by Darlyn Britt
Routine can sound like a bad word. As an adjective, something routine tends to be mundane, dull and even boring. It’s typical, normal and everyday.
But having a healthy routine – a schedule you can live by and plan on – creates predictability and stability, things we need more of in a world that seems to be filled with increasing chaos. In fact, a good morning routine offers benefits to both body and mind!
How is keeping a healthy routine good for you mentally and physically? Let’s take a look.
Physical Benefits of Having a Good Morning Routine
- You’re more productive.
- You get more exercise, which helps with weight management, strength, blood pressure and muscle tone.
- You feel healthier, energized and more full if your routine includes a healthy breakfast.
- You can strengthen your immune system.
Emotional Benefits of Having a Good Morning Routine
- You’re a happier person and have a more positive outlook on the day.
- You give yourself a sense of pride and accomplishment.
- You feel more relaxed and more present throughout your day.
- You’re able to process thoughts and keep your brain focused on today’s tasks without “worrying ahead.”
What Makes a Good Morning Routine?
Making a good – or great – routine is really up to you and what works in your current circumstances. Here are several ideas of things you might want to adopt to create the best morning routine for you.
Create your own personal routine checklist by adding some of these ideas to your morning.
- Get up early. Apple CEO Tim Cook and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson get up at or before 5:00 a.m. Getting up early allows you to take advantage of quiet hours and gives you more time to think, decide and do. The best way to make this work and not set yourself up for tiredness (and crabbiness) is to be sure you get to sleep at a decent hour each night.
- Make your bed. US Navy Admiral William McRaven, a Navy Seal for 37 years, attests, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” What’s so important about this simple task? He says that “When you accomplish the first task of the day, you give yourself a small sense of pride. It will encourage you to do another task, then another, and another. By the end of the day, it will turn into many tasks completed.” Making your bed at the outset of every day also reinforces the concept that the little things in life matter. “Start each day with a task completed,” and the rest of your day falls in line.
- Weigh yourself. Stop for 20 seconds and take an actual measurement of your life. This helps you stay in tune with your body. Knowing your weight can give you an instant smile if you’re staying on track with your health or weight management goals. And if you slipped and gained a bit, that’s ok. The important part is knowing. Knowledge gives you the power to try something different today…to make better food choices, move more or drink more water to help your metabolism. When you have that data, it’s no longer a question. And besides, it’s easy to be consistent in this small thing.
- Move your body. While it might not fit every schedule, a morning exercise routine offers plenty of benefits: more alertness in the early hours; increased circulation; a healthier, more efficient metabolism; and a sense of accomplishment that stays with you all day. One study found that early exercisers were more likely to have greater energy and a more positive outlook than people who didn’t do a morning workout. Exercising in the morning also encourages you to eat healthier during the day. So go for a brisk walk. Do 15 minutes of yoga. Or create your own workout regimen with squats, lunges, push-ups and leg lifts. At the least, dedicate time for some simple stretching.
- Nourish yourself. Don’t skip breakfast. Make some eggs and toast, grab some yogurt and granola, or shake up a smoothie with protein powder. In other words, feed your hungry body. Remember, it’s called breakfast for a reason. You’ve been fasting for 8-12 hours, so it’s time to break that fast and fuel up for the day. Give your body the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and muscle-fueling protein it truly craves in the morning.
- Be kind to your mind. Before you even touch your phone, take time for mindfulness and meditation. Reset yourself emotionally with daily prayer, meditation or other relaxing practices. Give thanks for the new day and remind yourself to be present throughout your day…to experience life through your five senses and enjoy the individual moments that make up your day.
- Hydrate. Getting adequate water helps your body flush out toxins, fills you up, aids circulation and helps your skin look full and fresh. Start by drinking a glass of pure water within 30 minutes of waking up. See how refreshed you feel and look after a few weeks of adding this practice to your routine. Need some flavoring? Try Solstic stick packs.
- Morning journaling. Journaling is a great way to process feelings and crystallize your thoughts. Putting thoughts and feelings down on paper can help you:
- Remember events and people better
- Process difficult things
- Be purposeful throughout your day
- Review your goals
- Express gratitude better
Journaling doesn’t have to be fancy. A blank notebook will do. Besides, there’s something almost magical about writing on paper these days. Get yourself a pen you love and don’t stop short. Someday you’ll look back and read about your life and your ideas in your own handwriting. This practice is really a gift to your future self.
- Read. Did you know? Just 6 minutes of reading from a book or a magazine article in the morning can lower your stress rate by up to 68%. Especially if you’re not reading the news. Find something you’re interested in and read two or three pages before you start working or leave the house. Reading can boost vocabulary, aid creativity and help you escape when you need it.
What does YOUR healthy morning routine look like? Remember, you can accomplish anything you set out to do. Just give yourself a great start every day!