Sometime between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m., I wake to the sound of little feet in our hallway. This is often followed by a whisper in my ear, “Mom, can I come in your bed?” Soon, one or both of my girls climb up and under the covers, as I wonder what time it is and whether I’ll be able to fall back asleep with this little body tucked in next to me.
My girls have always been early risers. Most mornings, they quietly find their way into our bed—which I admit is better than back when they were crying for me from their crib. Sometimes our oldest is first to arrive, but she goes to my husband’s side. Sometimes our youngest beats her sister and she comes to mine, but nearly every morning starts with our four-person family snuggled in bed before the first alarm goes off. I confess this used to annoy me. That is until I attended a wellness session about morning rituals during a work conference.
During the session, about five other adults and I sat in a circle and shared an outline of our morning routine. This included stress points and areas we hoped to improve. I named my early risers as a stress point until someone said, “A snuggle isn’t a bad way to start the day.” Of course, that person was right. I had to reframe my feelings about my early morning visitors. By staying in the snuggle intentionally, I could add a short gratitude practice to make my mornings better. It quickly became clear it was worth the few extra minutes of sleep I’d lost.
Mornings as a mom are hectic, as we all know. So like any other hack, we need a mindful morning routine that is quick and easy to execute, while still beneficial to our wellbeing. My snuggle tip is part of this list, along with a few others you can try that can take less than five minutes.
10 Ideas for a Mindful Morning Routine
1. Hit snooze for one snuggle sesh
Whether you’re with your kids or your partner, if you have the ability to pause and snuggle up together for the length of one snooze cycle, it can help you feel more connected to each other throughout the day.
2. Listen to your favorite music
There’s nothing quite as impactful on our moods as music. Without a doubt, throwing on music that makes us feel good while getting ready in the morning, packing lunches, or on the way to the office will set us up for a more energized day.
3. Try a mindfulness meditation app
I originally started practicing mindfulness to help manage anxious feelings, but I’ve grown to appreciate the pause and presence I get from meditating. On the recommendation of a friend, I began using a mindfulness app on my phone. I use Buddhify, but many other apps exist with meditations you can do in under five minutes.
4. Write in a one-line journal
A friend bought me a one-line journal after my father passed away. I found it healing as a low-pressure way to capture quick feelings, small life moments, or set intentions. I’ll admit, I don’t write in it every day, but knowing I only have to fill out a few lines makes it easier to put into practice.
5. Make eye contact and kiss your partner good-bye
In the session from my work conference, our facilitator shared that research has shown the way you say goodbye and hello to your partner can be a predictor of relationship health. A lot like the snuggle, eye contact and a kiss can help you start the day more connected and can compound into long term benefits for your relationship.
6. Practice consciousness
This idea is inspired by celebrated psychologist, Dr. Nicole LePera—AKA, The Holistic Psychologist. In her book, How to Do the Work, she highlights that it’s easy for us to fall into autopilot mode, where our thoughts run rapidly through our minds and the next thing we know, we can’t remember a minute of our drive to work. We can take a few minutes in the morning to actively be conscious. When you wash your face, feel the bubbles on your skin, spell the scent of the face wash, listen to the water running—you get the idea. According to Dr. LePera, practicing this can actually lead us to being more present in our day-to-day lives, something we can all benefit from.
7. Sit and sip your coffee
Try to avoid screens, and just sit and sip for a few minutes. A friend of mine lives near the mountains and has made a ritual of watching the sunrise over the peaks. My view isn’t nearly so majestic, but really enjoying those first sips of coffee (or tea!) is honestly something I look forward to every day.
8. Speak affirmations to yourself
We’ve heard others talk about the power of affirmations, but can they actually work for us? The answer is absolutely! Part of the reason why they work for many people is psychologically based. We each have what’s known as a Reticular Activating System in our brains—essentially this system filters our thoughts into ‘important’ and ‘not important.’ The more we hear positive affirmations such as, ‘I am successful,’ our thoughts will begin filtering this way and help us to believe it as true. Once we believe this about ourselves, it becomes easier and easier to see actual results.
9. Stretch your body
While squeezing in a workout isn’t always a possibility during a hectic morning, taking a few minutes to stretch can be very beneficial. Not only does it feel good, but moving our bodies in even a simple way has the power to energize us and make us feel ready for the tasks of the day.
10. Eat a protein-packed breakfast
A mindful morning routine is enhanced with a quality breakfast. When things get busy, making breakfast in general can be a challenge, let alone a meal filled with protein. But, having a protein rich breakfast has been found to have lots of benefits. Having higher amounts of protein in the morning benefits muscle health and increased energy expenditure, meaning we’ll have more energy throughout our day (say no more!).