A Morning Routine to Bring Joy

After dealing with depression and anxiety for many years, self-care moved to the top of my priority list. It didn't take long for me to realize that the key to my happiness was putting myself first in the mornings. I had to learn to slow down, take my schedule less seriously, and leave room for the things that bring me joy. Here are 5 things I've made a part of my morning routine.

1. Calm Alarm
The Bedtime feature on my iPhone has been a lifesaver. I love how I can set my optimal amount of sleep, and it will remind me when to hit the sack. Then it slowly wakes me up in the morning with a gentle sound. If you don't have this feature, I highly suggest finding a calming ringtone or even investing in a specialty alarm clock that will wake you up without the jolt. Don't forget to get at least a full 7 hours of sleep. Otherwise, even the fanciest of alarms will be... well, alarming.

2. A Little Thing
I've learned overtime to value the little things in life. Coffee is one of those things for me. Every morning I make a cup of coffee, but I don't do it mindlessly out of routine. I take my time grinding the beans and inhaling the strong aroma, pouring the water slowly over the grounds, and sipping the tasty cup. The adjectives are important because I truly take in every moment of this seemingly mundane activity. Whether you enjoy a cup of coffee, a cup of tea, or catching up on the news spend some time each morning really relishing in the experience.

3. Reading and Reflection
It's been essential for me, personally, to read and reflect on scripture every morning. Connecting with God every day reminds me that I'm not alone, that He has my best interest at heart, and everything will work out for good. If you aren't religious this may seem a bit hokey to you, but I still suggest finding some form of inspiration to reflect on each morning. Whether it's a book full of inspirational quotes or a self-help book, it can put a little bounce in your step to focus on something positive each day.
4. Prayer/Meditation 
After I've done my reading, I spend some time meditating on the words I've read and praying about the day ahead. Again, if you aren't a religious person it may help you to simply recite some positive affirmations to remind yourself that things can and will go well with the right mindset.

5. Planning
The last step in my morning is to plan out my day. It helps to do this after my meditations, because it makes it less likely that I'll stress out over the details. I spend about 5 minutes writing down any appointments, listing my to-do's for the day, and highlighting the most important items on the list.

Making yourself a priority and focusing on the little things will set the tone for the rest of the day, so find the things that bring you joy and make them a part of your morning routine.

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