Since we’re all cooped up at home, your schedules might end up a bit more relaxed. You should be getting your well-deserved rest, and while getting ready in the morning is different from what you usually do, a morning routine can help kickstart your day. It’s not about waking up at 6 a.m. to run on a treadmill for an hour, it’s about coming up with a routine that helps you feel motivated and energized. If you want to know more about how to do it, look no further!
Designing A Morning Routine For Success & Happiness
When I ask most people if they have a morning routine, the response is often something like this: ‘I have the same routine for weekdays: alarm set to as late as possible, snoozing twice then stumbling out of bed. After my shower, I get dressed and grab breakfast and coffee to-go, then start my commute to work.’
‘What about the weekends?’ I would ask.
‘On weekends my morning routine is sleeping in.’ would be the usual reply.
I should specify that the morning routine I am referring to is a conscious one. A process of actions designed with intention and adhered to with discipline, to set you up in the best way possible to have a powerful day. A research by Dr. Steve Kay from University of Southern California, looked into the body’s ‘master clock’ and found out that most adults perform best cognitively in the late morning. Your working memory, alertness and concentration gradually improves. By standardizing the first one to two hours of your routine, you will arrive at that peak in the best possible mindset.
Creating a consistent morning routine also acts as a root which gives you a sense of stability and normalcy, which will be helpful when you’re going through periods of change, uncertainty, or any other tumultuous emotions. A habitual morning routine can be valuable if you are one of the many people who struggle with anxiety upon waking up; it can be relieving to be able to just switch on autopilot and not have to think about what is the best thing to do, generating that crucial initial momentum. According to what’s called the endowment effect, if you’ve already started the day by moving your life forward, you have established positive momentum, and are more likely to keep doing positive things.
It is important to understand that the right morning routine is not a “one glove fits all” situation. Everyone finds different benefits from different things, and not to mention, everyone needs different things at different times in their lives. Therefore, it is suggested that you experiment with various actions and orders, repeating them for a few days in a row and paying close attention to any beneficial or detrimental impacts of each aspect.
A good way to start figuring out what to include in your morning routine is to make a list of all the areas in your life which you want to move forward in, and list one “small win” you could do in each. These categories could be: diet, intellectual, fitness, spiritual, and emotional. I will expand on some possible small wins to accomplish for each category, for adults and children. Note, it is recommended to prepare things you may need the night before, so that you don’t start your day being distracted with chores.
Drink a large glass of water as soon as you wake up. After hours of sleep, your body becomes dehydrated. Drinking water upon waking helps increase the flow of oxygen, and aids in the production of muscle and blood cells. It can boost your body’s metabolism by about 24%, which can aid in maintaining a healthy weight. Water helps your body flush out toxins. Your brain is 76% water. When you’re dehydrated, your brain is operating on low fuel. This can cause you to feel tired, drained, may lead to headaches, and you may even experience mood fluctuations.
Eat a healthy breakfast. If you are a happy intermittent faster, then this option is not for you. However, many people experience a lot of benefits from eating a nutritious breakfast. I’d suggest not looking at screens whilst eating breakfast, so you can be fully present. Note: it is strongly recommended to not include cane sugar in your breakfast, because it will cause your blood sugar to spike, then drop suddenly. A healthy, balanced breakfast is a necessity for children as it improves concentration, focus, and mood.
Read for 30 minutes. Reading has been shown to reduce the chance of dementia and Alzheimer’s, as well as reducing stress and anxiety, and raising your IQ. If you read a book for 30 minutes every morning, that will add up to about 24 books in a year on average. If you prefer to read an article or listen to a podcast, both will also give you a nice feeling of intellectual accomplishment.
Stretch or Yoga. Stretching in the morning is a great option if you suffer from stiffness, especially if you play sports or spend a lot of time sitting during the day. Yoga is also great for calming the nervous system and clearing the mind. You can find plenty of stretching and yoga routines online.
Workout. Some people really enjoy full-on sweating first thing. The benefits of exercise include managing your weight, reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, strengthening your bones and muscles, and improving your mental health and mood.
Meditate. Meditation rewires your brain in the same way lifting weights or exercising rebuilds your muscles. A regular meditation practice increases ability to focus, creativity, and ability to deal with stress. There are many guided meditation apps to help you learn how, such as Insight Timer and Head Space.
Journal. Journaling about how you’re feeling can be very powerful if you are experiencing an emotionally charged time in your life. Starting the day by writing your thoughts down on paper can bring a lot of clarity and a sense of relief.
Art. If you are more of a drawing fan, doing art for 30 minutes can be a good way to switch on your creativity for the day. Art is a form of expression and can leave you feeling happy after some time drawing.
These ideas are just a few out of the plethora of possibilities that you could experiment with. You might find it interesting to google the morning routines of people who you admire and try out some of their specific behaviors. For example, Tony Robbins starts everyday with jumping into an ice-cold plunge pool, as he says it helps him develop his self-discipline and shows his hedonistic mind who is boss! If you are intrigued by that, then why not try a cold shower? Oprah starts her morning by twirling around and dancing, which lifts her spirits and sets her emotional tone off with joy. It is advised to go to bed earlier so that you can comfortably wake up and allow 1.5-2 hours for your morning routine. Everyone can be a “morning person” with the right routine!