Why do we have morning routines?
Most of us use a morning routine to start our day off on the right foot. We might make our bed as soon as we roll out of it, then jump in a steaming hot shower, followed by a nice cup of coffee. Some of these actions may even feel habitual, but why do we tend to follow the same pattern every morning?
Routines and habits put less strain on our brains. Since our brain is able to anticipate what we’re doing, it can reserve energy for future decisions. Have you ever noticed that when you accidentally sleep in, your mind is racing as you try to determine what elements of your morning you can cut so that when you get to work, you’re already feeling exhausted? This is because your brain has had to work overtime in the time it normally gets to rest.
On the flip side, in the mornings when you give yourself enough time to get ready, you might complete your routine with a more reflective and ritualistic approach. (If you want to understand the difference between morning habits, routines, and rituals, Ness Labs explains it well in their article!) You’ll find that you feel mentally and emotionally stable, and are more likely to have a great day.
How to create a morning routine
Wake up at the same time every day
When you wake up at the same time every day, regardless of when you go to bed, you help your body’s circadian rhythm. This is what helps you feel tired at night and most energetic during the day.
If you wake up at inconsistent times, your body is unsure of when to release melatonin in the day, making you more likely to experience sleep deprivation or develop.
Instead of sleeping late on weekends, wake up around your usual time and have a late-morning nap. This maintains your sleep cycle while still allowing yourself a blissful weekend rest.
Make your bed
As soon as you crawl out of bed in the morning, turn around and make it. This gives you a sense of accomplishment first thing in the morning, which will boost your mood and set you up to have a great day. You’re also more likely to sleep better at night when you crawl into a nicely made bed as compared to one covered in crumpled sheets.
Drink a glass of water
Before having your morning coffee, have a glass of water as soon as you wake up. This replenishes your body, makes you more alert, and it starts your metabolism.
Put effort into your appearance
Regardless of what your style is, you have probably noticed that on the days that you put an effort into your appearance, you feel better about yourself and you have a great day. Put on clothes that make you feel good and take an extra five minutes to style your hair. This small bit of extra grooming will go a long way in having a good day.
Break your fast
Eating something in the morning is a great way to allow you to sustain energy levels throughout the day. Find a consistent time to eat that works for you, whether it is when you first wake up or if it’s an hour after you get ready. You know your body best.
When eating in the morning, be sure to eat foods that you like, regardless if they are typical “breakfast foods” or not. There is no rule that says you can’t eat spaghetti first thing in the morning or have a series of small snacks every half hour or so.
Get your body moving
One of the best ways to have a great morning is to incorporate physical activity into it. It doesn’t have to be a long, strenuous workout, but even stretching for five minutes will be enough to get your blood flowing and work out any kinks from sleeping.
It is also a great idea to start your morning with a walk outside. Fresh air invigorates you and helps you to settle and focus for the rest of the day.
Other than stretching or walking, you could always try cycling, an early-morning yoga class, or even a 7-minute HIIT video. Find what type of exercise you genuinely enjoy and incorporate that into your mornings.
Set aside time for yourself
Mornings are a wonderful opportunity to set time aside for yourself. Even if it’s just five minutes, do something that revitalizes you, from making a homemade coffee to meditating, to journaling. Even just looking out the window while taking a few deep breaths is a great chance to enjoy a moment for yourself, which is important to keep your mental health strong.
A consistent morning routine is important
Consistency is key.
As we mentioned before, having a consistent morning routine reduces stress and sets the tone for the entire day. You’re also more likely to be productive when you follow your morning routine, as you’ve already accomplished several small tasks, which carry you through the day.
Take some time to determine what you want your mornings to look like, try it out, and adjust until you find the perfect routine for you.
Maybe you need to wake up fifteen minutes earlier, or you will be able to sleep an extra ten minutes by deleting Facebook from your phone. Your perfect morning routine is just waiting for you to discover it!
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Written by Kayla Willsey