You could be a morning person who can hop out of bed or you could be someone who takes time to wake up to the day. Either case, the world works in such a way where we have to start the day in the morning and go to bed at night. Is there a way to ensure that the day works out in the best way for you? Is there a way to, as the saying goes: “start the day right?”
Here are some tips on how you can create a morning routine that helps you to “rise and shine”.
- Work with natural light
Before the onset of modern life, our ancestors lived according to the light for thousands of years. As such, the effects light may have on us, might be deeply programmed in us. As such, whether you like it or not, natural light is a major player in your morning routine.
Sunlight is part and parcel of your internal clock, so to speak. Facing the bright light of day first thing in the morning can help your body realise that it is time to wake up (before your mind does). In other words, exposing yourself to natural light might be a useful kick start to the day.
Conversely, just as morning light helps you awake, the waning light in the evening may also make you sleepy earlier. This might be helpful in helping us to regulate our sleeping habits according to nature.
It might therefore be helpful to leave a part of the curtain undrawn to let in some light at night!
2. Set a harmonious alarm tune
If you are unable to wake up with the natural light and still need an alarm, it might be helpful to update your buzzer alarm from a jarring ring to a more melodic tone.
Research from 2020 suggests that waking up to a melodic alarm — think pop song, rhythmic instrumental tune, or natural sounds like birdsong — may help wake you gently instead of dragging you abruptly out from dreamland.
Older research also supports this, noting that preferred music can help reduce grogginess after napping. In other words, choosing an alarm tone you actually like may have the most benefit.
So, why not take a few moments to evaluate your phone’s alarm ringtone options and find your favourite cheerful melody? Experiment, explore and try!
3. A refreshing face wash
Splashing some cold or lukewarm water on your face can refresh tired eyes and be an invigorating wake-up call.
It may not be strictly necessary to give your face a full wash in the morning, especially if you do a multi-step skincare routine at night or have very dry or sensitive skin. However, a gentle splash of cool water is an aid to awake the senses.
4. A balanced breakfast
Begin your day with a balanced breakfast that is rich in protein. This will energise you and prepare you for the day ahead.
Breakfast can give your morning a satisfying boost — especially if you opt for ingredients like whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables, and proteins like eggs or plain yoghurt. It can also be a natural break between home and work which is a useful prompt to your body.
4. Staying hydrated
Try starting the day with a glass of plain water. Warm water with a slice of lemon may also be helpful. Try taking a mindful moment or two to savour your morning beverage of choice slowly instead of gulping it down as you rush to get ready.
5. Morning movement
Physical movement can help ease tightness in your muscles and leave you feeling more limber and alert instead of tense and sluggish. Perhaps you can do some morning stretches. Check out our article on morning stretches here.
Morning exercise may not feel quite as instinctive as that early morning stretch, but it offers benefits too. Physical activity can increase blood flow throughout your brain and body, energizing you and improving cardiovascular health.
Exercise in the morning may also boost important brain functions like decision-making, working memory, and attention.
6. Simple morning chores
Tackling a few simple tasks in the morning can help you start your day with a sense of productivity — a feeling that can follow you into the day as you handle other important responsibilities.
Tips to try:
- Make your bed.
- Wash your breakfast dishes.
- Unload the dishwasher.
- Toss in a load of laundry — you can always start it later, if you’re heading out.
7. Create a to-do list
Before the day gets ahead of you, it might be useful to write down everything you need to do in a list.
It also sets your brain for the day. It can also help you to prioritise your responsibilities and give you a clearer idea of what items are better suited for tomorrow’s to-do list, keeping your workload more manageable and reducing feelings of overwhelm.
Writing down tasks gives you a paper (or electronic) reminder, so you don’t have to keep reminding yourself to take care of it.
8. Do something you enjoy
You don’t have to limit your morning routine to preparation and productivity. Setting aside some time for things you really, truly enjoy can help make mornings something to anticipate instead of dread.
Meditating in the morning can help you collect your thoughts, and set a mindful intention for the day ahead.
Many people find meditation particularly helpful for decreasing stress and easing feelings of anxiety. Meditation can boost self-compassion and self-kindness, so it can make a big difference if you often find that morning worries and frustrations set a negative tone for your day.
Meditation doesn’t work for everyone, so if you don’t find it helpful, there’s no need to force it.
Writing for 10 or 15 minutes each morning can similarly give you space to sort through your thoughts, affirm yourself or set a daily intention.