Updated: Aug 3, 2022
Mirror, mirror on the wall
The mirror is a reflection of truth — pure, raw, real. What you see in the mirror is the unabashed and honest and true reflection of you.
Everyone has a morning routine and every morning routine has a mirror.
It’s true that I am coming from a place of mental health recovery, but this article will benefit any and everyone who puts this routine into practice.
The amount of energy and light that hits the mirror is the same as when it returns to you, except that instead of chaotic and frenzied reflections (photons) of light that bounce off your body toward the mirror, what you see is a much more controlled, orderly reflection (specular) coming back at you.
There is no hiding here.
That is why every single morning of my recovery I would stand in front of my mirror, bags under my eyes and tears welled up within them, and stare hard at myself, at my reflection, at my truth, and recite the Affirmations of Truth that I had penned and posted there.
I didn’t believe it at first.
I hated looking at the broken husk of a man that I had become
But I read it aloud every morning.
Eventually, I started believing it. Eventually, I started reciting it from memory and then from the heart!
Eventually, I got to the point where I didn’t need to recite it anymore. I didn’t need to tell myself or remind myself of these things anymore because I knew them. They were as real to me as my reflection in the mirror.
I knew them to be true, as true as my reflection. Pure, raw, real.
Again, there is no hiding here.
A morning routine is crucial for recovery. It is a must.
We can’t just roll over the side of our bed and allow the waves of the day, anxious and mighty as they are, to catch us up, to toss us about and carry us away wherever they may.
To leave yourself at the mercy of all that anxious and nervous energy that has been waiting impatiently to greet you as soon as you wake is to leave yourself vulnerable and grossly underprepared for the mental and physical onslaught of another pitched battle.
And make no mistake: It is a battle
A warrior does not go gallivanting about on a leisurely, purposeless stroll from his bed dragging his sword and shield behind him in a lackadaisical jaunt to the battlefield!
He wakes with purpose, rising hours before his opponent. He stretches, clears his mind, and readies himself for the trials that await him.
We’ve all got one
My Morning Routine, Wake Up Successful, The Miracle Morning, The Morning Sidekick, Wake Up: The Morning Routine That Will Change Your Life…
Why are there so many books on the morning routine?
Because we ALL have one!
The question is, is your morning routine setting you up for success? Is it equipping you with the tools and focus and strength that you will need to endure, to recover, to rise victorious over your anxiety and depression?
Is your morning routine a stumbling block, a stone tied to your ankle that is holding you fast, a prime target for the volley of flaming arrows the challenges of the day are nocking and making ready in their longbows, not allowing you to move freely?
Is your morning routine a hindrance to your recovery?
Do you wake up with purpose? Driven to be better? Are you intentional when you wake?
Or do you hit the “snooze” button over and over again, as the tide of anxiety and nervousness works its way from a lapping ripple to a ferocious crescendo of fierce and powerful waves, crashing into you and threatening to pull you back out in the depths of your anxiety and depression?
Do you hide under the covers, the blankets acting as your magic shield that will hold back the morning until your wishes come true and it retreats, defeated by your procrastination… off to plague someone else?
Guess what… it won’t
Do you just bask under the blue glow of your phone, eyes ablaze by the phosphorescent flame of fantasy and make-believe, scrolling through other people’s lives who have it all together (ri-i-ight…) because it’s easier than getting up and dealing with yours?
I’ve been there… Shoot, I still scroll through Instagram or Facebook and wonder how the heck some people have their stuff so tight and together when mine is bursting from the seams and chaotic as… Eh-hm…
But I have to remind myself that the phone is not a mirror, Facebook or Instagram are not mirrors… There are only refracted glimpses of truths there. THERE one can hide…
You have a morning routine, everyone does. Even if it’s routinely different depending on your mood, you’ve still got one.
Everyone has a morning routine… now let’s make sure yours is setting you up for victory!
My Manic Morning
My mornings (and subsequently, my days and nights) were a crap-show of anxiety and nerves.
“Oh no! Not another morning. Not again. Not so soon!”
That all changed when I began to be intentional about my mornings. I implemented strict rules, schedules, and tasks — and did not defer from them.
You might be going “Ew! Rules, Schedules, Tasks… No! I want to be FREE. Free from my anxiety! Free from my depression! Free from my stress! We don’t need no stinking rules!”
