My current morning routine takes approximately one hour, from waking up to being out the door.
My phone is on airplane mode for the entire time and I don’t turn the data on until after the entire routine is done. This is very important for keeping a clear head in the morning and throughout the day. The WORST thing in the world to wake up to is a torrent of messages, emails, and other notifications all competing for your attention.
The only thing you should be paying attention to in the morning is your routine!
I also don’t eat breakfast, as I do semi-strict intermittent fasting and my first meal is usually around 1-2PM. I don’t time it carefully or always hit the magical 16-hour window but it’s usually between 14 and 18 hours of fasting. I’ve found this works better because:
- Eating in the morning takes time – both to cook and to actually eat. I also find more mental clarity if I don’t eat early on.
- The effects of coffee (black) are much stronger on an empty stomach (for me personally, the difference is night and day)
Anyway, here’s my morning routine:
Wake up, drink water, use washroom (5 minutes)
It takes a minute to get out of bed – I take a trip to the bathroom and then start drinking a .5L cup of water that I keep next to my bed.
Because the body gets dehydrated while we’re asleep at night, one of the best and easiest things you can do to wake up faster and feel better in the morning is to drink a lot of water immediately after you wake up.
Deep breathing and ‘bioenergetics’ to get into my body (15-20 minutes)
I think it’s really important to get into your body as early as possible in the day. This part of the routine takes about 15-20 minutes and consists of 5 exercises.
1. 3-4 cycles of Wim Hof breathing (10 min)
I used to do an exercise called “The Bow” here but I recently replaced it with Wim Hof’s controlled hyperventilation/breathing method. I do 3-4 cycles of Wim Hof breathing, and hold my breath after the last “out-breath” of each cycle. For more on Wim Hof breathing you can check out my review of the Wim Hof Method.
2. Forward bend/Hamstring stretch (1 min)
This is just a standing forward bend, a regular hamstring stretch. Hold for 1 minute.
3. Shaking (1 min)
Starting with the head/face, begin to shake your body around and continue to shake for 1 full minute. This loosens up bodily tension that accumulates while asleep and gets you out of your head (if you’re not already).
I learned this from watching Elliott Hulse’s Youtube channel, and he originally got the exercise from Osho. Osho says, “become the shake” – allow the shaking to completely overcome your mind and body.
4. Grounding & making deep noises (1 min)
This is a bit of a weird one but basically I bounce up and down on my heels and try to make sounds that are as deep as possible. I try to feel the sounds reverberate in my body as deeply as possible – it feels like the deeper the sound itself, the deeper in the physical body it is vibrating.
5. Squat/Stretch (3-4 min)
Here I get into a squat and just stay there for a bit. After a couple minutes I’ll usually start to widen my stance and stretch out the hips.
The last four exercises are modified from this Elliott Hulse video:
Go outside in the sun & keep drinking water (~5 minutes)
After the physicality I will go out in the sun for 5 minutes and just enjoy it. Sunlight makes me feel awake, energized, and provides vitamin D.
It’s important to have gratitude and enjoying the sun in the morning makes me feel grateful for my life. I remember that I’m healthy, free and alive. I also keep drinking more water because it’s basically impossible to drink too much, and you can’t really drink water while doing bioenergetics or deep breathing.
Meditate (20 minutes)
Next I sit down in a chair and meditate for 20 minutes. My current meditation is a pretty standard Vipassana style and I try to remain focused on following my breath or just maintaining ‘open awareness’ without getting caught up in thoughts.
More recently, for the last 5 or 10 minutes I’ll sit cross legged on a yoga mat, to try to get used to sitting this way. My goal is to be able to sit for long periods of time cross-legged, and eventually to sit in the lotus position.
If you’re curious about meditation then check out this simple body awareness meditation.
5-minute journal (5 minutes)
I’ve been doing a certain style of morning journalling that I learned from Tim Ferriss. I do it immediately after meditation because the mind is quiet and it seems easier for things like gratitude and appreciation to ‘flow’ better in this state.
The 5-minute journal is a framework that you fill in every day and it goes like this:
I am grateful for:
What would make today great?
Daily affirmations. I am…
These first three sections are done in the morning. In the evening you complete two more sections:
3 amazing things that happened today:
How could I have made today better?
You can buy the ready-made 5-minute journal on Amazon – but currently I just write it out on a notepad like this:
Does this kind of journalling really make you happier and improve your life? Yes, I think so. Happiness is a hard thing to define or quantify, but gratitude is pretty damn close.
Get dressed & pack bag (5 min)
Up to this point I am only wearing shorts or boxers – now I put on a t-shirt or tank top and pack my backpack with whatever is needed for the day. This is usually a laptop, charger, kindle, notepad, and gym clothes if need be.
Time to go..
That’s it – roughly 50 minutes to 1 hour and it’s out the door. Next I will head out to a cafe or something and it’s on with the day.
So.. what about you? What’s your morning routine like? Do you have one (you should!) I’m curious to hear about it – let us know by posting a comment below.