‘Mornings’ … a word that invokes a sense of peace for some people and a state of anxiety for others!
We all know at least one person who manages to bounce out of bed before dawn, accomplish half of their ‘to-do list’, fit in a yoga practice, and leave the house by 8 am impeccably groomed.
That, my friend, is definitely not me!
Becoming a new Mom at 40 capitulated me ceremoniously out of my relaxing morning yoga practices into a whirlwind of 5 am get-ups, blurry-eyed coffees, and spoonfuls of oatmeal hurtling towards the kitchen wall.
Kids or not, for many of us mornings can feel like a mad scramble.
One of the best decisions I made for my own well-being was to create a sustainable Healthy Morning Routine.
Whether you have 20 minutes or two hours to dedicate to yourself, having a plan is key.
Keep reading for:
- The Importance of Rituals
- & 10 ideas to help you create the Best Morning Routine for YOU! …
The Importance Of Rituals For The Best Morning Routine
Rituals add routine and meaning to your morning and help set the tone for your day.
Whether it’s lighting your favorite candle, unrolling your mat, making the bed, or enjoying a hot cup of tea, there is something so comforting about starting your day quietly going through your own self-care checklist.
To create your own rituals, rather than copying someone else’s morning routine, take some time to reflect on the things that help you feel grounded and relaxed.
Decide how much time you can dedicate in the morning and plan two or three rituals that you can complete every day, preferably in the same order.
Creating a Healthy Morning Routine is a very personal process and something that will be totally unique to you!
#1: Make The Bed
Ok so I know you’ve heard this before but a friendly reminder …
Making the bed may seem like a small and insignificant task, but it can have a positive impact on your day, improving your sense of well-being as well as giving you a sense of accomplishment.
It’s a simple task that can be completed right away, giving you the satisfaction of ticking something off your ‘to-do’ list.
Making the bed can also help you feel more productive and motivated to tackle other tasks throughout the day.
It’s a ‘quick win’ that can give you much-needed momentum to keep going.
A neatly made bed can make your bedroom feel more organized and less cluttered, helping to reduce stress and making it easier to relax and sleep better at night.
Making the bed can also be part of good sleep hygiene habits.
By making your bed in the morning, you’re more likely to resist the temptation to climb back into bed during the day, which can disrupt your sleep schedule and affect your quality of sleep at night.
#2: Gratitude Journalling
Gratitude Journalling has been a complete game-changer for my own mental health and well-being; so much so that I now teach it at all of my yoga retreats and teacher trainings.
Stepping into gratitude as soon as you wake is an incredibly profound experience which can be both grounding and humbling.
I keep my gratitude journal by the side of my bed and upon waking, list 5 things I am grateful for beginning with the sentence “I am so very grateful …”, which becomes a mantra for my day.
There are a wealth of scientific studies which support the numerous benefits of gratitude journalling:
A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that participants who wrote about things they were grateful for each week experienced more positive emotions, were more optimistic about the future, and reported fewer physical symptoms than those who wrote about problems or neutral events (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
A study published in the journal NeuroImage found that participants who practiced gratitude journalling for eight weeks showed changes in brain activity in areas associated with positive emotions, empathy, and regulating emotions (Kyeong et al., 2019).
#3: Personal Grooming
Personal grooming is an important aspect of self-care.
When we take time to physically ready ourselves for the day, whether that’s showering, applying skincare or getting dressed for the day, we honour ourselves by taking care of our physical appearance and hygiene.
Your personal grooming rituals will be individual to you.
As a busy working Mom, changing into my ‘daytime clothes’ does wonders for my productivity and self-esteem, even on the days when I don’t leave the house.
If you enjoy your 10-minute skincare routine, applying a little make-up or styling your hair, factor in time to do so.
Your personal grooming choices should help improve your self-esteem by making you feel more confident and comfortable in your own skin.
When we take care of our appearance, we feel better about ourselves, and this can have a positive impact on our overall well-being.
#4: A Nourishing Breakfast
Enjoying a nourishing breakfast can set you up for the day, providing energy after a long period of fasting overnight.