But, we do.
We are going into battle! Not against our anxiety, but against our natural inclination to FIGHT our anxiety.
It is tedious and difficult work and not for the faint of heart. It takes courage, Endurer, and we’re going get there!
Even now, recovered from my high-level anxiety, I keep to the morning routine that I put into place during recovery.
It has given me vision and purpose. I now see my mornings as a gift. A new chapter in a new life!
So… How can you create a morning routine that will equip you for success, not just in your recovery, but in life?
8 Ways to Guarantee A Successful Morning Routine (and Prepare Yourself for Victory!)
1. Get up as soon as you wake up — Don’t lay around and see what anxiety has in store for you today… YOU decide what you have in store for anxiety today. Rise with purpose, even if you’re in the thick of anxiety, or panic, or depression. Rise with purpose!
2. Wake up early and at the same time every day — If you’re having a bit of trouble sleeping or are struggling with insomnia or sleep anxiety, I have an article on sleep anxiety coming out soon, so watch out for that. I’ve got some great tips that will help you out.
3. Drink a full glass of water immediately upon getting up (which is right after you wake up… come on, no cheating!) — Just think about going 8 hours during the day without drinking… well, we do that every night. Water kick starts your metabolism, gets you hydrated, immediately makes you feel less stressed or anxious, and makes you feel fuller, so you’re less likely to go for the donuts or Frosted Flakes! *sugar is a KILLER when recovering from anxiety
4. Make your bed — Keeping things clean and tidy is a great deterrent for stress and anxiety. Clutter is a proven stressor. It can make you feel overwhelmed and out of sorts. Keep it clean and you’ll have one less thing to be anxious and stressed about.
5. Take a shower — “Oh Ok, Micah, ya I’ll take a sho…” Not so fast. This is a tough one, but one that you will see IMMEDIATE results from. You’re going to take your shower like normal, however long that is, but 30 seconds before you’re done, you’re going to turn off the hot water and take an ice shower! This was SO HARD for me to do the first few times, but it is worth it, people! I promise! New York City-based psychotherapist, Sheri Heller states that
“Sensorial stimulation with cold water can break through dissociative feelings that often accompany anxiety and offer immediate relief from heightened cortisol levels,”
6. Mindfulness Meditation — Deep breathing exercises with mind and body awareness, muscle relaxation, and mental imagery. You must relearn to trust your mind and your body. This is a daily exercise that will center you and ground you. It is a powerful technique and one I highly recommend! I have an article coming soon in this series that will address this in detail.
7. Prayer/Gratitude — As I exit my meditation, I take a moment to thank God for all that he has done for me in and through my anxiety and for all the things that He has promised. If you are not religious, take this opportunity to express gratitude and remind yourself of the things that you are thankful for. Write these prayers and gratitudes down every day. They are great reminders of what we have and what keeps us going!
8. Journal — Create an entry every morning and stick with it. Note how you are feeling, your concerns for the day, your victories from yesterday, motivational quotes, bible verses, etc… This is a GREAT way to mark progress and to see what works and what doesn’t. Going back and looking at older entries is always such an encouragement to see how far you’ve come! Make sure you add a “To Do” list in here… Just write out those most important tasks that you need to get done and come back the next morning and check them off. Any that you can check off is a victory, and any that you didn’t get to, re-evaluate and see if they were truly important, to begin with.
- You will be able to suss out many of your anxious thoughts, ruminations, and triggers
- You’ll see major trends and have valuable insight into how those trends play out
- It will open avenues of creativity and growth that you had not known were available to you
- You will, no doubt, begin to see that your victories far outshine your defeats
Okay, I’m adding in a freebie… #9. I have got to tie the mirror thing in somewhere right???
9. Affirmation — Write your truth out on a sticky note (or 100 full sheets of paper if you need to!) and hang it on your mirror. Read this every morning. Every. Single. Morning. You won’t believe it at first, but soon, not only will you believe it, it will become your anchor. Don’t worry if friends or family see it. Let them see it!
Remember, there is no hiding here.
Mornings are hard, Endurer. Mental health issues are hard. But with intention and with purpose and with a winning morning routine we will overcome!
Good mornings to you and Godspeed.