Do you set multiple alarms in the morning, or do you need to be forcibly pushed to leave the comfort and protection of your duvet? As tempting as it can be to sleep in, many of us forget how precious the mornings are. Establishing a morning self-care routine is the start of ensuring a successful and productive day.
You regularly see these people who claim to do a million things before they head off to work or out for the day, things that any regular person can’t even hope to achieve in this time. But there are a number of short things that anyone can do to enhance their morning routine, from a spot of yoga to going for a brisk walk with the dog.
Subconsciously, many of us probably have a morning routine, but this guide is here to ensure that yours is as beneficial as it can be – setting you up for a positive day.
A great morning routine begins the night before, starting with a quality night’s sleep. Don’t think that you can squeeze in one more episode of the box set you’re watching, get into bed and ensure that you are getting at least seven hours of sleep a night.
Missing out on that magic number can mean that your health suffers, as well as meaning you miss out on a number of other benefits.
Sleep helps you to manage your appetite; if you are deprived of sleep your brain will release chemicals to trigger hunger and can lead to you eating more and subsequently gaining weight.
It also helps to stimulate your immune system into releasing compounds called cytokines, which help to fight infection.
When you wake up, having to make your lunch can be very time-consuming and even lead you to opting out and getting an expensive and unhealthy high-street alternative.
Instead, you can prepare lunch for the next day the night before while you’re awake and full of energy. Make a fresh salad with healthy grains and lean proteins, or save a portion of a healthy dinner for the work fridge.
Similarly, you can also pick out tomorrow’s outfit in advance. When rushing you will often just grab what is closest to hand, leading to a questionable selection of clothes that are either too uncomfortable for the day ahead or are something that you aren’t going to feel confident in. Get what you want to wear out the night before, iron it and leave it out ready. In the morning you will definitely be very grateful.
Mornings, and waking up - doesn’t have to be as much of a struggle as it may now seem. This guide will point you in the right direction when it comes to starting your day in the most positive way, and soon, you will begin to enjoy your mornings in an entirely new light.
Passionate about writing and daily self-care, Jessica Dimas loves her morning routine and believe that you can too. She says:
"A morning self-care routine should be something you look forward to rather than something you feel you have to do. Imagine a perfect morning for you; what does it look like? What’s your favourite morning drink? Do you prefer to be still or does moving your body start your day off on the right foot?”
Few people truly get joy from having to emerge from the sanctum of your bed in the morning, especially not in the winter months. But even the smallest of changes to your normal morning routine can provide a stimulus for the hours ahead, ensuring a more refreshed and productive day.
If you find that you struggle to get everything done in the morning, then simply wake up earlier. This sounds harder than it actually is, and admittedly might take a little time to adjust to.
Of course, it is important to compensate for the time by going to bed earlier. Aiming for 7-8 hours of sleep, if you begin by aiming to be in bed half an hour earlier than normal, eventually your body clock will adjust and allow for you to get up with more time in the morning.
Drinking plenty of water is a brilliant way to keep your body fresh and hydrated. Men should aim to drink around 3 litres of water a day, or 2.2 litres for women.
Water refreshes the skin and helps to fight off blemishes and impurities, while also keeping you alert and awake.
Once you have woken up you should drink a large glass of cool water to replenish your body which has just gone 8 or so hours without.
There is no better way to wake yourself up in the morning than by moving around. If you are the kind of person whose alarm is right next to your bed and within reach to hit the snooze button, then put it on the opposite side of the room. Or even better, get your partner or housemate to hide it somewhere which will make you get on your feet and rummage around.
Moving doesn’t need to be anything overly extensive and demanding, but there are a few things for you to do.
Yoga is an ancient practice and form of meditation that has become increasingly popular in recent years, given its physical and mental benefits.
People use yoga as an escape from their hectic schedule, allowing them to focus on themselves in a peaceful setting. Researchers have found that those who practise yoga become not only more mindful eaters, but also experienced raised awareness of perspective, being more able to savour the little things.
When you slow down your breathing, you are calming your nervous system, allowing you to combat any heightened levels of anxiety and stress that you are feeling.
