In a recent post, we talked about the importance of establishing a bedtime routine to help you decompress from the day and improve sleep. A bedtime routine helps to send a signal to your brain and body that it is time to rest. Morning routines are just as beneficial for your health and wellness. Establishing a morning routine will help you feel more in control of your day, it will help to increase your productivity and even your happiness.
“Drive your day or your day will drive you” is how the saying goes. Our willpower and motivation is highest upon awakening. A good morning routine sets the tone for the entire day. This may be the time to work on a goal you have set for yourself. If you want to make a lifestyle change like exercising then it might be best to make this a part of your morning routine when motivation is highest. It also allows time for “self-care” before the craziness of the day sets in. Self-care is performing activities that bring you joy or helps you to become the best version of yourself. These are the things that most often we let slip because we have run out of time. Early mornings are quiet providing the environment to more easily focus, be reflective or to meditate. Meditation comes in many forms such as deep breathing, writing in a journal or just sitting quietly to gather yourself.
So how do you establish a morning routine? Since everyone has different priorities and interests it can vary greatly among individuals. The one thing most experts agree upon is that the first hour of the day shouldn’t vary a great deal as in the choices you make or activities that you need to do. By having a routine, you won’t have to think so hard and exhaust your decision-making skills early. Another thing to consider is to be realistic with how much time you have in the morning. Start small with 15 minutes and add time as you adjust to getting up a few minutes earlier. Do not make this stressful! That is the exact opposite of what you are trying to accomplish with your routine. Here are a few suggestions to help get you started. Place a small behavior goal that you need to make a habit to achieve a bigger goal in the morning. For example, if you have an outcome-goal of improving your nutrition then eating a healthy breakfast could be part of your routine. Another would be to pick 2 or 3 items off your to do list and work on completing them early in the day. This helps you to feel successful and gives you a sense of accomplishment therefore lowering your overall stress level for the day.
Make your morning routine relaxing and simple. Begin small and be consistent with whatever activity you decide to do first thing in the morning. Experiment with different things or activities to find what will work best for you. Remember to put yourself in the driver’s seat and take control of your day.