What you do first thing in the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day, so it’s the perfect time to support your mental health with a positive routine. By setting up daily habits you’ll find it easier to settle into each day, and that peaceful start will help keep stress levels at bay.
YOUR OWN UNIQUE MORNING ROUTINE
It’s worth pointing out here that everyone is different and will benefit from a routine that’s tailored to their particular needs. So, these are ideas to inspire you. They’re not meant to be a prescription for everyone. But they may help you find your own routine, or at least get started on the right path.
You might find that all five of these tips work for you, just in a different order. Or you might choose to mix and match with some other ideas. You’ll soon form your own habits and routine. The key thing is to keep trying different things and see which ones work best for you.
From journaling and meditating to quick exercise fixes and shower routine steps, here are five tips for a morning routine that supports mental health:
1. Express Your Gratitude
When you wake up it’s easy to get lost in a tailspin of to-do lists, email checking, and social media scrolling. And that rush can heap on a whole load of pressure immediately, leaving you feeling negative and stressed.
Instead, spend those first moments of awake time focusing on the positives in your life. You can give this process structure by using a gratitude journal, and by setting a particular number of things to write about each day. Instead, spend those first moments of awake time focusing on the positives in your life. You can give this process structure by using a gratitude journal and by setting a particular number of things to write about each day.
You might choose to select three new things you’re grateful for each day or be free and easy with whatever comes to you each morning. Whatever format works, it’ll help you start the day in a positive mindset. Gratitude is a very powerful tool for improving your life. It’s a way of reframing your thoughts and feelings from negative to positive. When you practice gratitude, you shift your focus away from what you don’t have or what you are upset about and towards what you do have and what you are grateful for. You are grateful for your family, your health, your job, your friends, your home, and your ability to learn and grow.
2. Find Your Center Through Meditation
If your mind immediately goes into overdrive, you might find it beneficial to set a habit of slowing down the pace. A short meditation in your morning routine can help you get grounded in your body and calm your thoughts.
This can be as quick as a 5-minute breathing meditation, where you focus on the sensation of air going in and out of your nostrils. You might prefer to do a body scan, where you focus on each part of your body in turn, tightening and then releasing. This can help you connect with your physical self. Or you might find it easier to start with a guided meditation.
Try different approaches to discover what resonates best with you. It’s about getting into the present moment and being mindful of the here and now, which can take some practice! But it is an excellent way to feel calm and centered.
3. Get Moving
It can be easier said than done to exercise first thing, but getting your body moving will help loosen up those muscles and joints that have been sedentary for the whole night. It’ll also help release endorphins and give you an energy boost for the rest of the day.
If you can fit in a run or a workout and that works for you, great. But you don’t need to set unrealistic goals or pick activities you don’t enjoy. Remember, it’s all about what is right for you as an individual. You might like to do a short sequence of yoga or pilates stretches. You might like to grab a family member or housemate and dance around your living room!
It can be as short or as long as you like. But getting your circulation pumping and stretching out your body is a great way to boost your mood. If you can afford it, the best way to exercise is by doing cardio and weight training. Cardio workouts increase your heart rate, which is the primary driver of how much oxygen is delivered to your cells. Weight training helps build muscles and increases your strength, which improves your balance and mobility. Cardio exercises also burn calories, which can help you lose weight if you combine them with a healthy diet.
4. Make Your Morning Wash Indulgent
There are certain daily activities that we carry out without much thought, and washing is often one of them. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can make these practical moments of your morning more enjoyable.
Any self-care action has the potential to make you feel really good about yourself. And you can achieve this with something as simple as your morning shower. You might want to choose indulgent products that care for your skin or put a sequence of shower routine steps in place to feel totally pampered. It’s the perfect opportunity to turn a necessity into a treat.
5. Take Time for Nourishment and Hydration
So many of us skip breakfast, but there’s good reason why it’s known as the most important meal of the day. It not only sets up your physiological functions and supports your physical energy levels; it also helps regulate your blood sugar levels and your mood. Breakfast can be the difference between a good day and a bad day, which is why it's so important to eat properly. Breakfast can help you feel less hungry throughout the rest of the day, which can result in losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
A healthy breakfast feeds your body and soul. Whether you like yogurt and berries, granola, smashed avocado on toast, or any other morning feast, make time to mindfully eat and your digestion will thank you, too. While there are many types of breakfast foods, choosing a healthy one is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It’s the start of your day and sets the tone for the rest of your day. A healthy breakfast gives you energy and is a great way to start your day on the right foot.
Drinking water throughout the day is essential and starting on your hydration first thing is really important too. Whether you like it hot, warm or cold, infused or plain, find your favorite ways to drink H20 and you’ll really feel the benefits to your mental health.
It’s okay to take your time finding your groove. The perfect morning routine doesn’t always appear fully formed. There are lots of options when it comes to the best ways to start your day, so explore what works for you and help support your mental health.