Studies have shown that eating a hearty breakfast can help improve cognitive function and reduce stress by stabilizing our blood sugar.
I like to prepare my breakfast the night before where possible to help me make healthy choices and save time. Some ideas that my toddler also loves:
- Overnight oats
- Coconut chia pudding
- Protein smoothies
- Vegan breakfast quesadillas
We can also incorporate mindfulness into our breakfast ritual…
Sitting down to eat, turning off any electronic devices and focusing on the smell, taste and texture of our food can help us to become truly present whilst eating.
#5: Using Positive Affirmations
A good friend of mine is known for her colourful bathroom mirror!
Each week she writes positive affirmations on bright sticky notes and puts them all over her bathroom mirror so they are the first thing she sees when she wakes and the last thing she sees before she goes to bed.
Positive affirmations can be a powerful tool for improving your mindset.
First, identify any negative self-talk. The first step in using positive affirmations is to notice when you are thinking negatively about yourself or your abilities.
Once you’ve identified your negative self-talk, create positive affirmations that counteract those negative thoughts. For example, if you often think “I’m not good enough,” create an affirmation like “I am worthy and capable.”
Repeat your affirmations to yourself daily in a meaningful way. You can say them out loud, write them down, or create visual reminders like sticky notes.
Positive affirmations can help you shift your mindset and provide motivation to take action toward your goals. Use your affirmations to inspire and guide you toward your desired outcomes.
Even if just for 5 minutes every morning, sit quietly with yourself to ground into your morning and prepare for the day ahead.
Apps like Headspace are amazing for those who prefer guided meditation but even a few minutes of conscious breathing can really set the tone for the rest of your day.
Staying hydrated is essential as water is involved in many critical functions in the body, from regulating body temperature to keeping joints well lubricated.
The amount of water needed varies from person to person depending on factors such as age, activity level, and climate, but a general guideline is to drink at least eight large glasses of water per day.
I recently bought a large half-gallon water bottle which is equivalent to 64oz or eight large glasses. The last thing I do at night is to fill my water bottle and place it by the side of my bed so I’m good to go in the morning!
#8: Limit Social Media
There is now a ton of research that discusses the negative effects of social media on mental health, such as increasing the likelihood of anxiety and depression.
Scrolling through social media first thing in the morning can expose you to negative news or stressful content, which can set the tone for your entire day.
By avoiding social media in the morning, you can reduce your exposure to stress and negativity and instead start your day with a clear and focused mind.
Social media can also be a major distraction and lead us down an invisible rabbit hole only to emerge hours later! By avoiding social media in the morning, you can use that time to focus on more important tasks, such as exercise, meditation, or planning your day.
If possible, make a promise to yourself to not look at your phone for the first hour of your day.
#9: Move Your Body
Exercising in the morning has so many benefits that can help kick-start your day and improve your overall health and well-being.
Morning exercise can help kick-start your metabolism and release endorphins increasing energy and focus improving your mood and mental clarity.
Studies have also shown that exercising in the morning can help you establish a healthy routine and set a positive tone for the rest of your day helping you make more conscious choices.
Moving your body doesn’t have to mean a 60-minute full power vinyasa flow class.
A walk outside or a gentle stretch is just as effective as a HIIT workout for your sense of well-being.
The key here is to choose something enjoyable and manageable within the time you have created. Consistency is key!
#10: The Sticky Note ‘To-Do’ List
For those who get overwhelmed by endless ‘to-do’ lists this one is for you!
Ideally, before you go to bed each night, create your ‘to-do’ list for the next day. Focus on one main task, one ‘quick win’ and one ‘nice to have’.
Write them all on one single sticky note. If they don’t fit, your list is too big!
The next morning if possible, start with your ‘quick win’ to give you that much-needed motivation to tackle your main task for the day.
Having the best morning routine can have numerous benefits for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
When we carve out time for ourselves and engage in the rituals that help us feel grounded and ready for the day we show up as the best version of ourselves.
For ‘yoga specific’ best morning routine inspiration, take a look at this wonderful article by Laia Bove for yogajala.