A Mindful Morning Bucket List for the Month Ahead
Imagine this: you’ve woken up in the morning feeling tired, grumpy and irritable.
You have a busy work day ahead of you and your mind is already racing.
You wish you could take a few moments for yourself – anything to give yourself a pocket of time to be present and feel a sense of slowness and calm.
Would you prefer to:
a) Grit your teeth and just keep moving on
b) Email your boss that you don’t feel well and go back to bed
c) Take a few moments to be mindful
If your answer is c) then you’re in the right place!
Below, you’ll discover a Mindful Morning Bucket List you can complete every day for a month! The aim of this Mindful Morning Bucket List is simple – to help you enjoy a few mindful moments every morning in easy and meaningful ways.
Not quite sure what mindfulness actually is?
Mindfulness is about being present in the moment with an open-minded attitude and a willingness to accept your experience, just as it is. By connecting with the present moment, you can give yourself some time and space to let go of thoughts about the future or past, tune in to your senses and notice the world around you.
Regularly engaging in mindfulness techniques has also been found to encourage various benefits, such as reduced stress, less emotional reactivity, improved focus and higher relationship satisfaction.
Ready to become a little more mindful every morning? Here is your Bucket List!
P.S Scroll to the end and you’ll even find a beautiful image you can download – feel free to save it or print it out so you can check it every morning and stay on track with your mindfulness practices.
Mindful Morning Bucket List
1: Use a mindful breathing technique
Place one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest. As you inhale and exhale, feel the subtle movements created by your breathing.
Continue with this mindful breathing technique for as long as you like – just a few breaths (if that’s all you have time for) or a couple of minutes. Your mind will probably wander and that’s okay! Gently re-focus on the breathing technique when you notice that your attention is elsewhere.
2: Become grounded
Move your attention down to your feet and notice the feeling of the ground underneath you. If you like, you could also try this practice outside without shoes (it can be especially nice to feel grass underneath your feet). Observe the points of connection between your feet and the ground. Notice the feeling of solidarity and support. Move your body from side to side to feel your balance shifting.
3: Tune in to your sense of sound when you first wake up
When you first wake up, rather than jumping out of bed or switching on your phone, simply tune in to your sense of sound. Notice what you can hear in the room around you, then expand your awareness of sounds to include the outside world, too. At first, you might not really notice anything, which is fine! The sounds may be subtle and could take some time to be heard.
If you like, you could also take some deeper breaths and notice the sound of the air moving in and out or the bedsheets rustling softly.
4: Stretch mindfully
Before you get out of bed in the morning, stretch your body and really become immersed in the sensations of each movement. For example, try stretching your arms above your head and feel the tips of your fingers reaching towards the roof, notice the muscles in your arms lengthening, feel the space being created around your shoulders and observe the sensation in as much detail as you can.
5: Do something slowly
When you rush from task to task, you might be thinking ahead or feeling overwhelmed, which can make it difficult to practise mindfulness. However, if you take a little bit of time to do some tasks slowly and really pay attention to these activities, you can give yourself the opportunities to notice what is happening in the moment and be more intentional.
Activities you could slow down:
-brushing your hair
-getting out of bed
-drinking a coffee or tea
-washing your face
6: Make your bed mindfully
Notice the feeling of the materials under your hands and feel the weight of the sheet, blankets and pillows as you make the bed. Not only is this a simple activity which can allow you to be more mindful, but some research has also shown that people who make their beds, change the sheets regularly and keep their bedrooms tidy tend to sleep better.
7: Drink a mindful cup of coffee or tea
Feel the warmth of the mug in your hands, smell the aroma of your drink, notice the temperature of the liquid and taste the flavour.
8: Urge surf
This can be an interesting mindfulness technique to experiment with. Rather than indulging in urges straight away (such as biting your nails or checking your emails), try to observe the urge without taking action. “Surf” the urge by allowing yourself to experience the feelings and thoughts associated with the urge, delaying the action for a while (or altogether).
9: Allow your thoughts to come and go
If you have some time, notice your thoughts and allow them to come and go. Try to observe your thoughts, rather than getting caught up in them. It might even help to acknowledge interesting thoughts or self-critical thoughts or unexpected thoughts.
10: Do a meditation
There are many simple, inspiring and relaxing meditations you can do in the mornings. You might like to do a mindful meditation, such as a body scan (check number 18 on this bucket list for instructions) or you could do a loving-kindness meditation, use affirmations, or do some deep breathing meditations.
11: Appreciate the season
When you look (or go) outside, appreciate everything you can about the season. Notice the freshness of spring or the colours of autumn. The warmth of summer or the sound of the winter rain on the roof. All seasons have their own special qualities – take the time to notice them.
12: Dress yourself mindfully
As you get dressed, see the colours of your clothing and feel the texture of the material. Be intentional as you put your clothes on, rather than thinking about other things.
13: Listen to the sound of water
Set yourself a challenge to notice the sounds of water as much as you can in the morning. Listen to the water in the kettle boiling and the sound of filling up your drink bottle. Hear the splash of the shower water on the floor or running water as you brush your teeth.
