Have you ever had one of those days that just felt like you woke up on the wrong side of the bed and everything went downhill from there? There’s something about how we spend those first few minutes after waking that can really set the tone for the whole day. By making a few simple changes to your morning routine, you can start your day feeling refreshed, energised and on top of things – and take that feeling with you throughout your entire day.
We covered some of these in our 21 Resolutions for 2021 article, but here are 4 ways to start your day on the right foot with a morning routine.
Start the night before
We all know the importance of a good night’s sleep. Although we’ve been told that getting 8 hours a night is the goal, that’s not entirely true. What matters more than how long you sleep, is how early you get to sleep. That’s because it’s between 10pm–2am that sleep is at its deepest and most regenerative. Falling asleep after midnight means your body (and mind) misses out on valuable repair and recovery time, and you wake up feeling flat and fatigued.
Try this: Set an alarm to go to sleep no later than 10pm. Put your phone and other technology away an hour beforehand. Enjoy the extra-long, much-needed physical and mental rest.
Start with gratitude
Unfortunately, as a society, we’ve become so focused on “what’s next?”. We believe that we’ll be happy just after we get the next promotion, earn more money, lose that extra weight. It’s called the “happiness trap.” But what sages have been telling us for thousands of years, is that happiness lies not in achieving more, but in appreciating what we already have. Feeling truly grateful instantly brings us a sense of inner peace – and what could be more calming than that?
Try this: Every morning, as soon as you wake up – yes, literally as soon as you open your eyes – think of 3 things that you have in your life right now that you’re grateful for. Your dog, your bed, the fact that you have a job to go to, literally anything at all. Every day, think of 3 different things. The beauty of gratitude is: once you start noticing all the blessings in your life, you’ll find it hard to stop at just
A great way to keep the mind razor sharp is to move the body. For some, that might mean waking up for an early gym session. But it doesn’t have to be that intense. Any kind of movement counts. It can be something like taking yourself – or your dog – for a half hour walk in the morning. Getting some fresh air oxygenates our cells and soothes the mind.
Try this: If you don’t have time for a workout or a walk, simply doing some morning stretches or taking some deep breaths while standing barefoot on the grass helps get the blood flowing and calms the nervous system.
If all else fails …
If you find it challenging to incorporate any of the above into your morning routine, there’s one thing you can at least try NOT to do: reach for your mobile phone!
Checking your phone in the morning floods your senses with information that you either simply don’t need (who cares what your friends just had for breakfast?) or aren’t ready for just yet (work emails can wait!). The endless scrolling through social media overwhelms the mind, and before you know it, it’s been half an hour and now you’re stressed because you’re running late!
Try this: The best way to control your impulse to grab your phone first thing in the morning, is to remove the temptation. So, once it’s time for bed – no later than 10pm! – put your phone just out of reach. That can be in the bathroom just across from your room or the dresser under the window – basically anywhere that isn’t your bedside table.
The great thing about trying any one of these morning activities is that you’ll feel the benefits instantly. So, give them a try. And watch your entire day transform. What have you got to lose?