‘Happier’ With Dave Flynn

‘Happier’

Morning Routines

My Routine

My morning routine is a stereotype of sorts, a bit of a cliche. It is the cornerstone of what makes me feel Happier. 

I am the epitome of an early bird. I rise with the birds at 5 am, no need for an alarm as my internal clock is finely tuned from consistently heading to bed around 9 pm (yes, my bedtime is like that of an 8 year old!!). 

My morning routine is quite social and involves others. Every day for the past decade I swim in the cold Irish sea at sunrise along with Steve and some other swim-risers who are there, hail, rain or snow! It is this solidarity in overcoming the collective obstacle of the cold that makes this slightly stoic habit sustainable and of course the slightly addictive endorphins that are released too!! 

morning routine
sunrise

Before or after my swim (it’s more of a dip to be honest!) I do some form of exercise and this varies depending on the day. In our twenties, Steve and I were very rigid in our approach to exercise and we did an hour of the ashtanga yoga primary series (which is pretty full on!) every morning followed by meditation. Since having kids (not together but separately!) in our 30’s we mix up our morning movement sessions and there is a lot more fun and camaraderie. 

Twice a week on average we run with friends or our brothers Mark & Darragh, usually 5-10km. Yoga sets my soul alight and I generally do this a couple of times a week, it’s my go to when I want to recharge and power up. I now do an adapted version of the ashtanga primary series that takes about 45 mins. Some mornings I don’t have that much time so I might do 15 minutes of stretching or Steve loves to do animal movements where we parade up and down the cafe floor in movement patterns like an elephant or gorilla to name a few, it’s fun and also quite tough.  


Some mornings, Raj, a good friend of ours, has us do breathwork early in the morning which floods the body with oxygen and literally helps us to ‘get high on our own supply’!  Morning movement is normally followed by coffee and chats with Raj, Harold, Jackie or whoever else is around. I usually have 1-2 decaf black coffees. You might ask yourself why decaf? Well, to make a long story short: full caffeine coffee makes me too wired and slightly insufferable!! And trust me, I can be too much for people already without caffeine!

After coffee, I make smoothies for my daughters around 7.10am and walk them to school on school days. On the walk back I often listen to a podcast or audio book that inspires me. At the moment I am listening to an audio book called Slow Productivity by Cal Newport which espouses the idea of simplifying and focusing, it’s a message I think I could do with listening to time and time again until it seeps in!!

Breakfast


For breakfast, I usually eat a big bowl of chia seed pudding with lots of delicious fruit (apple, pear, banana and some berries) and some almond butter and usually have a second brekkie around 10am (my appetite is biggest in the morning).

What’s particularly unique about my morning routine is that it is a seasonal dance with the sunrise. In the depths of winter, the sun doesn’t rise until around 8:40 am, while at the height of summer, it peers above the horizon by approximately 4:55 am. This natural rhythm forces an adaptability in my routine so that, while occasionally inconvenient, it serves as a built-in defence against monotony because I’m swimming in the sea at different times each day. It keeps my mornings fresh, dynamic, and always a bit adventurous. 

Since Fia, my 6 month old baby has arrived, my morning routine has had to adapt to include her!! I take her in the buggy in the mornings at 5am and she sleeps while I stretch or do yoga and now that she is 6 months old, she joins me for runs in a running buggy that my brother lent me. She often wakes as the sun rises on the beach to the sound of the waves, I think I am subtly trying to transfer my morning routine onto her!! 

Your Morning Routine

The key word here is “your”—this routine/ritual belongs to you. It’s tempting to try the elaborate morning rituals of celebrities and influencers, hoping for that perfect start to the day. But remember, we’re all wired differently. 

Chronotype

Consider your Chronotype, for instance—are you an early riser, a night owl, or someone who finds their stride somewhere in between? Roughly 30% of people are morning types, 30% are evening types, and the rest fall in the middle. This isn’t just a habit—it’s genetic. If you are not sure which you are just think of when you’re at your peak, be it for focused work, exercise, or simply feeling your most vibrant. Your morning routine should be tailored to your personal rhythm, as what works for me might not suit you at all.

Whether you are a busy single parent, working a demanding job or are retired, a morning routine can be 10 minutes long. The main emphasis is on intentionality and giving yourself time to power up for the day and set your day on a positive trajectory.

Making it your own

Do you have a morning routine/ritual? If you don’t it is something I really recommended consciously creating one. It doesn’t have to be perfect in any sense and as I said you can start with just a few minutes, the purpose is to make you feel better, to wake you up and unleash your positive side. 

I recommend thinking of a morning routine as the opening bars of a symphony, setting the tempo and tone for the unfolding day. When your routine resonates with your inner rhythm and intuition, it has the power to carry that harmony forward, orchestrating a day of purpose and productivity!!

I’d be honoured to hear your stories. Which rituals do you cherish with the rise of the sun? How have they shaped the narrative of your life? Share your insights with me, and together, let’s create a tapestry of inspiration from our collective morning experiences.

Next week I plan to go deeper into the fundamentals of a morning routine and what I think are the macronutrients of a morning routine and Morning Routine Principles: 5 Secret Ingredients to set you up for Success

Let’s not just start our days; let’s infuse them with peace and fortitude. How will you craft your tomorrow?

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