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What I Learned From Following a TikTok Morning Routine for Five Days

Like many other people over quarantine, I became obsessed with TikTok.  The app was the perfect escape. Here, I could lose myself in countless funny videos that were curated for me on my For You Page (FYP).  Months later, I still go on TikTok regularly, but besides entertaining, mindless videos, I now have started to get self-care and self-help related videos on my FYP.

I think TikTok has a great understanding–maybe too much so–of my mental health and what I need.  Lately, in my last semester of college, I have started to feel stuck.  Stuck in this in-between time where I am waiting to hear back from law schools and waiting to see where I will end up next year, while also experiencing conflicting emotions about leaving the safety of both a school and area that have become my home.  Sometimes I feel very ready to leave college and, other times I can’t see myself as a real adult yet.  This is why when this TikTok came up on my FYP talking about a morning routine to raise your vibrations and make you more productive, I decided to try it for five days to see if it would make a difference and get me out of my rut. Here is how incorporating this routine into my daily life made me feel.

Day 1

The original video I found on TikTok included making your bed, doing your hygiene routine (washing your face, brushing your teeth etc.), hydrating, meditating, journaling and exercising. I took these steps (except meditating) for all five days.  To me, journaling plays the same role as meditating.  It allows me to zone out, relax and get my emotions out in a healthy way.  Looking back, I probably should have tried meditating, as it can be nice to quiet your mind, but now all I can do is try it out in the future and see if it works for me. On the first day of trying out this new routine, I wasn’t worried it would be too difficult to implement into my daily life because I already do a lot of these things on my own every day. I decided to also add two extra things to the routine.  These two things were wake up no later than 10:30 a. m. and read at least 20 minutes every day. On the first day, I accomplished every part of the routine and ended the day feeling content and at peace.  For the first time in a while, I felt more in control of my life and my emotions. I was excited to see what the rest of these days would bring.

Day 2

Even though day one went amazingly, I am still human and reverted back to my old ways. I woke up late at 11 a.m., didn’t make my bed or have any breakfast. I did still exercise, complete my hygiene routine, journaled and hydrated. I felt disappointed at myself for going back to patterns I was trying to break away from, but I learned I need to give myself grace. Somedays if all we do is get up and eat, that is enough. It’s important to listen to your body and not expect change overnight.

Day 3

Day three was came on the weekend, which led to more trouble for my new schedule. I let myself sleep in again and didn’t do anything much differently than the previous day.  I was kind of upset with myself for not following through with this new routine I wanted to incorporate into my life, but after talking to other students at the University of Florida, I felt better about not sticking to my intended schedule.

When I asked Natalie Hernandez, a 21-year-old behavioral and cognitive neuroscience junior, if she had a routine she completed every day, she said, “Honestly, my morning routine usually depends on when I have class. I lay in bed for two hours on my phone, and then I eat lunch because it’s too late for breakfast. I light a candle and do class work in the living room.”

After telling me this, I chuckled, as her response was so refreshingly candid and reflective of the reality of many college students’ lives.  Hernandez further spoke about how she would love to have a routine in her life to help improve productivity, but she’s not great at sticking to routines.  Hearing someone else express this made me feel less guilty about slipping and not sticking to my new daily schedule.

Day 4

I started to commit more to the routine on this day. I did everything on the list of activities to complete except journaling.  But I also didn’t really feel the need to journal as I wasn’t feeling particularly anxious or like I had anything new to write about. I realized on this day I didn’t have to follow everything the TikTok mentioned to a tee.  Having a morning routine is all about improving your mood, productivity and overall day.  Only you can know what you need to do on a day-to-day basis. Brittney Miller, a 22-year-old journalism and biology senior, understands this.

“I prioritize my morning routine when my mental health isn’t that great because it gives me some sort of control. I don’t need to be as stringent with it when I’m feeling good,” Miller said.

I share similar feelings as to why I wanted to start having a productive morning routine.  Miller’s comment made me realize one’s morning routine should be flexible.  It’s great to have a set list of things to complete every morning, but some days we might not need or want to complete everything on our lists, and that’s fine. I think knowing why you want to implement a new morning schedule will help one understand what they need on a day-to-day basis.

Day 5

I ended my last day on a high note. I did everything the video instructed me to and felt good about ending this experiment in a positive manner. At the end of these five days, I realized I really enjoyed getting up early and feeling as if I was starting my day off in a productive manner.  On this last day, I also learned to have more fun with my journaling.  When listing what I was grateful for, I wrote down fun, little things that made my day, like discovering a new entertaining show on Netflix, instead of more obvious yet important things like my family and health. It was a challenge to make this routine fit into my life, but I did, and it did make a difference in how I felt at the start of the day.

Overall, after trying this TikTok morning routine, I learned that there is something to be said about trying to stick to doing the same productive things every morning.  However, we are all human and are bound to have some days where we need or just want to sleep in, relax and not feel pressured to be productive. After five days of attempting to wake up early, journal, exercise and the like, I can say I did feel my mental health and overall demeanor improve. I think the parts of the routine that most helped me and that I enjoyed were working out, journaling and making my bed.  Something as small as making your bed can truly make a difference in feeling as though you are ready to tackle the day instead of feeling like hiding under the comfort of one’s covers. I recommend trying to implement a morning routine into your life.  Make sure to also keep in mind that it’s okay to not feel up to completing it every day.  Make it work for you and your life.

Caroline is a fourth-year sociology major at the University of Florida. She is from south Florida and loves to travel, cook, read, and listen to true crime podcasts.
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