Here’s 15 easy-to-accomplish self-care routine ideas to practice in the morning.

Each idea is a small way to tune-in and take care of yourself!

The thing about self-care?

It doesn’t have to be time-consuming and overwhelming.

It can simply be about all the small ways you tune in, listen to your body, and take small steps to take care of yourself.

And about flipping the script from what you should be doing, to focusing instead on what feels good.

So how can we make it happen in real life?

Consider incorporating self-care into your life where it fits, rather than forcing it to be yet another task.

That morning glass of water, that mid-day walk, skipping the caffeine in the afternoon and turning off your phone in the evening?

All count as impactful pieces of your very own self-care routine checklist.

And creating a thoughtful morning self-care routine or nightly self-care routine is a great place to get started.

So let’s ditch the idea that it has to be grand or indulgent to “count”, and embrace the everyday, unglamorous little acts that really matter most.

table of contents

Read on for some easy ideas to simplify your self-care morning routine (even if all you have are an extra 15 minutes in your day)!

Click on each category below to go straight to that section:

15+ simple self-care ideas list

what is self-care?

what self-care isn’t

self-care examples

what is the purpose of self-care?

more resources for simple self-care ideas

top down view of a simple self-care ideas for your morning routine scene with cozy cup of coffee on cozy white comforter

15+ simple self-care ideas for your morning routine

Remember, this is just a list of suggestions and possibilities to get you inspired.

Start small and simple, by picking just one or two to start with and go from there.

If you try any of these simple self-care ideas for your morning routine, I’d love to see.

Tag me on Instagram @realfoodwholelife so I can cheer you on!

1. read something that feeds your soul

A book of poetry, science-fiction, trashy beach-read, inspirational quotes, yoga philosophy, crime novel, non-fiction, or a spiritual text.

Pick any book that’s calling your name, then set your alarm for 15 minutes early.

It’s a simple way to gift yourself a quick reading session, just for you.

If you need recommendations, here’s a little list of some feel good books for self-care.

2. sit and enjoy a hot cup of coffee or tea

The simple power of sitting and savoring can be a powerful way to practice self-care.

Turn your hot drink into a self-care morning ritual by tuning into your senses: smell, sound, touch, sight.

Even this small moment can make a big difference in your day.

3. journal or write

Consider this 15 minutes of creative time.

Free write, gratitude journal, write an email to a friend, or start chipping away at that story you’ve always wanted to write.

Writing can be a powerful tool for self-discovery and self-care – we dive into that more in this episode on guided journaling & affirmations.

4. make a little gratitude list

Not into journaling?

Try making a simple list of 3 things you’re grateful for the beginning of each day.

Keep it simple and specific: a moment, a memory, a feeling.

Jot down 3 things and then spend a moment to soak in the feeling.

If you need a little more guidance, you can learn more in this post on creating a gratitude habit.

5. stretch, walk or press play on a yoga video

A little morning movement can do amazing things for your wellbeing all day long.

And 15 minutes is a great exercise snack to fit in before the day begins.

Throw on a pair of shoes and head out the door for a neighborhood power walk, throw down a mat and do some stretching, or pop on a yoga video and find your flow.

If you need inspiration, try this easy, everyday yoga flow and meditation video.

flatlay of a blank journal on a white background with white flowers and a lit candle

6. start working on your dream

Have a dream you’ve been harboring in the back of your mind?

Consider this an invitation to start working on it, a little at a time.

Register your domain, start researching shop locations, or peruse Pinterest for how-to posts.

Sure, 15 minutes isn’t enough time to get everything done, but it is enough to feel like you’re moving toward something instead of doing nothing.

7. take the extra 15 minutes of sleep

Getting up a little earlier for self-care is fantastic, but sometimes the best self-care is listening to your body and taking the extra sleep.

If you’ve been sick, have a sick little one, or you’ve been up all night, give yourself permission to sleep.

That’s the best self-care of all.

8. create a no-phone-in-your-room policy

The impulse to grab your phone and immediately start scrolling first thing in the morning can be hard to resist.

Make things easy on yourself by charging your phone in another room.

If you use your phone as an alarm clock, consider investing in a stand alone option so your room can become a phone-free zone.

If you want some extra support for your all-day-long relationship with your phone, we did a whole episode around phone habits!

