Self-care is a protest. Productivity culture tells us that work should be our main priority, which makes it hard to relax and put ourselves first. In fact, it’s become aspirational. Research by the Columbia Business School showed busyness to be a status symbol. But for 2021, I am begging for the “self-care = vanity” narrative to retire.
This is where the importance of morning routines come into play. For those of us who have jobs that start early and go late or have little ones to care for and a household to manage, creating time for ourselves may sound ridiculous.
All I am suggesting is a simple four-step morning routine to help your day run smoothly.
Step One: Drink up
Keep a cup of water on your bedside table for an early-morning quench. As soon as your alarm goes off, it is water time.
Water is essential to health, Mayo Clinic reports. Staying hydrated can help regulate body temperature, protect organs and tissues, carry nutrients and oxygen to cells and flush out waste.
Step Two: Namaste
After you finish your water, it is time for a quick stretch. According to a study performed at San Diego State University, stretching in the morning can help increase blood flow, which helps jumpstart your body as you begin the day.
Starting your day off with a short yoga flow or pilates stretching can prepare you for the day ahead. What’s more, it can be a sacred time for you before waking up the kids for school or zooming into work.
Step Three: Unplug
As the pandemic has gone on, it has been difficult to avoid staring at our devices. With many of us working remotely, we rely solely on our computers and smartphones to get us through the work day.
Instead of starting off your day by reading the news on your phone or scrolling through TikTok, instead try a guided meditation from Headspace or journaling. Studies have shown meditation can help with physical and mental health disorders and can help to recommit yourself to be at your best.
Northwestern Medicine recommends journaling to keep track of thoughts, feelings and experiences. Research posits that journaling can improve happiness and work to manage anxiety and reduce stress.
Step Four: Enjoy the day
The three steps above can be performed in 10 to 30 minutes or in whatever way suits your day best. While 2020 may finally be over, making 2021 seem like a new year during a pandemic can be difficult. Starting by changing up your morning routine is just a small step to create a brighter future for yourself and the remainder of 2021.