Whether you’re a natural early bird or a night owl who could happily hit snooze until lunchtime, a good morning routine can improve productivity, prevent burnout and help manage the mental load of your daily to-do list.
Read on for nine morning rituals to boost your wellbeing and performance.
1. Wake early
Successful people often rise early to get a head start on the day before any disruptions arise.
If early starts are difficult for you, start by waking 15-30 minutes earlier each day until it starts to feel natural.
It’s normal to feel groggy for the first few days or weeks, however waking up at the same time each day trains your circadian rhythm, which will eventually make it much easier to get up in the mornings and achieve deeper, more restful sleep at night.
Hydration is essential for efficient waste product elimination, metabolic function, gut and skin health. It’s also good for better cognitive function, as the brain is comprised of about 75 per cent water.
Much of our internal fluids are used overnight for these important functions, and as you aren’t drinking while asleep, your body is quite dehydrated upon waking. Drinking a glass or two of water each morning will help you feel awake and ready for the day.
Physical activity can improve concentration, mood, and energy levels, however finding time to be active isn’t easy.
Working out first thing in the morning is a great way to start your day, and eliminates the need to find time for exercise later on, when you’re more likely to be derailed by a long work day or spontaneous social plans.
Setting your alarm to wake 30 minutes earlier to squeeze in a walk to your local coffee shop, an at-home yoga class, or a training session at the gym before work can do wonders for your immediate and long-term wellbeing.
Meditation has many positive impacts on mental health, burnout, and stress management. Particularly for those working in high-pressure environments or who experience anxiety, meditation can be a great way to destress and instill a sense of calm.
There’s no bad time to meditate, however meditating in the morning can set the tone of your day and empower you to respond to challenges with composure and mindfulness.
Don’t worry if you’re short on time, as you only need to practise meditation for 10 minutes a day to reap the benefits.
5. Eat a nutritious breakfast
Breaking your fast with a wholesome meal is a great way to start the day, as it replenishes the glucose stores in the body and the brain, which is essential in order to function properly.
A nutritious breakfast can support better weight management by fueling your body before you get too ravenous, decreasing the chances of succumbing to less healthy convenience options later on.
6. Read a book or listen to a podcast
Morning people often describe the early hours as a sacred opportunity for ‘me time’, before anyone else is awake and all the demands of daily life start to pull focus.
Whether you work from home or commute, the mornings can be your chance to carve out some time for self-care by reading a book while you sip on a tea or coffee, or listening to a podcast that puts you in a positive mindset for the day.
7. Practise gratitude
Gratitude has been shown to improve mental and physical wellbeing, lead to better relationships, greater job satisfaction and deeper, more restful sleep.
Incorporating gratitude into your daily routine by linking it to something you already do each morning, such as reciting a gratitude mantra during your yoga practice or morning shower, will help form the habit more quickly, meaning you can enjoy the benefits of gratitude sooner.
8. Plan your day
It’s often tempting to dive straight into responding to emails first thing in the morning, however taking time to plan your day can improve time and workload management, preventing unnecessary stress caused by short deadlines or last-minute surprises.
Creating a to-do list ensures you can accomplish the highest priority tasks for that day, empowering you to feel more in control, less stressed and more productive.
9. Make it achievable
Make your new morning habits sustainable and less overwhelming by trying one or two of these rituals at a time to see what works best for you. Putting pressure on yourself to overhaul every aspect of your morning routine at once is more likely to add stress rather than supporting your wellbeing and productivity.
We all have different demands on our time and energy, which may make some of these actions unfeasible.
Be kind to yourself, and adopt a realistic approach to get you on your way to having more rejuvenating and productive mornings.