Starting The Day Right - A Healthy Morning Routine
People often define themselves as an early bird or a night owl. For many, the task of getting up and starting the day can be chaotic and it can feel like time is getting the better of us. For others, the morning is a peaceful time with a sense of order and productivity. As soon as we wake, our mind is flooded with things we need to do. Shower, get dressed, walk to work, meetings, catching up with friends. The list is endless. A morning routine is all about how we choose to prepare ourselves for the long day ahead and isn’t it only fair to put our best foot forward?
It can be easy to shy away from the idea of a morning routine and starting something new. Routines are based on practice. The more we practice something, the better we get at it. Whilst it can be daunting to start something new, take comfort in the fact that with time it will become easier and the easier something becomes, the more likely we are to find enjoyment within it. The mornings may not be so bad after all.
What are the benefits of a morning routine?
Increased Productivity: Starting the day fresh allows us to better focus where to prioritise our time and in turn increase productivity. Productivity does not necessarily refer to the quantity of work we can achieve but the level of quality and intention.
Less Stress: It can be easy to feel stressed when we are unsure what we need to do. Creating a clear routine better prevents things from going wrong. Avoiding stress may lower the risk of developing depression, anxiety and illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.
Increased Confidence: Surprisingly, a healthy morning routine is also beneficial to our confidence. When you are in a relaxed and composed state, you naturally feel more confident. Better time management enables us to achieve goals and in turn raises self-esteem.
Improved Nutrition: People often skip breakfast as they have no time in the morning, however allocating time to eat a healthy balanced breakfast provides the body with nutrients and vitamins needed to start the day.
Eliminating Forgetfulness: Rushing about in the morning can make it easier to become forgetful. Practising a routine everyday makes it less likely to be forgetful. View it as your body and mind being in pilot mode; you have programmed it with a sequence of events that is effective and helpful.
Positive Start to the Day: When we create a morning routine, we are prioritising ourselves and our needs; breakfast, exercising or even skincare. Whatever you choose to do, give yourself the time and care in the morning that will help you feel refreshed and motivated
Tips for a Morning Routine
Creating morning habits helps prioritise our physical and mental health. A morning routine can include as many or as little steps as you like. Here are some helpful tips to get you started
From Dusk to Dawn
A common misconception about a morning routine is that it begins from the moment we wake up. There are small steps that can be taken before we sleep to make our mornings more manageable. From getting uniforms ironed and ready or preparing lunch, figure out what can be achieved the night before to optimise your time in the morning without pushing yourself too much.
Don’t Hit the Snooze Button
The sound of our morning alarms is so jarring, it can be tempting to hit snooze for those extra few minutes of precious sleep. Whilst we think it is beneficial, research shows that hitting the snooze button can actually be detrimental to our sleeping patterns. When our alarms initially go off, we are reaching the end of our REM cycle (. However, if we were to hit snooze and fall back asleep, most likely our alarms go off in the middle of a REM cycle; resulting in feelings of disorientation and fogginess.
Hitting the snooze button is usually an indicator that we aren’t well rested. This can be attributed to a myriad of physical and emotional factors. Instead of continuing to sleep in, try to address why our quality of sleep is lacking. Addressing the issue can lead to change or help if required. However, complex the issue is, the first step in fixing it is addressing it.
Make The Bed
The benefits of making the bed in the morning is not just centered around cleanliness. The simple act can impact our mental health greatly. Research has shown that living and working in clean and clutter-free environments improve our focus, encourage relaxation and reduce stress. This can be especially beneficial to those who may WFH.
A survey found that 82% of participants reported having more productive days after making their beds. Furthermore, the survey found that bed-makers were twice as likely to find their job enjoyable as opposed to those who didn't. Making your bed can be an easy first task to get you going and feel a sense of accomplishment; motivating you to do more.
A Nutritional Breakfast
What we put into our bodies greatly impacts our ability to function. Ideally, we should be having three solid meals a day, but many people living fast-paced lives often prioritise convenience over nutrition in the morning. In the mornings, it can feel that time is getting the better of us but starting the day with a boost of nutrition can help improve energy levels and make healthier decisions throughout the day.
Water is an essential in life but yet many disregard their daily intake. Water plays an important role in carrying nutrients and oxygen to our cells. Dehydration is strongly linked to poor mental performance so ensure you are drinking plenty of water to get the most out of your day.
Exercise and Stretches
The advantages of exercising are no secret. Exercise does wonders for both our mind and body but getting some movement in the morning is extra important. Exercise will help to increase our metabolism and regulate our blood pressure and heart rate. A morning workout will increase the cognitive function of our brains, leaving us feeling more focused throughout the day. Exercising also increases our appetite; helpful for those who may struggle to feel hungry when they wake up.
For some, it may be hard to fit in a full workout before work, however it is still beneficial to fit in some time for stretches. Stretching improves circulation of blood, body posture and calms the mind. Most importantly, daily morning stretches prepares muscles with power and flexibility needed for the day. Allow some time, even if it is two minutes, for some stretching, breathing exercises or even meditation. In doing so, you can be better equipped to face the trials and tribulations of the day as you begin on a positive note.
Mini Screen Time Cleanse
In today’s society, we depend heavily on technology for many aspects of our lives; work, communicating and socialising. We have become accustomed to relying on our phones that it is now usually the first thing we reach for when we wake up and from there the scrolling begins. Where possible, try to avoid the distraction of your phone or mobile devices. Most likely you will need to use some form of technology throughout the day so why not disengage and allow some time to be present with yourself before the mayhem. Unknowingly, we can spend more time on tasks such as eating breakfast whilst using our phones.
The great thing about creating a morning routine is you can personalise it to fit your needs. The best way to start is asking yourself what you want to achieve when you wake up, write it down and begin to work out a routine that incorporates all tasks in a manageable process