The Power of a Morning Routine During Times of Crisis

Virtual Working

Social distancing and other COVID-19 related restrictions have changed the world and our daily routines in a matter of weeks. Going out to dinner or meeting friends at your favorite coffee shop feel like a distant memory, and the emotional impact of these changes is profound. If you’re feeling nervous or anxious in these unprecedented times, there are steps you can take to be flexible and proactive amidst the uncertainty.

A large body of research firmly backs that adhering to a morning routine is one of the most motivating and effective practices during times of crisis. Morning routines jumpstart your day, automate decisions, and help you ease into the day with a clearer mind. Here are a few key tips to consider when planning your ideal morning routine:

Keep it simple and realistic
First off, ask yourself “how much time and bandwidth do I realistically have?” If that means an hour to incorporate a workout or a mindfulness practice, go for it and make the most of that time. If five minutes is what you can dedicate to a morning routine, commit to a realistic and relaxing activity that fits the timeframe. Remember that you can adapt your routine to different situations based on circumstance (hello Covid-19), preference, or the simple desire to try something new.

Make it personal
Morning routines are not and should not be “one-size-fits-all”. There is no one optimal activity, time, or place to engage in your routine. The key is to take what is important to you and make it a routine. Whether that means a sunrise run, journaling upon waking, walking your dog to get fresh air, a five-minute meditation practice, or the simple act of making your favorite cup of coffee or tea, decide what feels important to you and make the commitment. This is your day and no one else’s, so make it personal.

Getting derailed is not the end of the world
As is the case with any good plan in life, often we get knocked off course. Rather than being critical of yourself, remember to practice self-empathy when things don’t go as planned. Reassess the amount of time, energy, and resources you have in your mental bank at any given time and move forward from there (remember to keep it simple and be realistic!).

Are you looking for some ideas on a new morning routine? According to a company-wide survey, 79% of Interaction Associates employees have a morning routine. Here’s a glimpse into how we begin our days: 

Morning Run/Workout | Lizzy Dickey, Engagement Manager
Early mornings are my favorite time of day, and getting fresh air is a must. I typically wake up before the sun rises and head out for a run. I come home feeling energized and relaxed. After a quick shower and a cup (or two) of pour over, I’m ready for whatever the day throws at me!

Meditation/Prayer | Michael Reidy, Senior Consultant
I like to meditate or pray in the morning and doing so at my desk in my home office helps me set up the day for success. I also have a ritual involving making a pot of hot tea, which I like to bring with me into my home office prior to working.

JEBS Routine | Eve Keller, Director of Project Management
I try to stick to my JEBS routine, which is based on Shawn Achor's 5 Steps for the Happiness Advantage. This includes having a protein shake immediately and then Journal, Exercise, Breakfast, Shower each morning. Journaling includes meditation and gratefulness. I try not to start my day with any social media or news.

Catch Up On News | Annelise Blackall, Events Manager
I allow myself time to skim the news (I'm a CNN addict) over coffee. I try not to look at emails, Slack, or anything work-related before I've had a coffee and am sitting at my desk.

Workout & Scheduling | Jake Blocker, Creative Marketing Manager
When I wake up on time, I’ll first work out then make a quick breakfast with coffee. After this, I’ll spend about 30 minutes scheduling my day in calendar blocks and making any to-do list of specific items I didn’t capture on my schedule. After this and my first cup of coffee, I’m good to go!

Looking for other ideas on how to get your day started? Check out a recent blog by IA team member, Kristin Mattison, where she discusses techniques for getting in the right mindset to start your work day.

Ultimately, your morning routine is something that should be special and specific to YOU. Begin by focusing on what fits best into your current situation and lifestyle. Then focus on how you can set yourself up for success. For some that may be waking up at 5am to journal or work out. For others, it may mean allowing just enough time to make a pot of coffee and dial into a Zoom meeting. If you get stuck in a rut or frustrated, keep in mind that it’s important to be kind to yourself as you reassess your needs. And don’t be afraid to shake things up. Try out any number of different routines until you find your groove.

Finally (and most importantly) always remember that the sun will rise again tomorrow. We are better together.




About Lizzy Dickey-Murphy

Lizzy coordinates the delivery of Interaction Associates’ services, ensuring that IA clients and consultants are aligned and set up for success. She appreciates working for an organization focused on collaborative work and her mission is to bring the company’s core values to all she does, both in the office and in her personal life.