Morning Routines: Friend or Foe?

I have been listening to personal development podcasts for the past couple of years. Because reading often makes my migraines worse (anyone else?), I find podcasts and audiobooks to be best for me. I do read articles on my phone every now and then about how to improve your life, increasing productivity, finding balance in health and just general tips for how to lead a more successful life.

The one tip I seem to not be able to get away from is:

“In order to have a successful life, you have to develop a stellar morning routine.”

Morning routines and IBS

I see this mantra in some shape or form everywhere and I really believed it. It made sense, after all. What is the best way to start your day off on the right foot? A great workout. If you have a to-do list that you are sure to tackle immediately after your pre-planned breakfast, what could be bad about that? If you set aside an hour mid-morning for yoga or some type of meditation in order to bring clarity and focus into your day, well, that’s awesome!

However, regardless of how much I tried to put these practices into my life, it never worked for me. I kept pushing and pushing myself because I kept hearing how the absence of a strict morning routine would leave my mind and world in chaos. And while I thrive on routines, to-do lists, and other plans I also realize that I am not like other people.

We're all different

I think we can agree that we are all different. Not only are we different because every single person alive is unique in some way, but living with a chronic illness changes things about us. For example, the mornings are the absolute hardest time for me. So, for me to try and push myself in the morning to have this routine I think I “need” to have in order to be a productive member of society is silly. I try and remind myself that I shouldn’t set myself up for failure. And that is exactly what I have been doing for so many years.

Trying to adopt a great routine during the time of day where I feel the absolute worst is absurd when you think about it. For some reason, I felt like maybe following in other people’s footsteps might make me into a morning person. Or, rather, someone who actually felt well in the morning. I tried. I tried a lot. But I always failed and it made me very upset with myself.

Until recently.

Pushed myself too much

I no longer became upset with myself for not being able to have this amazing morning routine that I have been hearing about so much, but I became angry at the fact that I pushed myself too much. I have always known mornings are when my stomach felt the worst. I have the most pain during that time. My mind feels very foggy in the morning. I am generally a mess until around 11am, maybe noon if I am being totally honest.

As people who live with a chronic illness, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it is important to remember that you have the ability to be a successful member of society. You have the ability to be productive and have everything you want out of life. It may take tons of work but it is there for you when the time is right.

Put yourself first

Just remember that you set your own schedule. Don’t get bogged down with what other people are doing and think there is something wrong with you if you’re unable to follow in their path. I know I spent way too long getting down on myself and I’d love if you all could learn from my mistake.

Put yourself first. You are a priority. Managing your disease is a priority. Taking care of yourself in the manner in which you need caring for is a priority. The rest will fall into place.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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