14: Observe nature
I love taking the time to check on my indoor plants each morning, which is a great way to start the day in a mindful way. I even wrote about all my indoor plants and how they help me be more mindful here. If you don’t have any indoor plants, try going outside so you can breathe some fresh air, look at some flowers, or watch the clouds going by.
Bonus tip: try getting out of bed in time to watch the sunrise!
15: Pay attention to the aroma of your breakfast
This is a super simple way to bring a little more mindfulness into your morning - tune in to your sense of smell and appreciate the aroma of your breakfast before you eat it.
16: Notice the temperature as you get out of bed
As you climb out of bed, pay attention to the feeling of the temperature on your skin. Even if it’s cold, try to observe this sensation in a non-judgemental way!
17: Wash your dishes mindfully
Washing the dishes isn’t always everyone’s favourite task, but it can be a great opportunity to practise mindfulness regularly. Notice the warmth of the water, smell the dishwashing liquid, feel the texture of the bubbles and observe the dishes as they change from dirty to clean.
18: Do a body scan
You might like to try this mindfulness technique before you get out of bed in the morning. Move your attention down to your toes, then slowly scan your attention through the rest of your body. Feet, heels, ankles, calves, shins, knees, the backs of your knees and so on, all the way up to the top of your head. You can take this practice slowly and notice each body part in detail, or move your attention a little bit faster if you’re short on time.
19: Start your working day intentionally
Before you start your work for the day, take a few breaths, check in with your purpose for being at work, use a positive affirmation and enjoy these few moments for yourself.
If you would like to continue using mindfulness techniques throughout the working day, check out my article about taking effective mindful breaks at work.
20: Decrease distractions
Sometimes, one of the biggest obstacles when it comes to practising mindfulness is a distraction. You might be noticing your breakfast in a mindful way, then you receive an email notification and you read that while you eat the rest of your breakfast without noticing the flavour, aromas or sensations at all. A simple way to create more space for mindfulness is to decrease distractions; turn your phone to silent, don’t turn on the television, or get up a little bit earlier so you can have time alone before anyone else in your home wakes up.
21: Notice the sensations as you wash your skin
Whether you take a shower or wash your face with warm water, feel the sensations of the water and your fingertips gently massaging your skin.
22: Acknowledge your emotions
It can be easy to overlook emotions, especially in the mornings when you might be pressed for time, but it can be a great mindfulness practice to help you recognise how you’re feeling and understand how you could support yourself as the day unfolds. Take a few moments to tune in to your inner world – notice if your emotions have triggered any physical feelings, acknowledge the variety of emotions you might be feeling and ask yourself what you could do to support your experience on this particular day.
23: Give someone a mindful hug
As you wrap your arms around a loved one for a hug (or give yourself a squeeze!), take the time to appreciate them and immerse yourself in the moment. It can be such a quick moment, yet meaningful at the same time.
24: Twiddle your thumbs
If you have a few spare moments, clasp your hands together and gently circle your thumbs around each other. Feel the tickly sensation of your thumbs moving around each other and focus on maintaining a smooth and easy rhythm.
25: Use an affirmation
Choose a simple statement which feels supportive and meaningful to you in the moment. For example, in the mornings I can easily feel overwhelmed by my to-do lists for the day ahead. In those moments, I like to use an affirmation like “I am capable of handling anything today might bring” or “I’m ready, excited and prepared for today.”
26: Go for a mindful walk
Whenever you go for a walk in the morning, try to do so mindfully;
-feel the floor or ground underneath your feet
-look at the world around you
-notice the sensation of your body moving in unison
27: Use social media non-judgementally
If you like to browse social media in the morning, do so as mindfully as you can. Be non-judgemental about the posts you see, tap in to compassion and understanding, remain aware of the world around you and notice if social media is triggering comparison, sadness, or jealousy (in which case, you might like to sign off).
28: Observe the sky
Take a look outside and notice the sky. Is it bright blue? Still dark? Scattered with clouds? Completely overcast? Spend a few moments just observing the sky and what it looks like on this particular morning.
29: Engage in self-care
This is a great way to bring a little more mindfulness into your morning! Schedule in some time for self-care (an activity which helps you feel happier, refreshed, calmer, or more fulfilled in some way) and engage in this activity in a mindful way. For example, I enjoy taking some time in the morning to journal. I snuggle under a blanket, open up my favourite journals, reflect on the day before, feel the pen in my hand and write whatever feels important in that moment.
30: Listen to music mindfully
Play your favourite song or playlist and actually take some time to listen to it. Notice the different instruments, tap your foot in time with the beat, pay attention to the words and the meaning of them, or sing along.
31: Notice what you can be grateful for
At any time of the morning, pause to notice what you have to be grateful for. If you wake up before your alarm goes off, you could take some time to be grateful for the warmth and comfort of your bed or the safety of your bedroom. If you’re making breakfast, you could feel grateful for the ingredients you’ve been able to purchase and the flavour of a tasty meal.
I hope you enjoy trying out this bucket list for yourself! I’d love to hear which bucket list items you’re excited to try:) Let me know in the comments below or come over to my Instagram @rachaelkable and leave a message!