Mornings may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but even if you are a night owl, there are compelling reasons to prioritize the start of your day.
Thanks to the ‘cortisol awakening response,’ our cortisol or stress levels peak 30-45 minutes after waking up. While this is a natural and adaptive response that increases our alertness and prepares us to face the day, it may also be responsible for that anxious feeling we sometimes get in the mornings.
If you experience morning jitters or find it challenging to greet the day enthusiastically, you could benefit from a morning routine. A morning routine can help regulate your stress levels, provide a sense of calm, and set a positive tone for the day ahead.
Morning routine activities to enhance your day
We’ve compiled a short list of morning routine activities that can benefit your physical, emotional, and mental health. You don’t have to include all these activities in your morning routine. Instead, try the ones that appeal to you most and fit your lifestyle.
Meditation or prayer
Meditation and prayer are mindfulness practices that encourage self-awareness, promote emotional balance, and evoke a sense of calm. Making time for these practices can equip you with emotional resilience to navigate challenges that may arise during the day.
There’s no need to spend a lot of time in prayer or meditation. Just a few minutes each morning can make a big difference. All you need to do is find a quiet spot where you won’t be interrupted and dedicate this time to connecting with yourself or your spiritual beliefs.
Exercise is a powerful tool for channeling anxious energy and improving your mood. When you exercise, feel-good hormones are released, which can help alleviate stress, enhance your energy levels, and increase your focus.
The good news is that you don’t have to do high-intensity workouts to reap these benefits. Dancing around your living room, going to a yoga class, or walking around your neighborhood can be just as effective.
Morning journaling can help you organize your anxious thoughts, experience mental clarity, and kickstart your day with purpose. There are many different approaches you can take when it comes to journaling. Here are some ideas:
- The brain-dump approach. This is where you let your thoughts flow onto the pages, writing whatever comes to mind. It’s a great way to clear mental clutter and gain perspective.
- The gratitude approach. This is where you list the things you’re grateful for. It can help set a positive tone for the day, reminding you that even in challenging times, there can be moments of joy.
- Goal-setting. This is where you write about your daily goals and intentions. It can help you stay motivated and on track as you work towards your goals.
Making your morning routine work for you
If you decide to incorporate a morning routine into your daily schedule, you should tailor it to suit you. It should fit into your lifestyle as something that enriches your life rather than feeling like a burden.
You can make your morning routine work for you by starting small and being realistic and flexible. Introduce one activity at a time, and be wary of personal time constraints. For example, if you only have 10 minutes to spare, don’t try to stretch it to 30 minutes. If you have a day or days when you don’t stick to your morning routine, don’t write it off altogether. Remember that you can always start fresh tomorrow!
If your morning routine ever becomes a source of overwhelm, consider reevaluating and adjusting it to ensure it remains a positive and sustainable addition to your life.