Your Morning Routine Matters: Here Are Six Practical Tips to Start It Off Right
There is no greater act of self-love than beginning the day with gentle, meditative intentions. Developing a morning ritual better allows us to control our schedule rather than letting the ebb and flow of the day control us. As we approach each day with an agenda to prioritize time in a way that is nourishing for both the mind and body before we begin any large tasks, our productivity is bound to increase. Hearing the words “morning” and “routine” together can often bring to mind those intimidating anecdotes about those 4 AM gym fanatics and avid bullet journalists, but no fear—we have six practical steps to share with you that can transform mornings from a source of stress and anxiety to the most lovely and peaceful part of your day.
Start off slow: Beginning your morning leisurely is a great way to show your body respect as soon as your triggering wake-up alarm rings. Instead of reaching to check any missed notifications and scrolling first thing, take a moment to allow yourself a deep stretch, play a calming morning playlist, or pull back your curtains and blinds to let in some natural light. Make getting up as soon as your alarm goes off habitual, instead of hitting snooze. This can take some getting used to and may require going to sleep or waking up earlier, to allow yourself time to take it easy rather than rushing to get out the door.
Practice mindfulness early with 5’s: Meditation can be a daunting task, especially because there are a plethora of ways it can be defined. Mindfulness can be as easy as simply taking a few deep breaths and acquainting yourself with your five senses: sight, taste, touch, smell, and hearing. Try 5-5-5 breathing: inhaling for 5 seconds, holding your breath for 5 seconds, and exhaling for 5 seconds. Repeat this process 3 times (1 minute total). Next, pick out 5 things you can see, taste, touch, smell, and hear. By generally acknowledging the present, you will feel more grounded and concentrated.
Limit screens: This is one we have all heard repeatedly, but continue to neglect to cultivate. We know excessive screen usage has links to a more depressed, anxious, and less-focused state but have become used to reaching for a screen to remedy boredom or uneasiness. To break this habit, it is helpful to substitute watching TV or scrolling, for listening to music or an uplifting podcast or audiobook. If you need to check any notifications, make it a goal to wait until after breakfast. Put it in your schedule if you have to!
Drink plenty of water and have a nourishing breakfast: After 6-8 hours of rest without water, our bodies are extremely dehydrated. Drinking 1-2 glasses of water as soon as you wake up can be beneficial for your skin, vitamin absorption, and overall wellness. In addition to staying hydrated, a wholesome breakfast is key. Eating a nourishing meal will increase mental focus and provide the energy we need to get us through the morning. Choose slow-digesting carbs to keep you fuller longer like grains, fruits, nuts, and seeds. This is also a perfect time to focus on mindful eating. Ditch the screens and divert all of your mental energy on how your food makes you feel: what individual flavours can you taste in your meal, how does it smell, what sound does your eating utensil make when it makes contact with your plate or bowl?
Move around: Moving your body in the morning with just a few simple stretches or gentle exercise can increase blood circulation, reduce water retention, and release endorphins. Pick a handful of stretches or a few light exercises that feel the best and most beneficial for you.
Journal or plan out how you want your day to look: As humans, we inherently rely on structure, and COVID-19 has completely thrown this reliance out the window. Even if you are simply going to be working from home all day or don’t have any particular plans, writing down a general structure for the day will allow you to feel at ease just by giving yourself a sense of direction.
There you have it—a foolproof list of morning habits that will set you on track toward a healthier and happier you. And if you have other healthy habits in mind that you want to take on, go ahead—add them to your list!
Written by: Molly Brown