My 6 A.M. Morning Routine That Sets Me up for a Good Day

Lifestyle

Peach living room with fireplace, French doors, artwork, and checkered rug in the morning light.

Nailing your ideal morning routine is a polarizing process. Take it from someone who has tried and fallen off The 5 AM Club wagon time and time again. There is a lot of truth in the idea that morning routines are the key to getting your day off to a good start. That being said, they aren’t always #goals and they are certainly not perfect. After reassessing some of my own habits that had contributed to significant burnout, I went about establishing a 6 a.m. morning routine that works not only when I’m at my best but also when I’m feeling my worst. 

The goal of a routine is that even when things go off the rails, it’s easier to hold on to a semblance of it. I’ve been doing the weekday routine below for thirteen weeks and it’s stuck. How can I tell? I feel no shame about having it go awry from time to time, remembering I can always start fresh the next day. 

Here’s what my current 6 a.m. morning routine looks like (starting with bedtime the night before).

At night, I am in bed by 9:30 p.m. 

My 6 a.m. morning routine is possible because I prioritize sleep. Full stop. I don’t mean I am “perfect” about sleep, but I will cancel plans or move a deadline in advance to make it a priority (something I would have NEVER DONE pre burnout). I tend to fall asleep between 9:45 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. If I’m asleep at this time, I’ll usually wake up before 6 a.m. and if I fall asleep a little later, I’ll wake up at 6 a.m. I don’t really compromise sleep anymore. I’ve learned it’s one of the best things I can do for myself. 

~6 a.m.: My alarm goes off.

I have a very gentle crescendo alarm on my phone. Sometimes I’ll sleep a little more if I didn’t sleep well during the night. I’m generally out of bed somewhere between 6 a.m. and 6:15 a.m. I’ll change into my workout clothes and leave our bedroom.

Psst. These are a few of my favorite workout clothing sets right now. All products are found at Target!

6:15 a.m.: I feed the dogs, let them out, and make coffee.

Winnie and Pearl sleep together on these dog beds in the kitchen. I feed them and then watch them run around for a bit in the backyard while I have water and an Americano

6:25 a.m.: I fill my water bottle and head to our workout room.

I walk over to our workout room (which is also Joe’s office) and sit on the bike. For about thirty minutes, I pedal and wake up a bit more in the process. Sometimes it’s an intense workout and other times I simply casually pedal and look outside, depending on what my body needs on any given day. Afterward, I’ll sometimes stretch for a few minutes as well.

7 a.m.: I meditate.

I find it’s easier to meditate after I move my body. I’ll sit next to my bike, still in my workout clothes, and meditate for ten minutes. I use the FitMind app to do this. (You can read my thoughts on the app in this post.) I don’t view meditation as something to be “good” at or do correctly. It’s more about the gentle act of bringing my mind back to awareness. Learning to do this intentionally is why I practice meditation daily. I find it’s easier to maintain this practice when I’m not beating myself up about doing it “perfectly” each time. 

7:15 a.m.: I head to the kitchen.

I go to the kitchen, get a cup of coffee, and make my kids’ lunches. (I’m the lunch person and Joe’s the breakfast person.) Usually the kids are getting up around this time. We’ll spend a bit of family time together, I’ll help the kids get ready for the day, and I’ll help them get out the door with the nanny around 8 or 8:15 a.m.

8:15 a.m.: I tidy up a bit.

I’ll tidy up the house with a podcast on. Sometimes this takes a few minutes and sometimes it takes thirty minutes.

8:30 a.m.: I get ready for the day.

If the house wasn’t a disaster, I’ll have time to get ready for the day. I’ll shower and put on skin-care products and some makeup. (For curious minds, my current skin-care routine is written out in this post!) I’ll usually just do my bangs at this time and style my hair later. Sometimes, if I woke up earlier than 6 a.m., I’ll have time to shower before the kids get up, but this doesn’t always happen. 

9 a.m.: I move to my office.

I’ll sit down at my desk and do morning pages first thing. I used to use pen and paper for this process but now I use an app, aptly called Morning Pages. I’ve found that this is very important for me to do before getting started with work. Afterward, I’ll take out my planner, look at what I need to do for the day, and begin my workday.

Editor’s Note: This article contains affiliate links. Wit & Delight uses affiliate links as a source for revenue to fund operations of the business and to be less dependent on branded content. Wit & Delight stands behind all product recommendations. Still have questions about these links or our process? Feel free to email us.

BY Kate Arends - April 25, 2022

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Elle P
April 25, 2022 10:40 am

Thank you for speaking frankly about how, to have a lengthy, semi-luxuriant morning routine, most of us have to go to bed early and wake up early! There’s a prevalent notion that there’s a “hack” for everything, and it’s refreshing to hear that often, if you want to experience the benefits of a healthy routine, you have to sacrifice something- in this case, late nights, plans, etc.

May 2, 2022 9:19 am

Solid advice! I too meditate in the morning. It is a great way to start your day with a positive mindset.
And sleep needs to be a priority. There are so many health benefits. Here’s an example https://sensiblyshelley.com/7-compelling-reasons-to-get-adequate-sleep/
Thank you for sharing this 🤗

May 15, 2022 10:10 am

My problem is I never know what time I’m going to fall asleep. #teaminsomnia over here. I’ve learned to just get on the train whatever time it arrives. Some nights I fall asleep at 8:30 but some nights it’s as late at 3am. When I fall asleep early it’s pretty easy to get up and do my morning routine. But on those nights I barely get any sleep good luck getting me up when my alarm goes off. Thank you for sharing your morning routine and sharing your tricks and tips.

skeptic44
May 15, 2022 5:14 pm

I love the color of the living room walls. On the other hand, I have to be at work between 8:00 and 8:30 a.m., and it takes 35 minutes to get there (I’m an “essential worker” so have never worked from home), so when I get up at 6:00, I have to eat breakfast, shower and dress, and get out the door.

Laura S
May 16, 2022 6:48 am

I’m glad to know I’m not the only one!!!! To start with, I’m a morning person and it’s the best time of my day. I love tidying up the apt. early enough to get started, as the tidier and cleaner everything becomes, the better I can focus on myself as soon as I’m done with this stage. Taking a spa like shower, working out, walking my dog and having a delicious breakfast (I always make sure that I have everything I need to prepare it), this routine is the best way of starting my day!

Kat
May 21, 2022 11:11 pm

For the last year I’ve been trying to get back to my 6am routine I had before the pandemic. Reading this was a reminder that I have not been honest about my bedtimes- I need to start my wind down earlier. A tip, especially for those starting out – alarms aren’t just for wake up! I have multiple bedtime alarms on my phone to trigger me to get ready.

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