How to: Create the Best Morning Routine for youOct 21, 2021
You’ve most likely come across articles or videos preaching the benefits of waking up at 4 or 5 am. Although this can work for some people, morning routines can look different to everyone. Some thrive waking up before the sun, while others prefer taking it slow. The framework of your morning routine comes down to your own values and priorities.
Having an established morning routine can add structure and stability to your day, ultimately boosting productivity, focus and improving overall mental health.
Although it can be exciting to do something different each day, daily repetition reinforces positive thinking and eventually solidifies a lasting sense of confidence and self-discipline. In addition, habits, routines, and rituals allow you to feel secure and elicit a sense of purpose.
So how can you set up your morning routine for success? We’ve outlined some tips on how to get started.
1. Choose your rituals
Although often referred to interchangeably - habits, routines and rituals are all different. To break it down:
Habits are things we do unconsciously. They are automatically triggered by cues and are deeply ingrained into our day, such as buying a coffee before work.
Routines are a set of actions regularly followed. These take more conscious effort than habits, e.g. going to the gym every Monday morning.
Rituals are mindful and purposeful. They are about the action rather than the outcome. For example, going to the gym because you like the feeling of working out rather than wanting to lose two kilograms.
Rituals are important because they keep you fully engaged. As a result, you take meaningful action, focusing on the experience rather than simply going through the motions. There are a plethora of rituals you can implement into your morning routine, but to begin, try picking 1-3 and trial how they fit in with your day.
Remember: daily rituals shouldn’t be overwhelming and leave you feeling stressed. If you feel you have too much to do, cut it down.
Some rituals you can introduce:
- Meditation: A meditation practice can reduce stress and anxiety. Read more on how you can create an effective meditation routine you will stick with here.
- Journalling: Julia Cameron coined the term ‘Morning Pages’, which is the idea of handwriting three pages about whatever is on your mind every morning.
- Movement: 10 minutes of yoga or a morning stretch can help get your body moving.
- Drink some water: set up a glass next to your bed the night before and drink the whole thing first thing in the morning.
- Don’t check your phone: Not only can this procrastinate your routine, but it can also put you in a negative mental state.
- Get sunlight: Open the blinds or go outside for 5 minutes.
- Gratitude: Spend a few minutes thinking or writing out 3-5 things you are grateful for. For more ideas, head here.
- Read: Read an optimistic book, article or quote to set up your day.
- Affirmations: Choose 1-3 positive affirmations, such as “I am confident”, and repeat it to yourself in the mirror.
- Set an intention: What do you want to out of the day? E.g. compliment a stranger.
2. Pick a bed and wake time
The best way to formulate a healthy morning routine is to choose a consistent bed and wake time. That's because waking up and falling asleep at the same time sets your internal clock, or circadian rhythm, which makes for better quality sleep. Ideally, pick a time that allows you enough space to add rituals and routines.
For example, imagine you start work at 9 am, and it takes you 30 minutes to get there. You want to do a 20-minute workout and a 10-minute meditation routine. You also need 30 minutes to do your routines, such as making your bed, eating breakfast and brushing your teeth. If you did everything to the second, you could manage to get up at 7:30. But realistically, sometimes unexpected circumstances arise, so you decide to give an extra 15 minutes, which brings you to 7:15.
Now, calculate how many hours of sleep you need and figure out your bedtime. The recommended amount of sleep for adults is 7-9 hours per night, so if you aim for 8 hours of sleep and wake up at 7:15, you want to be fully asleep by 11:15 pm at the latest.
Try not to hit snooze. If you find yourself consistently hitting the snooze button, consider readjusting your expectations of what you can achieve in the morning. If you need more rest or need to cut down the number of things you do in the morning, don’t be afraid to change it.
3. Add mindfulness to your routine
You can turn your routines into rituals by adding mindfulness. Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present and aware of where you are and what you’re doing. It helps reduce stress, improve performance, and gain compassion.
Mindfulness helps daily routines become more meaningful. For example, if you usually rush to eat breakfast in the morning, try setting aside a few more minutes each morning to sit down without a phone or other stimuli and fully immerse yourself in the experience. Notice the taste, texture, temperature and physical sensations of eating, chewing and swallowing. Being more mindful in daily activities can help you slow down and enjoy them more.
If you’ve got kids, introduce simple mindful activities with them throughout the day. Find out the best ways to do that here.
A morning routine can help you gain a more positive outlook on life, but in order to have a good morning routine it's best to have a solid sleep routine. A good night's sleep helps you stay more focused, calm, and energetic throughout the day.
To find out how you can achieve a high quality sleep, have a look at our online sleep course. Find it here.