This Is How to Build a Healthy Morning Routine, According to a Psychologist

This Is How to Build a Healthy Morning Routine, According to a Psychologist

If you’re someone who often finds themselves jumping out of bed into a chaotic morning routine where you’re absolutely rushing through the early hours feeling like a mess, this article is for you. It’s fairly easy to slip into frantic morning mode if you allow yourself (I am absolutely guilty of this), and it can be a slippery slope towards a stressful headspace for the rest of the day.

For that reason, we’ve chatted with Veronica West, a psychologist at digital mental health company Lysn, about her top tips for creating a healthy morning routine.

Here’s what she suggested to us over email. Heads up: it’s all stuff you probably know at some level, but just don’t want to do.

5 ways to establish a healthy morning routine

morning routine

Give yourself more time

West highlighted that even though the snooze button is mighty tempting in the morning, getting out of bed early is kind of a life-changer. 

“While it can be very tempting to get a few minutes or more worth of sleep, it very rarely leads to increased energy and improved mood, ” she explained.

“Instead, I would highly recommend considering setting that alarm for 15 to 30 minutes earlier (and getting up when it goes off!). It may not seem like a lot of time, but a bit of extra time in the morning will allow you to face your morning in a calm and relaxed manner rather than rushed and stressed, decreasing the likelihood of that stress and low energy feeling creeping into the remainder of your day.”

It may be the last thing you want to hear right now, (I myself pressed snooze three times this morning) but the benefits that extra time brings are pretty clear. Maybe start with something easy like waking up 5 minutes earlier?

Put the phone away in the morning

Phone use in the morning is not great for you, people. You’ve heard it before, I’ve heard it before and yet, I’d be willing to bet that almost all of us reach for our phones as soon as our eyes open in the morning.

In the case of minimising phone use during your morning routine, West explained that the reason is fairly simple: waking up to a phone full of notifications, emails and news updates is stressful. 

She shared, “I’m not trying to ban you from using your phone in the morning, however at the very least reviewing what content you consume is important.”

“If scrolling through social media in the morning gives you a sense of calm then that is okay! Or if reading the news on your phone is your equivalent of cracking open the morning paper at breakfast, good for you! It is really just about minimising content that will result in higher levels of stress first thing in the morning.”

The only question is: are you able to resist the temptation? Let’s all at least promise to try, okay?

Eat your breakfast, honey

No, a shot of coffee doesn’t count. It’s easy to brush off breakfast as a time-waster in the mornings, but as we’ve all heard before, it’s kind of crucial for brain function.

West shared, “What it comes down to is that our brain requires glucose as fuel to function properly (which we get through the carbohydrates that we eat), and without this we are likely to feel sluggish and lethargic prior to lunchtime, meaning less productivity and likely more stress for that second half of your day.”

If you struggle with time, revisit point one and check out these recipes for breakfasts you can make the day before.

Switch your workouts to the morning

This is my least favourite of the bunch, but it does make sense. In a nutshell, West explained that getting a workout in before your start your day is a great way to boost your mood.

“Exercise boosts our sense of mental wellbeing through endorphin release which assists in boosting your mood, reduction of aches, pains and tension in the body that may otherwise contribute to a sense of frustration or hopelessness, and increases motivation,” she said.

While exercise can be as low-intensity as a walk, it’s also worth considering moving your gym session to the morning if you can? If you can get around the no-snooze-button rule there’s no reason you can’t also give this a go.

Incorporate some mindfulness into your morning routine

Mindfulness practices are always a good idea, but introducing them to your morning routine is particularly helpful as it sets you up for a more grounded day.

As West said, “practicing mindfulness, or other relaxation-based exercises, is a great way of managing stress, connecting with your body and improving your mental wellbeing”.

You can do this on your own or with an app (West suggested Smiling Mind). In fact, we have a few great examples you can try out in a couple of minutes.

If you, like me, have read through this list and thought “yeah, I know – I just don’t want to do any of that”, perhaps the secret is starting with point one and slowly working through the rest once you’re comfortable with that?

In the end, it may be sort of sucky to begin with, but it is probably best to take your medicine…

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