Morning routines matter more than you might think. There are plenty of ways to wake up that don’t include your phone. Pick one or two and give them a try.
Before you get to that…
Is your phone the last thing you look at before you go to sleep at night? What about first thing in the morning? Do you reach for it the minute you wake up? If you answered ‘yes‘ to those two questions, it’s time to break up with your phone.
Don’t worry, I don’t mean for good. I’m simply talking about spending some time without it to find out who you are outside of that relationship. This isn’t an excuse to try out other devices, mind you. The whole point is to be digitally unencumbered for a while.
Why is that so important? Well, screen time with your morning coffee might seem like an innocuous way to pass the time, but it’s not. As Outside Online points out, “It’s never a bad time to evaluate your digital addiction.”
Whether you’re reading the news, scrolling through your Instagram feed or responding to work emails, it makes no difference. Checking your phone right when you wake up is not a good idea.
There Are Better Ways to Start Your Day
The Dalai Lama meditates for an hour every morning. When asked what he does when he has a particularly busy schedule, he famously replied, “Then I meditate for two hours.” His point being that the busier you are, the more important the fundamentals become. In the Dalai Lama’s case, that means meditating.
For you, it could be exercising, journalling, spending time in silence, going for a run or preparing a healthy breakfast. How do you stop checking your phone all the time? That’s a whole other discussion. For now, my advice is just to stop using your phone to wake up.
Get yourself an old school alarm clock. Better yet, hone the art of setting in an internal alarm clock. As for your phone. Leave it in another room, somewhere out of plain sight. Promise yourself that you’ll only look at it once you’ve woken up properly. Which is to say, by employing one of the methods suggested in this post.
Wake Up the Right Way (No Phone Required)
Your morning routine sets the tone for the rest of the day. Adopting these simple, yet effective habits will pretty much guarantee you a great day. Conversely, glotzing at your smartphone (or any other device, for that matter) when you wake up will bring you down like a lead balloon.
Lottoland’s infographic on morning routines is a great place to kick off your hunt for things to do that don’t include your phone. When you’re done with their suggestions you can scroll down for more tips from me. Some of them overlap slightly, but it’a never a bad idea to get a different perspective on things.
Morning Routines for Everyone (Even Lazy People)
1. Meditate Meditation is a well-known tool for relieving stress and anxiety. It’s also good for your brain. Meditation improves your memory and focus, slows brain aging and reduces self-referential thinking.
Learning to meditate takes patience. After meditating daily for 60 years, the Dalai Lama says he still finds it hard. Try anyway, even if it’s just for a few minutes to begin with. The quiet time will ground your day and leave you feeling calmer and more relaxed.
The great thing about exercising in the morning is that then it’s done for the day. You won’t have this chore hanging over your head. You’ll start your day boosted by a win, which means things can only get better from there.
It also means your evening is yours to do with as you please. Whether that’s hanging out with friends, working on a passion project, cooking dinner with your kids or slothing on the couch with a juicy book.
3. Drink Tea
There’s something to be said for rituals. Indulging in a daily tea ritual can have a wonderfully calming effect on the mind and spirit. It slows you right down by bringing you into the moment.
You take note of every step, from filling the kettle and boiling it to scooping your tea leaves into the pot and pouring hot water over them. Even if you’re using a teabag, you can still slow down the process and be present.
4. Go for a Walk
Walking has many benefits. It’s a means to get somewhere, yes. But it’s also a way to get outside, improve your health or lose a few pounds. For a lot of people, mindful walking calms the mind and fuels creativity.
A walk in nature is even better. You can indulge in a little forest bathing at the same time. Developed in Japan in the 1980s, the practice of shinrin-yoku—which means ‘taking in the forest atmosphere’—has numerous health benefits.
5. Do Your Chores
Doing your chores requires discipline. Why is that so important? Because discipline equals freedom. When you get up early and start the day right (meditate, exercise, make the bed, do the dishes, etc.), you automatically create space for the things you love later on.
Conversely, when you lie around in bed staring at your phone, you’re wasting precious time. Suddenly you’re late for work and you haven’t even showered yet, let alone tidied up, eaten a healthy breakfast or packed lunch.
6. Have Sex
Morning sex is good for you. Yip, you heard it here first. Okay, maybe you didn’t, but still. Sex has been proven to lower stress levels. Plus, it releases oxytocin, dopamine and endorphins. Ergo, you feel closer to your partner, good in general and you get to bask in a post-workout glow.
Ultimately, you could do any number of things when you wake up besides eyeballing your iPhone. The key point here is to avoid screen time first thing. The benefits of not checking your phone in the morning will astound you.
The Phone Breakup Challenge
It could be that you’re not that addicted to your phone after all. Maybe you just got into the habit of looking at it while drinking your morning coffee. However, if you think your digital addiction is out of control, try taking the 7-day phone breakup challenge.
Don’t worry, nobody is suggesting you toss your phone in a field. The breakup challenge is a way to shift the relationship you have with your device from obsessive (can’t bear to be without it) to something more balanced (leaving it at home is totally cool).
It’s one of those nothing to lose and everything to gain situations, so at least give it a try before you veto the idea outright. What morning routines have you tried?