“Flow, not Force”
Routines have always been a big part of my day. I love routines and everything surrounding them. But there was always one main factor that made me resent my routines: force. I used to think that I had to force myself into doing everything that succesful people were doing and my forcing myself to do the things that didn’t bring me joy, I would start the day off in a negative mindset.
But that all changed when I really started to understand the concept of “flow not force”. It is not about making excuses, it is about finding joy in life. So, what I decided to do is to create a new morning routine, containing only things that make me happy and make me feel calm. Let me show you what I created.
“The aim of life is happiness, not perfection.”
Now, right before we dig in to the morning routine I wanted to quickly explain something. I don’t go to work or school so I have a ton of time to have a slow morning routine. I understand that not everybody has that time so every habit I describe from my morning routine will include a tip on how to fit it into a quick schedule. Also, I highly recommend not just plain following my routine if it inspires you, but to be inspired by it and find out if there are habits that I am describing that YOU like and that make YOU feel happy.
I like to wake up really early in the morning because I find that I am way more productive during the day when I had an early start. When I wake up I aways take ONE look at my phone, just to make sure nothing urgent came in at night, before putting it away until I finish my habits.
The first 45 minutes of my morning is dedicated to cleansing. I love starting my day with a fresh clean slate. These are my cleansing habits:
- Water and coffee: to reset my body for a new day I like to start my day off with drinking some water. Your body hasn’t hydrated in over 8 hours so this I necessary! I find that drinking water really wakes me up and makes me feel amazing. I also like to drink a coffee in the morning. It also wakes me up and it, well, cleanses my body and makes me feel ready for a fresh new day. TIP: this one is fairly easy to include in your morning routine because it is simply a drink. But, if you don’t have time in the mornings to drink your coffee, make a homemade icecoffee and put it in your bag the night before. Then you can drink your daily caffeineboost in the car or on the train.
- Writing: after I made my coffee, the first thingI do is grab my notebook and writeeverything down. I am a very vivid dreamer so I like to write down all my dreams and analyse them for a bit. I also like to focus on how I am feeling thatday andwhat my intentions are for the day. TIP: Writing is one way to clear your mind. If you don’t have time to write in the mornings, then self-talk could be an option to you. Actlike you’re recording a podcast and simply talk oud loud to yourself. You can also record this if you’d like to listen back. This you can do in your car, on your bike or even walking.
- Yoga: I NEED to strech in the morning. Usually when I wake up I feel a little soar from my workout from the day before and my muscles feel really tight from barely moving for 8 hours. I like to follow my own yogaflow and really feel what my body needs at that moment, but you can also follow a Yoga Youtube-video. My strech-routine changes every day. There are days where I love streching for half an hour and really take my time, but there are also days where my streches are about 5 minutes long. remember: flow, not force. TIP: like I said, your streches can only be 5 minutes. When I have a busy morning I also like to do this when my water is boiling for my tea, when my shower is heathening up or when my coffee is in the making.
- Meditation: I love how clear my mind feels after a meditation. Now, I am not a patient person so meditating can be a struggle for me. But just 5-10 minutes of a guided meditation makes me feel SO good. I use the app “Calm” and it is rated as one of the best mindfulness apps. I have a subscribtion, but there are also tons of free meditations you can use. TIP: meditation does not just have to be sitting with your eyes closed and breathing. The app ‘Calm’ that I am using also has walking meditations or mindfulness meditations for when you are at work. You can do this on your lunchbreak or whenever you have a second to spare.
After the first part of my morning routine that focusses on cleansing, I start ‘putting in’. I know this sounds really weird but bare with me. The first part of my morning is centered about cleansing my body and my mind, and the second part is all about putting the good information and food in again. These are my ‘putting in’ (lol) habits:
- Hot lemon water: When I start the second fase of my morning, I like to have a comforting drink with me. I love hot lemon water because it is so easy to make and it kinda feels like it is ‘coating’ my stomach. It is full of antioxidants and it prepares your body for breakfast. It is really good to have some kind of fruit first, before breakfast, to prevent bloating and stomach aching. I also find it really southing todrink something warm while doing my next habit. TIP: now I understand that if you have a busy morning, you certainly do not have time for TWO drinks. So, bring some slices of lemon with you in your lunchbox. If you go to work or school they often have an option for tea in the lunchroom. Put your lemon slices in there instead of tea and you’re good to go.
- Reading: This is probably my favorite habit. I love love love to read in the morning and put positive thoughts and information into my mind. I always love to read a fiction and a non-fiction book at the same time so I don’t ‘get bored’. I read one chapter of each book in the morning and it sets me of to a good start. TIP:another way to fuel your mind with books is listening to audiobooks. I won’t start rambling on about audiobooks as I am certain that you’ve already heard about them. I also really like to listen to podcasts. My favorites are: the health code, kalyn’s coffeetalks, potterless, your own magic and the mustards.
- Breakfast: I absolutely NEED to eat a good breakfast in the morning. I don’t have one breakfast I eat everyday, but I mainly just listen to my body and what I am craving that day. But, I always love some avocado toast, oatmeal, yoghurt or a fresh smoothie. I love to create a healthy breakfast to fuel me and get me going. I generally never crave things like chocolate or pancakes so it really isn’t that hard for me to start the day healthy. TIP: now, I’ve heard SO many people tell me that they don’t have time to make breakfast in the morning. If intermitted fasting is your thing than you should definitely do that. But if you’re like me and simply can’t go without a good breakfast then I can highly recommend you one simple thing. meal. prep. I KNOW, eyeroll , eyeroll, because you’ve probably heard it everywhere. And I understand that you don’t have the time or energy to spend your free time making meals for the whole week. But this does not have to be hard. The night before, put everything for your smoothie in a bowl. Make some simple overnight oats, or take 15 minutes to bake a simple bananabread that you can take to work every day of the week. (This recipe is Dutch but I have been making this bananabread and it is AMAZING: https://www.lekkerensimpel.com/bananencake-met-blauwe-bessen/ ).
GYM-TIME: I know, you probably think: “What happened between 07:30AM and 09:00AM?!” but let me explain. After my breakfast I usually put on my workout-clothes, brush my teeth and wash my face. And then I start working on my to-do list. But at 9AM I like to go to the gym. Because I work from home, I have the freedom to make my own schedule and I always go around 9AM because that’s when a lot of people go to work and there are a lot less people at the gym. Because I live in a small village, the gym is very small. It is basically one room with all the equipment in it, so it can very easily become very crowded. I love to workout in the mornings because it gives me the endorfine-boost to go through my day with an extra big smile on my face. Also, if I postpone my workout until the evening, I most likely end up making an excuse and then not going. TIP: working-out can be quite a struggle for some people, which is totally understandable. I have the time to go to the gym and have a 60min+ workout, but if you don’t have that time HIIT work-outs are the perfect solution for you. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT workout are often short (10-20min) and keep your heartrait really high. If having an intens work-out just isn’t your thing, it may be nice to go for a walk on your lunchbreak or take the stairs a little more often. Just simple everyday things to keep moving!
After my work-out I just get ready and get on with my day. Now a little disclaimer: I do not do this every day! This is more or less a guideline for me to follow and something I naturally love doing. But if I wake up and I am super soar and feel like I just need a stretch, THEN I GO AND STRETCH. Remember, it is all about feeling good and being happy.
So, to wrap this routine up, I highly encourage your to feel your flow and make yourself happy. If you haven’t heard this today: you are valuable by simply being you. You don’t need to achieve high standards or look a certain way to be loved and valuable to this world.
“If flowers can be beautiful by simply existing, then so can I”
I wish you all the stars,