Influencers are creating morning routine Instagram reels, TikToks, and YouTube videos. They show us how they make the best of their morning to get the day started on the right foot. Regular people can’t seem to keep up with the satisfying lives portrayed in these accounts. Is a morning routine even that important? I explore this idea below.
If you follow lifestyle and wellness accounts on social media, particularly Instagram or TikTok, you may have come across morning routine content. These routines consist of immediately waking up after a 5 am alarm clock and making their beds, having a 10-step skincare routine, a gratitude journal, a workout, a mouth-watering acai bowl – you get the picture. The content is inspirational and seemingly harmless, but after the 100th viewing of these videos, you start to beat yourself up for not being able to do the same thing.
In a Byrdie article, “Why is the Internet so Obsessed with Morning Routines,” Carl Cederström, associate professor at Stockholm University and co-author of the Wellness Syndrome, defines Wellness Syndrome. He says “it’s the obsession with participating in wellness trends like exercise apple cider vinegar, or meditation”. Cederström says this fixation “fits into the rising Individualism under capitalism, where we’re constantly encouraged to view ourselves not as people, but as never-ending projects.”
Social media influencers showcase their perfect seeming lives and we can’t help but believe that adapting a routine similar to theirs will bring us closer to a similar lifestyle. It’s not true because this perfection is curated and only accessible to certain people. The people are thin, white, young, and have money. They have the luxury of time, a minimalist apartment, and having the right products to make their morning routine magical. If your apartment doesn’t fit the bill, you’re a person of color, you’re overweight, or you have kids that take up your time, you probably do not qualify as #ThatGirl. But a lot of us are still trying to achieve the impossible. A lot of #ThatGirl influencers, the term used for the young women who follow this certain aesthetic, use the same skincare products, do the same workouts, and eat similar breakfasts. They are sponsored by companies who need these influencers to sell their products and promote an aesthetic that sells.
Having a morning ritual is beneficial.
In another Byrdie article, “Here’s What I Learned After Trying to Live Like #ThatGirl,” Kristen Gingrich LCSW, CADC, a therapist on TikTok under the handle @NotYourAverageThrpst says, “Routines can give us something to expect, something that makes us get out of bed in the morning on the hard days, something that helps give us a feeling of mastery and completion.” Outside of social media, many articles share the morning rituals of the successful. Oprah wakes up without an alarm clock between 6:02 am and 6:20 am, Janet Mock does her daily Morning Pages, and Tony Robbins practices gratitude. What differs a helpful morning routine from a non-helpful one is the intention. Carl Cederström mentions that people treat morning routines like they are hacks to success, they are not waking up for a specific purpose. They’re creating busy work for themselves before they go to the corporate jobs that load them with more busywork. Famous writers wake up early to get an early start of writing and commit to a certain amount of pages. #ThatGirl admirers are going through the motions to appear successful.
Christal Bell, an ACE certified personal trainer, ACE certified fitness nutrition specialist, and a YTT 200 Yoga Instructor, talked to me about her opinion on morning routines.
"“I personally LOVE a good morning routine, BUT with balance. Social media is so toxic. A prime example is the 5 am club. It promotes that if you get up at 5 am, you can ‘complete it all before the rest of the world gets up and you’re ‘better’ than everyone else because you don’t sleep your day away.’ Clearly, there is some merit to this; however, it’s completely unrealistic. Getting adequate sleep is more important than getting up at 5 just so you can hit the gym.”"
Bell also mentions that working out on a lack of sleep makes you more prone to injury and even working off a little sleep will cause irritability, lack of judgment, and can negatively affect your eating habits. Issues that a #That Girl cannot have!
The question we have to ask ourselves: How do we create our morning routines without obsessing over the execution? How can we ensure we stick to them and feel good afterward?
Christal Bell recommends basing your morning routine on YOU.
"“First pick a time that you actually could wake up at, now start 30 mins before that. Waking up 30 mins early is plenty, just watch one less Netflix the night before. This is also a more sustainable task. Next only pick 3-5 tasks that you would like to knock out before the day gets started. Ideally, pick 3, but depending on the task you may be able to do more. Make sure that each task can be completed in under an hour. Tasks that take longer, usually become too daunting or require too much time, which then cuts into needed sleep time.”"
I asked Bell what are the key things we should incorporate in our morning routine to ensure productivity and health. She recommended three things. First thing: hydrate. Hydrating should be the priority. Don’t go straight for the coffee. When you wake up your body is dehydrated after hours of sleep. It’s important to bring back that hydration. The second thing she recommended was avoiding your phone and social media for the first hour of your day. Use this time to have a 5-minute meditation or set intentions for the day. Bell mentioned scrolling through social media first thing in the morning can contribute to some negative feelings before the day even starts.
The last thing Bell recommended is stretching even if it’s only 15 minutes. “Many people live sedentary lives…Our postures are usually hinged over causing a lot of neck and back straining. Send the blood pumping by doing a quick full-body stretch. Also by stretching daily you are maintaining/ advancing your range of motion, which is good for our daily activities as well as for working out and gaining more flexibility.”
Christal Bell gave three simple tips that can be done in the morning, or whenever you can, to help you have a great day. These tips have nothing to do with aesthetics. They are about making you feel good, which is what a morning routine should essentially do.
Following wellness tips from influencers does not have to be a toxic thing. If you remind yourself that these influencers are curating their lives for entertainment and your way of working on yourself does not have to be like theirs to be meaningful, you will be fine. Everyone is trying to figure out the best way to live and achieve their goals, and finding a morning routine that fits is all about exploring new rituals. Whether you want to sleep in until 8 am and scroll through social media or wake up at 5 am and do an intense workout before checking your emails, you are valid.
Do you have a morning routine you would like to share with us? Do you follow any social media influencers that you get inspiration from? Please let us know in the comments below!