I get up, stretch
  • Time to check in with loved ones
  • Read a chapter of my current book
  • Breakfast & time to create

Along with my change of routine, I am challenging myself to making one illustration or hand lettered piece a day. I've also switched out the hour of watching Ellen to time for reading. Ellen will now move to the end of my day. And here is the one other adjustment I am making—I am not setting a time limit on my routine. For me, it creates an unnecessary worry and I want to be able to go with what I feel. I want to be able to listen to what my mind and body wants. When I am done with whatever I am creating each morning, I am done with my routine. This morning it was 9:30am giving me 2.5 hours in my new slow morning routine. Here's a closer look:

  • Woke up at 7am by Rico
  • I got up, stretched
  • I caught up with my loved ones lives
  • Read a chapter in Wild
  • Had granola with milk for breakfast
  • And made a illustrated and hand lettered doodle
    (I used a section of it for today's post. Yeah, that picture up there ^ is from this morning!)

I know I will continue to readjust but today I was proud of myself. I made some really positive changes and momentum to go on and continue forward. I also allowed myself to step back to remember that each of us are unique. What is good for one person, isn't always good for another. We need to carve our own routines, paths, and lives.

I'll be sure to continue to update you all on how I am creating a more intentional and whole day. With no excuses. And no giving up. For now, follow along with my morning doodles on Instagram under #soamorningseries.

What's your favorite part of your morning routine? Let us know! We would love to hear!