My experience implementing a morning wellness routine

Illustration of a girl journaling while sitting on her bed, by Nishali Naik
Nishali Naik/File

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When the new year struck, I promised myself that this was my year to work on myself and become a better me. After a less than successful January during which I put all my goals put off because of the stress of the spring semester, I knew I had to make a change and reset for February. I decided that my best option for something that would be challenging but doable was to wake up just one hour earlier than normal. I used that hour to undertake a wellness routine that would help me start the day on the right foot. 

So with that, even though I didn’t have to necessarily be up early for school, I set my alarm for 7 a.m. and adopted my morning wellness routine. While this may not be considered early for some and is way too early to for others, making goals and working on yourself is completely individual, so each person should work to find out what works best for you. This was quite a challenge for me for the first week and on more than one occasion I hit snooze. But by the second alarm, I knew that I had no choice but to get up because I had promised myself that I would.

Waking up is one thing, but getting physically out of bed is the hardest part. Once I was up, with a splash of water on my face, I realized I now had a ton of extra time — it’s become almost addicting to get up early. You don’t have to rush to your class or miss breakfast, and your brain is actually awake when class starts. The biggest change I noticed about waking up earlier was that I was much more productive in the mornings and I actually finished my work way earlier in the night than I did previously. 

After I would wake up, the first thing I would do was journal. I have never been a journaler before so I went into it with no expectations and no idea how to even really journal. Journaling is such a subjective experience and can be as simple as writing down your feelings, goals and manifestations, or you can vent about everything going on in your life. For me, it ended up being a mix of a lot of these. Most days I would start with how I was feeling or release onto the page whatever was causing me stress and taking up space in my brain. Then I would try to brainstorm how I could remedy that stress or help navigate any negative feelings I was experiencing. This would ultimately lead to realizing what larger goals these negative feelings may be hindering and a motivational message to myself that I could get past it.

After brain-dumping in my journal, I would read a chapter or so of a motivational book. Gaining insight on tips and tricks that you can physically apply to your life makes them feel more practical. After journaling my goals, I felt open to any advice my wellness and growth book might have. For February, I read You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero; while not every chapter applied to my situation, there was so much valuable insight and advice that made me feel confident in my own ability to grow. 

While I intended on just seeing how this morning routine would go for February, I am now hardcore invested in my morning hour and it has become the best part of my day. I sit on my couch in the sunlight, taking in the sounds of Berkeley, and I know that at least one hour of every hectic and stressful day is devoted to me. Not only do I love that physical hour of wellness but being up early and starting my day in such a positive way absolutely makes the rest of my day better too.

If you have thought about implementing a routine similar to this, I highly recommend it. Remember, you can always modify it to fit your life better, but devoting even just a little bit of your day to yourself can really make a huge difference overall in your life!

Contact Jackie Amendola at [email protected].