Building an effective morning routine
Last week I wrote about the benefits of creating a calming evening routine and how this can help to improve the quality of sleep we experience. Winding down in the evening is the perfect way to switch off from the day-to-day busyness and help our minds enter a more restorative and restful mode.
But it’s not just our evenings that benefit from a bit of routine, having a go-to set of activities in the morning can help to start our day on a positive footing. By taking the time to create a morning routine, that works for us, we are not just seizing the day, but we are approaching everything we must do from a place of calm and centeredness.
Morning routines are a little trickier than evening ones, as most of us must be out the door by a certain time to get to work, school or our transport. This can create a sense of pressure which has the impact of starting our day off in a stress response state. We are aiming to create a calming and grounding morning routine, that will allow us to start our day the way we mean to continue it – stress-free (for the most part anyway!) So please take any suggestions below and adapt to fit in with your own needs at home.
- Break up with the snooze button – we all use it, and we all know that it is just putting off the inevitable. Hitting the snooze button feels great at the time, but those 5 minutes could be the difference between walking out of the door calmly or rushing out and forgetting your lunch!
- Breathe – before you do anything else, breathe. Place your hands on your stomach and take 5 slow deep inhales to expand your belly up towards the ceiling, with each exhale feel the lungs empty completely. This is a great way to wake you up and to give yourself a bit of time.
- Visualise – now bear with me on this one. This can take all of 30 seconds to do, and the idea is that you picture your day going positively. We’re switching up the negative self-talk here so instead of moaning how cold or dark it is and all you must do, try to visualise your day going calmly and smoothly.
- Meditate – this is my non-negotiable every morning and if I do miss out on meditating, I just don’t feel quite so even during the day. It’s a bit like ‘forgetting’ to brush your teeth. But I didn’t develop this habit overnight, it took time and effort. Now I enjoy sitting in stillness, even for 5-minutes. Here’s a guided morning meditation you can use to get you started.
If this is all you can manage in the morning, you will be on to a great start. There are plenty of other things you can add in here, but let’s start gently and be kind to ourselves. Numbers 2 and 3 above can be completed in the 5-minutes you don’t hit snooze, so no extra time needed.