9. turn alerts off on your phone

When you do finally grab your phone, the last thing you need in the morning is a bunch of alerts staring you in the face.

Trust me, all those demands on your time, attention and energy can wait.

Go into settings, and turn the alerts off.

10. create a morning-only app folder on your phone

Creating folders on your phone can be a great way to create boundaries for yourself when it comes to morning self-care.

Consider creating a folder on your phone for apps that contribute to feeling good: meditation, podcasts, spiritual inspiration.

Whatever it is, make a morning folder that you can open without getting distracted.

This quick guide on how to simplify your phone home screen is a gamechanger!

top down view of a simple self-care ideas for your morning routine scene with breakfast bowl with coffee cup on white table with spoon

11. create a hydration habit

The quiet moments in the morning present the perfect opportunity to adopt a hydration habit.

Taking a moment to find a large glass or water bottle and fill it up for the day.

This is a great simple self-care idea to set yourself up for a good day (and pairs easily with any of the other ideas on this list).

Hydration tip: straws are proven to make drinking a lot easier – so try adding one to your glass if you haven’t already!

12. play a feel good morning playlist

Remember when mix tapes were a thing?

When you’d spend time putting together a special playlist for someone important in your life?

Yeah, let’s bring that back – except this time, make yourself the special person.

Create a playlist using Spotify or Pandora, or find one already made that makes you feel really good.

Maybe it’s mellow spa music, nostalgic 80’s flashback music, or an energizing rap or pop song list.

If you’re looking for something refreshing and mellow to ease into the day, here’s my current morning routine playlist.

13. listen to an audiobook or podcast

Podcasts and audiobooks are a great passive self-care option.

All you need to do is press play and listen in.

Maybe you want something inspirational, educational, entertaining, fictional or downright hilarious.

Whatever your mood or interests, chances are there’s a podcast or audiobook for that.

Particularly if you’re someone who enjoys reading but can’t find the time, audiobooks can be just what you’re looking for.

Tip: Take a few moments to download your favorites each week so you have hours of listening available without wifi required. If you like to go for a morning walk, an audiobook or podcast would be a fun & easy habit to stack together with that!

14. acknowledge the season you’re in

Taking care of new baby, an aging parent, or trying to balance work and school?

Know that self-care will look different depending on the season of life that you’re in.

If life is hard at the moment, know that you’re not doing it wrong.

And if you need extra support, consider embracing the magic of a transition week.

15. embrace gentle is the new perfect

Last but not least: practice gentle.

Giving yourself a little grace, a little self-compassion, and a little gentle is what self-care is all about.

Life is full of tradeoffs.

You can’t do everything all at once, because you are human.

If sitting down to drink your cup of coffee means the kids toys don’t get picked up, be gentle.

If taking a walk midday means all the emails don’t get answered, be gentle.


stack of books with a white vase and green plant on top

frequently asked questions about self-care

What is self-care?

Self-care doesn’t have to be complicated, overwhelming or time-consuming, and can, instead, be all about the small ways that you tune in and take care of you. Here’s a list of 32 Real Life Simple Self-Care Ideas to get you inspired.

What self-care isn’t.

Self-care is more than just hour-long bubble baths and spa days. It doesn’t have to be complicated, overwhelming or time-consuming. It can be as simple as the small everyday ways you take care of and make time for yourself. Here’s how to create a doable self-care routine checklist.

Self-care examples.

Self-care is more than just bubble baths and massages. Examples of everyday self-care might include an extra 15 minutes in the morning to talk a walk, enjoy a cup of tea, read a book, listen to a podcast, call a friend, write, put down your phone, sleep in or take a nap. Here’s a list of 32 Real Life Self-Care Ideas to get you inspired.

What is the purpose of self-care?

In the simplest terms, the purpose of self-care is to care for yourself. In this interview with Dr. Zoe Shaw, she describes it as “when you are replenishing your mental and physical energy” and that “allow(s) you to be more present for yourself and those you love”.

more resources on simple self-care ideas

Simplified Self-Care for Everyday

Simple Self-Care for your Evening Routine

Simplified Self-Care at Work

7 Essential Self-Care Habits for Times of Stress

How to Create a Self-Care Checklist (Designed to Work for the Real You in Real Life)

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