Some days getting up in the morning can be a real struggle, especially if you’re not a ‘morning person.’ However, developing healthy morning routines so they become automatic can help you seize the day.
Importantly, how you start your day can really affect your mindset and your mood. Do you look at your phone as soon as you wake up? Do you check your emails, calendar, social media? Are you already thinking about your ‘to do’ list? These behaviours can activate your stress response and have you feeling anxious or overwhelmed before you even really start the day.
That’s why developing healthy morning routines is important for managing stress and anxiety!
8 Morning routines
Here are eight morning habits that can help set you up for a productive and energy-filled day – whether you’re headed to work, to school or keeping the home fires burning.
1. Change your alarm sound
An alarm clock that jolts you out of bed may leave you feeling jarred and over-stimulated for the rest of the day. Instead, opt for an alarm that won’t get your heart racing the moment you open your eyes.
Try using an alarm with the sounds of nature or some soothing classical or instrumental music. You might worry that these won’t wake you up, but your brain will pick up on the sound and slowly ease the transition from sleep to wakefulness.
Try going back to a more traditional alarm clock. Mobile phones and other electronic devices emit energy fields that can disturb the quality of your sleep, so it’s best not to have them in your bedroom.
2. Drink 300ml – 600ml of water first thing
Our bodies are likely to be slightly dehydrated and more acidic when we wake up from an overnight sleep, so drinking water at the start of the day is important.
In fact, it is so important that researchers in Japan have discovered that drinking 4 x 160ml glasses of water first thing in the morning and then waiting an hour before eating breakfast, as well as waiting an hour after meals to drink water has helped improve diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses.
A small change for potentially great effects.
You might also consider adding freshly squeezed lemon juice and an alkalizing powder like Percy’s Powder or Young Living’s AlkaLime as a ‘blood tonic.’ This can help to detoxify your system and maintain a healthy pH balance. Acidity and toxicity in the body often leads to inflammation.
3. Create a 10-minute stretching routine
There are a few good reasons why this is a great way to start your day. Stretching can help loosen any stiff areas you have from poor sleeping posture or long hours at your desk. Stretching helps to stimulate energy and blood flow throughout your body, especially for your brain and vital organs.
If you consciously breathe in and out with your stretches, it also helps to oxygenate your system and mind, getting you firing on all cylinders for the day.
You could try doing a couple of rounds of ‘salutes to the sun’ if you’re a yoga fan or some simple Qi gong exercises. My yoga teacher tells us that we must stretch our quads and hamstrings every day.
Do a search on YouTube for some simple stretching routines. Even 5-10 minutes of stretching will help. Your body and mind will really thank you for developing this habit.
If you’re a morning person, you probably prefer to do your exercise first thing in the morning. However, if you wake up feeling tired and sluggish, exercise is probably the last thing you feel like doing. Even a moderate walk for 10-20 minutes can help get the blood and oxygen flowing and kick start your metabolism.
If you do moderate exercise (like a brisk walk) for 20-30 minutes, endorphins are released into your body, which help reduce your perception of pain and naturally boost your mood. Exercise also helps reduce stress hormones like cortisol. Exercise is a great way to help manage stress, which if left unchecked can lead to adrenal fatigue, weight gain, poor sleep and more.
* If you find exercise hard to fit into your day, try taking the dog for a walk, using a rebounder for 10 minutes while listening to your favourite music (great for your lymphatic system), or skipping for 5 minutes while the kids are eating their breakfast – that will get the blood pumping.
5. Eat a good, hearty breakfast
We effectively give our bodies a mini fast from the time we eat dinner, sleep and then eat breakfast. A healthy whole foods breakfast is a good way to to fuel your body and get your brain fired up for the day.
Here are some suggestions: omelette with veggies and sprinkle of cheese, green smoothies, avocado and eggs, NingXia Red superfood juice, natural yoghurt or kefir and berries.
Do a YouTube or Google search for healthy, whole foods, breakfast options if you need some more ideas.
Make sure you take the time to really taste and chew your food, as rushing through breakfast can make you feel as if you’ve skipped a meal.
By the way, there are many health benefits from fasting. If that sounds like something you’d like to try, research intermittent fasting and Dr Mosley’s 5:2 diet where two days of the week are low calorie days.
6. Express love
Make time to connect with your partner and/or kids before rushing off to work. The heart is running the show more than we realise so it’s important to keep it open to giving and receiving love. It will help start your day in the right mood and have a flow-on effect to all of your interactions throughout the day.
If you live by yourself, spend a couple of minutes reflecting on your blessings and saying prayers or sending healing thoughts to people dear to you. Even thinking about people helps us feel connected to them and opens our heart.
7. Repeat positive affirmations or intentions
Repeating a positive intention at the start of the day is a great way to enhance your mood and belief in yourself and what you can achieve.
It’s a bit like when we see someone smile. We don’t know what they’re smiling about but simply seeing a smile makes us feel better.
It’s the same with affirmations in the sense that you may not believe them fully when you start saying them, but you’ll still feel better from having said them to yourself and it at least opens your mind to the possibilities. In fact, your subconscious mind will start looking for evidence of your affirmations being true throughout your day.
8. Set a schedule for the day
This is one of the key steps recommended to have a highly productive day. Right at the start of your ‘working’ day before doing anything else, make a list of the top 5 things you need to get done in the day to achieve your goals. Prioritise them and then only focus on those tasks until they are complete.
If anything comes up during the day that has a higher priority then slot it into the appropriate position on your priority top 5. If it doesn’t have priority then just add it to the side of your list and only address it if you have time.
Starting your day on the right foot or with the right mind set will have a significant impact on the rest of your day. When you develop healthy morning routines, you’ll be heading out the door with a skip in your step, clarity of mind, a more open and loving heart, as well as feeling calm and centred.
And when done consistently over time, you’ll reap the rewards of less stress and anxiety and greater wellbeing, stamina and performance.
Let’s get connected and grounded right from the start of the day!
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