5 ways to create a screen-free morning routine

Checking emails and social media as soon as you wake up? It’s time to ditch the screens and fix your morning routine.

Do you check your phone first thing in the morning? You’re not alone. Many of us use our phones as an alarm clock, making your screen the first thing you reach for in the morning. But checking your phone as soon as you wake primes you brain for distraction for the rest of the day. Scrolling social media or checking emails instantly can spark waves of anxiety and before you know it, you’re replying to emails before your first black americano.
Your mornings set the tone for the rest of the day. By making your AM routine phone-free, you’re giving your brain time and space to wake up calmly - on your terms. Here’s our top tips on building a phone-free morning routine.
Use an analog alarm clock to wake in the morning
Use an analog alarm clock to wake in the morning

1. Use an analog alarm clock

By swapping out your phone alarm for a traditional alarm clock, you’re removing the instant reach for your phone in the morning. This also means you can leave your phone away from your bedside the night before, which removes the temptation for late night scrolling that can harm your sleep quality.
We love light therapy alarm clocks (like this one) but you can pick up inexpensive analog alarm clocks online too. During the weekend, try switching off the alarm clock and let your body wake when it needs to. It gives your body the chance to climb out of your REM cycle on its own terms.

2. Create screen-free time in your morning

Checking emails first thing or rushing around because you’re late will start your morning in a panic. Set your alarm a little while before you need to be awake to give yourself the space and time to start the day slowly.
Make the 30-60 minutes in your morning phone-free. Replace scrolling with journalling, meditation or getting outside. This time is a pocket of calm before other things demand your time and attention. Try to keep work off your mental agenda first thing, or use it to plan your day with pen and paper before you leave the house.
“Those requests, those interruptions, those unexpected surprises and those reminders and problems are endless … there is very little that cannot wait a minimum of 59 minutes.” Julie Morgenstern, author of “Never Check An Email In The Morning”

3. Move your body

Whether its a morning walk to the coffee shop or a HIIT workout, moving your body in the morning will lower your cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and release endorphins (the happy hormone). By moving your body, you’re also less likely to reach for your phone.
It's even better if you can get outside—yes, even in the winter. It can be tricky to drag yourself from bed and out into the cold, but getting a hit of fresh air, even for 10 minutes, can help clear your mind and lower your stress levels. It will also help your body wake up when the natural light hits your eyes and skin, not to mention getting a dose of vitamin D.

4. Read or write a chapter or two

Try consuming information the old-fashioned way. Reading a chapter or two of a book in the morning has been proven to boost your mood and energy levels, as well as increase your attention span. It's also a great way to spend some quality time with yourself before the day gets going.
The morning is also the perfect time to put pen to paper yourself. You don't need to be a writer to scribble down some thoughts or gratitudes in a journal. Journaling helps you gather your thoughts and set goals for the day. New to journalling? Here are our top tips to getting started.

5. Get outside and breathe in fresh air

Soaking up natural light in the morning can help your brain and body wake up. We recommend getting outside in the morning, whether this is for a walk or even just a few moments in the garden.
Morning exposure to sunlight and nature, paired with some mindful breathing and you’re onto a winner. Breathing exercises help you wake up by slowing down your heart rate and calming any feelings of stress or nervousness. This is a great trick for those mornings when a big presentation looms. Breathing exercises also give you some extra energy by replenishing your oxygen levels, which helps you feel more awake. If you're new to breathe work, we recommend trying these 5 easy breathing exercises.
Morning’s don’t have to be a chore. On the contrary they can be the most wholesome, calming, and sacred part of your day. Creating a morning routine, one that doesn’t revolve around screens, doesn’t have to be restrictive. In Unplugged cabins, we don’t include a clock or an alarm so that you can get the rest you need. Book your stay here.
On weekends, ditch the alarm and let your body wake up naturally
On weekends, ditch the alarm and let your body wake up naturally