Those first few beginning moments of the day truly set the tone for how the rest of the day is going to flow. We've all been there - those crazy mornings when the alarm fails to go off, and the dog has peed on the kitchen floor, and the car battery is dead, and all we want to do is crawl back in bed alone and hit re-start on the day (or on our lives!). But we probably have also had those incredible mornings where everything just seems to click into place - it's easy to wake before the sun rises, breakfast miraculously appears on the stove, and the kids beg to leave for school early (ok that last bit may be a stretch). Those mornings fuel us for positive, productive days. And the truth is, we have more control over that outcome than we might think.
Morning minutes are precious. We never seem to have enough, and they always seem to pop up earlier and earlier (who can honestly say they want to wake up at 4:30am?!). But study after study show that cultivating a morning routine for those first 30 minutes of your day can dramatically bring more calmness and structure to your entire day - and we think that by focusing a few of those minutes on connectedness, you can also bring drastically more social wellness into your life as well.
Morning routines can certainly vary, but all are grounded in their repetitive, meditative nature. Great thinkers and doers throughout time have had their own versions of morning routines - some rising absurdly early, some plunging their feet in ice water, many journaling, most writing lists of one sort of another. These routines have brought focus and clarity to their lives, and can do the same for yours. But as this is our Year of Connectedness, we also want your routine to help lessen loneliness, and bring connections and relationships to yours.
What if YOUR morning routine could help you feel less lonely, and more connected, every single day? We think it can.
Your routine is completely yours, and the most important element is to create a plan that you love, and that works for your life. 30 minutes is more than plenty. The important thing is that you carve out time specifically in there to focus on the people in your life who are meaningful to you, or with whom you would like to build more meaningful connections. Here is an example of what could be done in those 30 extra-focused, purposeful minutes, but the important thing is that you craft that time to meet YOUR needs.
7:00 - Wake up
7:05 - Stretch, breathe, or meditate
7:10 - Coffee, tea, or orange juice for all
7:20 - CONNECTION BUILDING MOMENT
7:35 - Slowly move into your day
Starting your day thinking about your relationships is a way to center your energy on maintaining close emotional ties. Just 15 minutes focused on reaching out can drastically help curb the feelings of loneliness while strengthening and solidifying our meaningful relationships. So, during those daily morning minutes, we recommend accomplishing the following tasks:
- Think about one person who you feel especially close to now, and reach out with a quick text or call to say hi and let them know how much they mean to you. This can be really short - but it works to strengthen the connection of already existing relationships.
- Reach out to one 'distant' friend to just check in and say hello. This can be a friend from childhood that you have lost contact with, or a more recent friendship that has just taken a seat on the 'back burner'. Say hi. Let them know that you are thinking about them.
- Finally, make a plan for an upcoming relational activity. This can be a movie date with friends, an afternoon of volunteering in your community, a night out with your significant other, a walk around the block with your neighbors, a game of pick-up flag football - anything that lets you connect with others in a meaningful way. THESE REAL-LIFE CONNECTIONS ARE SUPER IMPORTANT to lessening loneliness - so please don't just stop after sending the first two texts ;)
That's it! No more than 10 to 15 minutes of your new morning routine of focused energy on your social health can do wonders for lessening your overall feelings of loneliness, and hopefully will strengthen the meaningful relationships that are important to you.
The sound of the alarm clock does not have to be the worst moment of your day - instead, focusing for just a few minutes on your own social wellness before the chaos of the day starts can truly be a beginning to look forward to!