Routine is our anchor. It reduces mental energy and conscious decision-making. By creating a healthy and beneficial morning routine, we prime ourselves for the day ahead and conserve mental energy for the bigger decisions later on. Starting with positivity and structure better equips us to deal with each situation throughout the day and sets the tone for everything that follows.
I had never really been a ‘morning person’, always feeling that an extra half hour of sleep would benefit me more than anything outside my duvet. When I began to prioritise my wellbeing, I started to love getting up slightly earlier to make time for myself. Time dedicated to working on myself, for myself. It also meant I started my day with a sense of achievement.
Creating a morning routine that makes you feel positive, motivated and calm is, for me, key to cultivating happiness. Here are a few suggestions to bring into your morning – try a few out, find what works for you and keep it consistent until it becomes a habit!
Morning routine ideas
Meditation or stillness
It doesn’t have to be sitting down and listening to a guided meditation, it can be 5 minutes of deep breathing in bed or simply 5 minutes of quiet. I listen to my meditations lying in bed, I don’t think it makes too much of a difference. But make this time for you and you only.
This sets the tone for the day and tells our mind to focus on something specific. It’s easy to go through an entire day overlooking the positives, talking negatively to ourselves and losing perspective. Repeating a mantra in the morning gives us a focus and sets an intention for where our energy should go and how we will respond to situations throughout the day. A consistent mantra is also one of the best ways to impact our subconscious mind and overcome limiting beleifs.
Taking a moment to appreciate what you have in your life and the little things can really alter your mindset, especially when written down. Over time, a gratitude practice rewires your neural pathways and trains your mind to look for the good in life. This practice can be gratitude for the big things or for the little things: a comfy pillow, the people in your life, your morning coffee, your health, the way you dealt with a certain situation, the leaves outside your window, the fact you’re alive and have a new day ahead of you… Anything! Take a moment each day to ask yourself: who are you grateful for? What are you grateful for today?
After sleeping in a tight position overnight, our bodies need to stretch out and release tension. It helps to increase blood flow and increase flexibility in muscles and joints, as well as being an opportunity for us to tune into our body and take note of any parts that feel particularly tense or tight.
A hot drink
A cup of hot water or tea helps to get the digestive system moving and rehydrates us after several hours without fluids. It’s also an opportunity to focus on being completely present and mindful.
Everyone has a different time that works for them. I try to move in the morning as I feel like I’m starting the day having already accomplished something. Plus, if I don’t exercise then I often end up putting it off and it doesn’t get done. The morning is a great time to tune into our body and prioritise ourselves before other things take precedence throughout the day. Yoga has been shown to reduce the production of cortisol (the stress hormone), leaving us feeling calmer. It took me so long to get into yoga (despite my grandma being possibly the UK’s oldest yoga teacher – she was still teaching at 93!), but I’m starting to incorporate it into my day in a relaxed way, instead of following a specific video tutorial or routine. Aside from the physical benefits, like increased strength and flexibility, it’s an opportunity to dedicate time to yourself.
Getting outside releases endorphins and puts us in a positive mood. A short walk could be part of your morning routine or a way to take a break later in the morning. It’s an opportunity to focus on being present and to appreciate the beauty in the little things around you.
And most importantly…
Treat yourself with love and respect in everything you do during the day. You are in complete control of your relationship with yourself and you can choose to empower yourself or hold yourself back in every moment.