“Win the morning, win the day.”
The quiet. Stillness.
This is the time before the rest of the world is up, so make it your own.
There’s a feeling of accomplishment watching the sunrise — like you’re arriving before anyone else.
Whether you’re a ‘wake at 4 am’ person or a ‘snooze the alarm’ type, having a healthy morning routine can be important for mental and physical health.
A consistent morning routine can help regulate the body’s natural circadian rhythm, improving sleep quality and being more restful. And we all know we need better sleep.
A good morning routine can also help reduce stress and anxiety by providing a sense of structure and predictability, and can help to set a positive tone for the day. Knowing what to expect and having a plan can help to reduce feelings of overwhelm and uncertainty.
It also gives you an opportunity for self-care and self-reflection.
Here are a few simple habits to incorporate into your AM routine to supercharge your day.
Whether you wake with an alarm or just ‘greet the day” when your eyes open — don’t touch that phone. Don’t put on the tv or radio, or playlist. Instead, take a moment to enjoy the silence that the morning brings.
Hydration before Coffee
Before your morning coffee or tea, drink at least 8–16 oz of water. You may not feel it, but you’re dehydrated when you wake, losing hydration as you sleep. Water also boosts your energy levels and mental alertness.
Some health ‘experts’ say you should wait at least 120 minutes to drink your coffee to hack your cortisol, but I’m not a freak — I’m enjoying that first cup right after I hydrate.
Meditation and Affirmations
If you’re too busy to meditate, you’re exactly the person who needs to meditate. Some of us wake to a jolt of anxiety (raises hand), and meditation helps quiet the mind and get you mentally ready for the day ahead.
Take a moment before you start your day to breathe. Many apps can help you get started with meditation, and I highly recommend Insight Timer. It’s free and offers meditation tools, music, and courses; a paid plan provides more extensive courses.
Affirmations are an excellent way to put your brain in a positive state for the day. As an anxious person, I always thought this was a bit silly, but it works. I keep a list of affirmations on a note on my phone and look to them as part of my morning routine.
The last thing we want to do is leave our cozy beds and get up and exercise. But even some simple stretches get the heart going and help the body shake off the grogginess from sleep.
Journaling (either on paper or electronically) is a great way to unburden and offload your mind before the day sweeps you away. I have been journaling for about 15 years, and it is interesting to go back and see how much of your life has changed — or not — which helps you figure out what might need changing in your life.
I have been using DayOne (an electronic journal) for the past 12 years, and it helped me to see where I’ve been and how I’ve grown. It’s also great for preserving memories, as you can add photos, videos, and audio clips.
Exposure to sunlight in the morning can help regulate the body’s natural circadian rhythm, improving sleep quality and contributing to overall well-being. Sunlight helps to suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleepiness.
During the winter months, we folks in the northeast don’t have the luxury of walking outside to get a burst of sunlight in the morning. The lack of Vitamin D causes many of us to suffer from seasonal depression (or SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder). Treatment for SAD may include light therapy (phototherapy), psychotherapy, and medications. A good sunlamp can help.
Reading in the morning can have several benefits for mental and emotional well-being.
Reading helps to reduce stress and promote relaxation. It provides an escape from daily stressors and allows you to focus on something enjoyable and engaging, which can help reduce anxiety and promote calmness.
Reading in the morning can stimulate the brain and improve cognitive function, and it can help increase focus, attention, and concentration, enhancing productivity and mental performance throughout the day.
Reading in the morning can improve mood and increase feelings of happiness.
Who doesn’t want to be happy in the morning?
I’ve been an avid reader my whole life. Depending on what you read, books can transport you to another place, giving you a sense of calm, or inspire you to be your best self.
Make Your Bed!
This one may seem either obvious (hello, fellow OCD people) or silly, but making your bed can help cultivate a sense of discipline and attention to detail. Plus, what would you want to come home after a hard day and see your bed in disarray?
You can incorporate some or all of these life-changing habits into your mornings. If you feel overwhelmed, start small; pick one and see how you adapt. You’ll be surprised at how these small habits will change your perspective on the day.