The hot new entry in the self-help genre is the morning routine, writes Marina Koren at the Atlantic. You've surely come across some: Successful people describing how they get up at dawn (or earlier) to work out, meditate, make matcha tea, go for a walk, drink raw goat milk ... and on and on. The idea is that mornings are a sacred time for you—not your job, your partner, or even your kids. It's a time to reflect, recharge, re-everything before the grind of the day begins. As a self-described "morning-challenged" person, Koren says she has read about these routines with envy and tried to implement them without much luck. The snooze button always seems to win. But she also writes that this might be OK, too, and that people need to stop stressing to mimic the (likely exaggerated) morning routines of others.
"It makes sense to wake up 30 minutes earlier than usual because you want to fit in some yoga, an activity that you enjoy," writes Koren. "But something sinister seems to be going on if you feel that you have to wake up 30 minutes earlier than usual to improve your well-being, so that you can also work 60 hours a week, cook dinner, run errands, and spend time with your family." We live in a culture "obsessed with self-optimization," not to mention one in which some people don't have the wealth or the time to indulge themselves in this way. Koren interviews various experts on the subject and suggests she might take one's advice: "I would be better off embracing my scattered mornings and pinpointing the bits and pieces I could simplify, rather than mimicking someone else’s morning routine, no matter how nice it looks from the outside." Read the full piece. (Read more self-help stories.)