Loughborough PhD Social & Support Network

#BLOG Loughborough Doctoral Researchers’ Morning Routine

Thank you to all of you who took the survey! It was enlightening to get to know a little more about my fellow Doctoral Researchers and their morning routines!

A little preamble

Let’s get started with rather interesting statistics that I wasn’t quite expecting…

81% of those who took the survey self-identified as women

So, few options here:

  1. Loughborough Doctoral Researchers self-identifying as women tend to have a more organised morning routine then their male counterparts
  2. Loughborough Doctoral Researchers self-identifying as women are more likely to take time to fill out a survey about morning routine than their male counterparts
  3. Loughborough Doctoral Researchers self-identifying as women care a lot more about my survey than their male counterparts

I’ll let that settle…

About your morning routines

A grand total of 96% of you do have some kind of morning routine on weekdays and 74% on weekends. Now that’s interesting. I know that morning routine is rather subjective and can mean different things to different people, but nonetheless pretty much all of you have these few things that you do pretty much every morning between the time you wake up and the time you sit down (or not) and start working.

Is that good? Well, I don’t know, you tell me?
What would probably be interesting would be to compare this with undergraduate students or working professionals. But that could be a PhD on its own, so I’m going to leave it there.

Now… We’re PhD students, right? So, when we see these kinds of statistics, we may wonder if they’re valid. So yes, I personally do think that chances were that people who actually made an effort to fill out the form and tell me about their morning routine were the people who actually had some sort of morning routine. Otherwise they wouldn’t even have bothered about it.

Anyway… Let’s have a look at the details of your morning routines… For this, I basically had a look through each morning routine, looked for the most common types of “activities” you guys did in the morning and counted how many of you were doing the same activities. So here are the results…

73% of you eat before starting your working day (and it’s completely non-negotiable for some!), and 42% either have tea or coffee (and it’s just as non-negotiable) but only 15% drink water (you know that transparent liquid that looks like Vodka but isn’t quite the same?). Do Doctoral Researchers need more energy to start their day?

“First thing I want to do in the morning is eat. My day does not begin until I have eaten”

Having a shower (or even a bath for some) is part of 50% of morning routines and doing some sort of physical activity is just as present, at 46%. This included walks, bike rides, runs, yoga, stretching, going to the gym (pre-pandemic) and cardio circuits. Hopefully most of the active people do also have a shower after their session…

Spending time scrolling through your phone and on social media (Instagram and Facebook were most commonly cited) is a morning ritual for 23% of you, and the same percentage spends some time in the morning watching TV or listening to the radio (both of these were mainly cited in relation to catching up with the news).

Quite a few of you find it important to pray, meditate, journal or read in the morning.

15% of you mentioned the need to write some sort of to-do list to organise your day and make sure you know what you need to do for work and outside of work and don’t forget anything.

“I start with a coffee and cereal in bed, and some reading for about 30-40mins, before getting dressed and making my to do list. Gives me time to gather my thoughts”

Taking medication has also been mentioned by some of you as a mandatory part of your mornings.

I’m also happy to report that some of us (because yes, I’m clearly in on that one) consider that going to the loo when they wake-up is an integral part of their morning routine. I didn’t get as far as to enquire about the kind of trip to the loo…

Why a morning routine?

A lot of you mentioned that having a morning routine helped you manage your stress and kept you more relaxed and focused during the day. It’s also a great way to start the day by doing something for yourself first.

The ones who included some kind of physical activity in the morning did so for three main reasons: to wake up, to help with focus during the day and also so it’s done and dusted/because it’s just more convenient to get it done at that time.

Some even have a set morning routine that includes exercise to help manage an autoimmune condition.

Has the pandemic affected Loughborough DRs’ morning routine?

75% of you had their morning routine affected by the pandemic, which is probably to be expected.

The pandemic seems to have affected your morning physical activity the most. Lots of you had to change the type of morning exercise you performed due to both gyms and universities being closed which meant that all of you who usually walked to and from campus didn’t get your refreshing morning walk. Thus, in response to being less active throughout the day and sitting at a desk for longer periods, half of you made a conscious decision to make your mornings more active.

Morning routines have also been mentioned as a way to have time for yourself as you either moved back with your family or were spending much more time with them during the lockdown and thus didn’t get as much time on your own.

One of the positives about the current situation though (always good to find positive things in dark times whenever possible) was the opportunity for some of you to sleep more, which you found necessary to keep up with what’s currently happening.

“I need more sleep at the moment to process everything”

Of course, it has also created a lot of stress and changed not only the structure of your days, but also your sleeping pattern and thus your work schedule, and not always for the better apparently…

“The pandemic has completely ruined the structure of my typical working day”

Now, let’s have a look at what you think are good and bad habits of yours…

So, what’s next?

Quite frankly, not much.

Hopefully this article made you realise that however weird, good or bad you think your morning routine is, chances are that you’re sharing it with few other people.

It’s important to remember that everybody is different, and although it’s good to learn from others, constantly comparing ourselves to the people around us doesn’t lead to anything good. And that holds especially true during times of crisis like the one we’re going through at the moment, where everyone reacted quite differently to the new challenges that were imposed on us.

I am aware that this article does in no way reflect ALL Loughborough Doctoral Researchers lives, but I could only work with the responses I had. If you feel like your mornings look nothing like what’s been described here (e.g. DRs with caring responsibilities, disabilities…), please have a look at other articles that have been written and get in touch so we can write about it and get your voice heard.

Bonus

Question: “Anything else to add?”

Answer: “I am not a morning person!

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