Sometimes you can feel stifled by the mundane routine that comes with everyday life. Often you can find that there just isn’t enough time to go out and get some fresh air, appreciate the outdoors and even clear your head.
A morning walk is full of benefits that can help you to achieve a successful day, aside from the obvious health and fitness ones.
Walking releases pain-killing endorphins which flow throughout the body; it has also been recorded that sufferers of depression who walked between 35-60 minutes a day noticed a significant improvement in their condition.
As we have previously mentioned, a good night’s sleep is vitally important for your help – and walking can help. Morning walks will help to calm you down before your day, while an evening walk will refresh your mind and allow you to forget the day’s trouble, winding down ready for a good night’s sleep.
It is surprising how something as small and regular as an upbeat song, or happy news headline can have such a positive effect on your day. Sometimes it can be as simple as reading your favourite book, but whatever it is, Jessica says it is important to avoid any negativity:
“I look forward to coffee, calm, and reflection. Every morning, I get a cup of coffee and a few of my favourite daily books, as well as my planner. Taking this time to just be still, read inspirational words, and write down my intentions for the day has been a game changer for my life. I also refrain from checking my phone so that I don’t feel stressed or negative before my day has even begun. My days flow with much more ease when I take the time to take care of myself in the morning.”
When the days are shorter and the mornings darker it can be hard to look on the bright side, so why not create a short playlist of songs that are particularly upbeat or remind you of a happy time that you can play while you make breakfast or shower?
Laura Agar Wilson, from Wholeheartedly Healthy, echoes Jessica’s belief that you should be calm and focusing on yourself in the morning, she said:
“My best self-care tips for the morning would be to have some time to yourself, even if it's just 5 minutes I feel like it can make a big difference instead of rushing around. Maybe just take some time to drink your coffee or eat breakfast in peace! I also love to take some time to journal or read something inspiring a motivating to set me up for my day.”
If you are a bit of a news buff, try to avoid the more serious and often worrying news headlines in the mornings. Most news websites have ‘entertainment’ or ‘weird news’ sections which offer valuable information, but are also more positive and light-hearted.
This advice can be taken for any time of the day, just so you can stay as calm and collected as possible. Whether you like to treat yourself to a luxury spa break to cheer yourself up, or simply enjoy going for a walk with the dogs, do whatever you can to stay positive.
It seems that almost every month there is a new study saying just how important breakfast is for your health, both immediate and long-term.
As a meal, breakfast restores your glucose levels, which are vital for optimum brain function. Studies have shown that a good breakfast helps to improve memory and concentration, whilst making you happier and reducing stress levels.
Though the main reason that people cut out breakfast is in an attempt to lose weight, many say that they just don’t have time in the morning.
If this is the case, just look at what you can do the night before and how your routine can work around your breakfast schedule. If, for instance, you want to have eggs in the morning, don’t stand there aimlessly and wait for them to cook - pack your bag, do your hair, get dressed or do something productive in the time that is going to save you from doing it after you’ve eaten.
A morning self-care routine can comprise of any number of things. The most important is to make it personal and practical for you; you know which steps work and make you happy, so make a conscious effort to do these every morning.
This is a belief that Alex Kutsor, author of Delighted Heart agreed that at the end of the day, it is your morning self care routine. She said:
“A healthy morning routine is important so that you can start your day off strong. I think the most important thing is to find what works for you; you can mirror other people's morning routines, but you must find what is most helpful for you. You have to find what sticks and keeps you motivated throughout the day.”
“Find something that you will look forward to in the morning and get you excited to start your day, whatever it may be (e.g. reading a chapter of a fun book, reading inspiring blog posts, meditation, etc.). Creating your own healthy morning routine definitely takes some trial and error in order to truly find what is most beneficial for you and for whatever your needs may be.”
Jessica offered some options to consider if you are looking to begin your morning self-care routine:
“Some ideas to add to your self-care morning routine could be:
meditation, yoga, running, listening to an inspirational podcast while you get dressed or drive to work, making yourself a good breakfast, sitting outside, going for a walk, reading a chapter from an inspirational book, burning incense, a warm shower with your favourite soaps, journaling… anything that inspires and centres you for the day!"