So many of us lead very busy lives. We rush from one activity to another, with smart phones, laptops and other devices connected to us at all times, should we need to be contacted, update or informed. Some of us have busy family lives, busy jobs, commitments that demand our time and attention, chores we ‘need’ to be doing and tasks that are piling up and ‘really should be sorted’. We live in such a demanding and busy world that many of us are suffering from extreme stress too. We don’t live our lives in the best way that we can, and instead we move from one responsibility to another, one hectic environment to another, one stress to another.
Now, we’re not saying that we should suddenly drop all of the things that go towards making up the busyness of our lives (although we’re sure there could be a few things here and there that could slide… just saying) but what are are saying is that perhaps we need to learn how to manage it all a little better. Our emotional well being depends on us! And it all starts first thing, the moment that your eyes open upon a new day. Here’s a really quick guide to building a solid morning routine in three easy little steps- to help you re-focus, recharge and re-assess.
Why have a morning routine?
You may have heard of the saying ‘start as you mean to go on’- and that is the foundation of what morning routines are all about. If you start your morning on the right foot, chances are the rest of the day will follow suit. On the other hand, if you start with stressful and upsetting chaos, your brain is going to adjust into flight or fight mode, your cortisol levels will rise and you’ll experience a higher state of stress that will be harder to shake off.
Think of those mornings where you sleep through your alarm, or you forget to set it… you wake in a panic, you fly around the house trying to get ready in a fraction of the time you normally have. Your heart pounds, you skip your usual self care routines and you slam the door on your way out. How ready do you feel for whatever life will throw at you? Now compare that to a relaxed morning, paced at a speed that allows you to wake naturally, spend time on a few self care necessities that prepare you physically and emotionally for the day. The latter is certainly achievable, and here are three easy ways that you can implement in.
We all need more time. So if you want your morning routine to work then you need to start getting up a little more early than usual. If you have kids, aim for at least 30 minutes before they tend to wake. If you need to set an alarm (don’t we all!) then try moving it a few steps away from your bed so that you need to physically get up to turn it off. That way, you’re less likely to hit the snooze button.
Waking early might take some getting used to at first, but once you realise the potential of an extra half hour or even an hour before the rest of the household wakes, you’ll be fiercely protective over your sleep in general. You’ll want to get up early! Having a set bedtime and wake time also helps to regulate the circadian rhythm, which in turn can help to balance hormones, health and emotional wellbeing. It’s good for stress levels, productivity and general mood. And… it gives you lots of time to complete the rest of the steps that go towards the ultimate morning routine!
Our tip: Join the 5am club. Try it, just for a week and see how you feel. It’s also a really great idea to keep the smartphone at bay during the morning too- endless scrolling causes dopamine levels to rise and this encourages an addictive pattern to form, hence the endless scrolling! In turn, this makes it hard for the brain to appreciate the smaller things in life as we’re always looking for the next like, comment or share.
Stimulate your body
Some people like to spring out of bed, pull on their gym gear and hit the treadmill before they’re even properly awake. Some like to head straight to the floor for some restorative and energising yoga moves. Some like to potter in the garden, sort a load of washing or re-arrange the book shelves… the point is that physical stimulations on the body will help you to not only wake up and send energy signals to the brain, but it will help you to create an order of events that will make up your morning routine.
You see, routine is all about doing the same things at the same time, to create habits that will serve your body and your emotional wellbeing. Sitting on the sofa watching cartoons might not be everyone’s idea of stimulating the body, but for you it may be enough. It may be the time that you need to yourself to recharge ready for the day. You just need to give yourself time to find out what works for you.
A great example of early morning stimulation for the body: a gentle yet invigorating face cleanse ( we love our English Peppermint and Poppyseed organic soap bar for this), followed by a blood-pumping facial massage. Then move on to some gentle stretches before writing a list in three parts. Part one: the things you achieved yesterday and are proud of and grateful for. Part two: the things you want to achieve this morning, before your day properly starts. Part three: the things you want to achieve in life- the bigger goals. Keep the list with you as you move through your mooning, and indeed your day.
Our tip: Listen to some music; move to the music. Check your bank balance. Create a menu for the day. Read the newspaper. Walk the dog. paint your nails. Whatever works for you in your morning routine- the beauty is that there is nobody else around to dictate what you should or should not be doing!
Stimulate your mind
Writing the three part list each morning is a great way to start to stimulate the mind ready for the day. You can’t go from asleep to full on work mode at the snap of your fingers, so give yourself time to become accustomed to the new day and the demands that it’s going to bring. Meditation is such a great tool to incorporate into your day- and you only need ten minutes to make it effective. Clear some space, sit down and close your eyes. Play some music if you like, but make sure that you are serious about dedicating this time to your morning- you’ll be so surprised at how quickly it starts to become routine, and just how effective it can be at helping to calm and restore peace too.
Emotional wellbeing starts with you. You need to be able to recognise the signs that things are becoming too much in order to create a new routine that will work for you. So your morning routine does not need to be stuck in stone. Some days you may need a crossword puzzle to get your mind going, other days writing in a journal is necessary. Other days still, you may just need time alone to think. All of this is fine.
Our tip: try to steer clear of too many caffeinated drinks during your morning routine. Respect your body and the work you’re doing in regulating your sleep patterns, and instead try hot water with lemon, iced tea or even a fruit smoothie. We’re not saying that coffee is the devil, but why not try relying on yourself to provide stimulation rather than caffeine,