What is the healthiest morning routine?
Waking up every morning with a sense of calm and contentment is entirely possible when you have established a routine of positive daily habits.
How we wake up and start the day can significantly impact our morning, and the accumulative effect in the long term can improve our overall health and wellbeing.
The healthiest morning routine is one that works for you, supporting your health and lifestyle goals while preparing you for the day ahead. For example, daily habits like waking early, going for a run, eating a well-balanced breakfast and walking to work would appear an ideal scenario of calm, balance and happiness that restores and revitalises our health and mental wellbeing, but it’s not the same for everyone.
How do I begin creating healthy daily habits?
Athletes, leaders and others who strive toward high performance believe that positive daily habits are the foundation of their success. In Brendon Burchard’s bestselling book, High-Performance Habits, he explains how these exceptional individuals can perform at a higher level than others: by developing positive habits. But these habits are just for elite performers; they are often simple yet impactful ways to improve performance for anyone who adopts them.
To begin with, we’d suggest starting with small incremental changes. Grand gestures rarely stick and can be too much all at once, increasing feelings of overwhelm, so start by making small gradual changes to develop daily habits. Think about things like planning your breakfast, setting time aside for a quick run or 10 minutes of meditation before getting out of bed, or even packing your bag ready for work the night before.
A little preparation goes a long way
Preparing yourself mentally and physically will help you achieve your health and wellbeing goals. Let’s think about what you want to change. What do you want to achieve? A smoother morning? Better peace of mind? Clarity and focus in your thoughts? Reduced stress or anxiety? More mobility for your joints and muscles?
Make a list of what you want to achieve with your daily habits, and then think about how you can do it. Keep your list handy for the first few weeks until your routine and habits and established.
Some people keep a list beside their bed while others leave post-it notes around the house to remind them of what to do next. Again, whatever works for you is best!
Here’s our list of top 6 things to help you create a healthy morning routine to improve your health and wellbeing.
- Start the night before
Nothing sets you up better than a little preparation the night before to create a calm and relaxed morning, whether it’s a work or rest day ahead. You’ll feel content getting into bed that you have planned a smooth morning and done what you can to prepare ahead of time.
If it’s a work day: Get your lunch made, bag packed, and clothes picked out for the following day.
If it’s a rest day: Switch off your alarm, leave a glass of water beside your bed and make sure you have your favourite beverage ready for the morning. Write down any errands you need to run, including any calls or appointments you have.
2. Waking up
Get up as soon as your alarm goes off, you’ll feel better for it, and it won’t put you behind before the day has even begun. Stretch and yawn and help your body to rise by taking in a few deep breaths to awaken the senses. Open the curtains, ideally open a window and breathe the fresh air. The natural light will help your body adjust and gently shift your brain from night to daytime.
According to research, the practice of meditation can help reduce stress, decrease feelings of anxiety and improve your overall health and wellbeing. Even 10 minutes per day will help you establish an initial habit of doing it, as you gradually work towards a longer practice of up to 30 mins per day.
Begin by sitting quietly without distraction or noise and take a few slow, deep breaths and clear your thoughts. Try to wind down and gently relax into your body. Feel the air enter your lungs and listen to the sound of your breath. Now simply continue to breathe normally while you sit peacefully, listening to your breath: in and out repeatedly. Try not to think about anything; just listen to the sound of your breathing. This daily habit should become easier and more relaxing as you continue your practice.
This is a simple daily habit to establish but is often easily forgotten too. The practise of showing and sharing gratitude can easily be woven into your day because you can do it anytime and anywhere. Ideally, you could find 5 minutes each morning to write your thoughts of appreciation in a gratitude journal, but life isn’t always ideal, so…
While brushing your teeth, ask yourself, ‘What am I thankful for this morning?’
Driving to work, remember to appreciate those around you, the car you drive, the blue sky, the fresh air, and the incredible body you have that carries you through the day.
When you’re feeling annoyed you have to wait in the queue to pay for your breakfast, shift your mindset and be thankful that you can buy food; you have a shop filled with wonderful food stuffs to nourish your body, be grateful that you live in a place where it’s safe.
These are just a few moments during your morning when you can show gratitude and shift your mindset from negative thoughts and behaviours to positive ones.
Exercising the body is a great daily habit to get into at the start of each day. You don’t even need the gym; you can choose from a run, swim, cycle or an online exercise class from the comfort of your living room. However, if you prefer the company of others or taking a class is what you love, then go for it. Whatever works for you is best as it will help you establish the habit and prevent breaking it.
Remember, whatever you choose should stretch the body and raise your heart rate a little, which will help improve your physical health and immune system.
6. No devices
…until you’ve completed at least the first 4 steps above, ideally all 5.
I know, just imagine a morning without devices; it’s hard, isn’t it? BUT, the benefits to our brain upon waking up without immediately plugging in are overwhelming.
Those who have tried it report experiencing increased focus, productivity, a better quality of sleep, lower stress and improved mental health.
While we disconnect from the tech, we can reconnect better with ourselves and others around us. It improves our connectivity and communication with others by developing our self-awareness and giving us the time and space to build our emotional intelligence.
Remember, your healthiest morning routine is your choice. Find what works for you but try and maintain the habits for at least 30 days, by which time you will have established them as routine rather than optional. Start small and gradually increase your time on each one to help maintain and improve good health and positive emotional wellbeing.