Interview: Dr. Colleen Cira, Psy.D. on the Importance of Morning Routines.
Dr. Colleen Cira is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who specializes in Women and Trauma, and is also a mother of two—so she is also and expert in scheduling and maximizing one of our dearest resources—time! As millions of families are getting ready to go back to school and all the chaos that comes with this, daily routines are important and can really help us to start our days off in the best way, so we can be our best selves.
A morning routine is amazing for so many things, including giving your mood and energy levels a boost. Here’s why:
1. Our brains LOVE routine. The less work our brains have to do, the happier our brains are, so routines feel really good to most of us. So having some routines in our lives is a really lovely way to conserve energy for more complicated parts of our day.
2. Our mornings set the tone for the day, so it’s important to think about what we’re doing, what we’re putting into our mouths, what we’re putting into our brains, etc., that first hour or two that we’re awake. How many people do you know who wake up and immediately start reading major headlines in the news?? And how much do you wanna bet they experience more anxiety and sadness than other folks? Being mindful about how you spend that first hour of your day is a way to set your intentions for the day and have a bit more control over your attitude for that day.
3. Mornings are the perfect time to do some really healthy things we wouldn’t otherwise find time to do in the middle or at the end of a busy day! Drinking a huge glass of water, meditating, exercise, mindfulness—these are all things that we know can fundamentally change our lives for the better, yet many of us struggle to implement these super healthy habits. Mornings are the perfect time to try that one habit you’ve been curious about.
4. Routines are the antidote to chaos and mornings. Especially for parents, the morning can be a time that feels really chaotic. If you’re snoozing multiple times, waking up late, have to get yourself ready and also have to worry about getting little humans out the door as well, mornings can feel like a set up for failure. When you have a morning routine though (which almost always includes waking up before most people in your home), you are ready and prepared to take on the day before anyone else has even opened their eyes. Take that chaos!
5. Most of us need more alone time than we get. Solitude, especially for those of us who are introverts or parents, is a rare thing to come by despite the fact that most of us are desperate for it! Mornings are the perfect time to get some precious time with “me, myself and I.” Enjoy the silence, watch the sunrise, sit outside and listen to the birds chirp—do things that fill your soul. YOU matter . . . now start to act like it!
Here’s an example of my morning routine:
5:30am: Wake up and check my digital dashboard to know where everything stands (email, weather, personal & professional bank accounts, etc.). I don’t actually respond to anything at this point—I just want to know where everything stands so I have a more accurate idea of what my day is going to look like.
5:40: Drink an enormous glass of water and meditate for at least 10 minutes.
6:00: Take a look at my schedule for the day, create some goals that I’ll be mindful of and working on throughout the day and make sure that I’m making time throughout my day for my goals and whatever is most important to me that day
6:30: Get myself ready for the day
7:00 Now I’m ready to be really present with my kids!
Available for Interviews: Dr. Colleen Cira, Psy.D.
Dr. Colleen Cira received both her Masters and Doctorate from The Illinois School of Professional Psychology and is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the State of Illinois. She’s the Founder and Executive Director of Cira Center for Behavioral Health, PC, a boutique group practice specializing in Women and Trauma with locations in Chicago and Oak Park.
She was named one of the “Top 100 Women in Chicago Making a Difference,” by Today’s Chicago Woman. Dr. Cira is a trauma and anxiety expert, clinical supervisor, writer, speaker, consultant, activist, wife, and Mommy to two little ones.
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