It’s pretty common to see on social media, but having a morning routine can actually be extremely beneficial to getting your day started on the right note. Whether you struggle with a lack of energy, low motivation, depression, anxiety, or are just stressed, a morning routine is a great way to start the day grounded and in a positive mindset.
It’s been shown that our brains are more vulnerable in the morning after waking, thus the thoughts and actions we plant in the morning will grow throughout the day. Additionally, our brains love routines. This is why setting a morning routine in place allows the brain to adapt to positive habits that set up our day for success.
It can be difficult to start new habits, especially when it comes to anything that revolves around self-care. It may feel overwhelming or not your style, but here are some tips to create a sustainable morning routine you can actually stick to.
- Write it out.
Sit down and make a list of things that may be beneficial for you to start your day. Think of ways to help you prepare for your day and ground you in the present moment. Think of ways you can reset your body after its rest and care for your body before it brings you throughout your day.
This list may include things like a breathing exercise, meditation, journaling, saying or writing affirmations, reading, praying, reading a religious text, stretching, waking up at 6am (or other goal time), drinking warm lemon water for digestion, light yoga, walking or other movement, drinking 20 oz of water, or planning your day. Some people may need a routine as simple as “get out of bed, brush teeth, and no phone/social media.”
Don’t over complicate it and go with what feels right to you for where you are currently at. If you just need help starting your day and brushing your teeth, that is a great place to start.
- Pick 2-4 things to stick to them for one week.
Let’s be real, how many times have we said we’re going to get up early and meditate, and do it maybe once? Use this time to pick what feels important to you and make “non-negotiables”. Meaning, you’re going to stick to these few things for one week, no matter what.
Focus on just a few things to make your day a little brighter and lighter. Over time, these become habits and a solidified part of your morning. You can always add or take away from your list. Going a week with non-negotiables will help you deduce which ones you want to continue and which you can save for a later date.
- Calm yourself down.
Because the brain is more vulnerable in the morning, starting your day off calm and without stress helps to set the tone for the rest of the day. Chronic stress is one of the main causes for illness in the general population. The morning can be a wonderful time to relax the nervous system and give it a rest before the stress of the day.
Try a breathing exercise or a quick meditation. Focusing on the breath is a great way to force the nervous system into a more relaxed state and calm the stress response.
- Get sunlight.
Sunlight first thing in the morning helps to restore the circadian rhythm and naturally increase cortisol, our main stress hormone. Cortisol naturally spikes within the first 30 minutes of waking so that we have energy to start our day. It then slowly drops throughout the day and into the night, opposite melatonin which rises in the night to help the body sleep.
Both hormones are generated from the pituitary gland in the brain. Sunlight on your face first thing in the morning supports the pituitary gland to secrete both hormones in a natural circadian rhythm. Therefore, you may feel more energized in the morning and sleep better at night.
- Keep a consistent sleep-wake cycle.
The brain likes patterns and routines. A consistent sleep-wake cycle allows the brain to become more resilient to stress and adaptable to a morning routine. Waking up consistently at 7am and doing a morning routine is easier than trying to do the same routine after waking up at random times throughout the week. It has also been shown to help keep the circadian rhythm on track so it may be easier to get up in the morning.
- Keep off social media.
It’s distracting and likely not always positive. It can feed your brain negative thoughts that will stay with you throughout the day. Additionally, the blue light from the phone can disrupt your circadian-rhythm. The time when your brain is the most vulnerable shouldn’t be wasted scrolling through Instagram.
Give these tips a try and get closer to maintaining a morning routine that will set you up for a better day.
And if you’d like more support on creating a healthy morning routine and lifestyle, schedule a free consult with me.