Benefits of a morning routine
By Sophia Power, BA Media
- A morning routine doesn’t just enhance your productivity – it can also help to boost mood, bust stress, make you more adaptable to change and even improve your immunity.
- You don’t need to be a morning person to create an a.m. routine to set you up for success. Making your morning routine work for you is the key to making it a sustainable daily practice.
- Everyone’s idea of the perfect morning routine is going to be different. Build your own customised routine from our suggestions below. It might just make your morning routine so enjoyable you’ll actually look forward to it!
Make your mornings work for you. You are what you consistently do, so establishing even the simplest of morning routines can hold you in better stead throughout the day – helping you to be calmer, more clear-headed and adaptable, not to mention more organised.
If dark winter mornings have seen you struggling to get out of bed, take the opportunity with the spring season to greet the sunny mornings with a new routine.
Importance of a morning routine
Let’s take a look at why it’s worth the effort to commit to a morning routine and all the benefits that come with it.
Gets you motivated
If your motivation has been waning for a while, a morning routine could be just the tonic you need. The benefits of adding just a few new morning activities can be felt almost immediately. When you feel better, you make better choices and feel inspired to keep going – even on the hard days.
Improved mood and relationships
A morning routine isn’t just about creating a more productive version of yourself – though that is a nice by-product of it! A morning routine helps you to ground yourself, set yourself up for the day in the most successful way, and stabilise your mood and emotions. This can have an impact on just about every aspect of your life – from your relationships (including with yourself), your workflow, your decisions throughout the day (including food choices) and even your energy levels.
There are some scientifically proven benefits of a morning routine, too!
Studies show that a healthy morning routine that includes exercise also helps to boost the immune system. The regularity of a good routine (i.e. daily) can also be helpful for relieving stress and reducing the risk of mental health issues.
How to build a morning routine – and stick to it
Think about some of the non-negotiable things you already do in the morning such as making a coffee or brushing your teeth. From there, you can tether a new habit to an existing one. For example, as you wait for the kettle to boil for your morning coffee (existing habit), aim to drink a big glass of water (new habit).
The other important thing to remember, when deciding how your ideal morning routine will look, is to pick things you can see benefiting you and that you’ll enjoy. If your best friend wakes up at 6am to go for a 5km run every morning, but you prefer a slower morning of stretching and sitting in the sun, then don’t worry about what they’re doing! Steer your own course to easier, more motivating mornings.
Set yourself up for success by choosing a timeframe that works into your schedule. Try to wake up a little earlier than you normally would so that you can get at least 20 minutes in for a mini routine before you start your day.
Simple morning routine dos and don’ts
Do get up after your first alarm goes off. Hitting snooze is proven to have a negative effect on physical health and can leave you feeling grumpy over broken sleep.
Don’t look at your phone first thing in the morning. In fact, having a checklist of morning activities you do before you start scrolling can help to avoid your screen for longer. For example, wash your face, brew a cup of tea, meditate for 10 minutes, do some gentle stretching and drink your tea in silence. Then check your phone now that you’ve mindfully set yourself up for the day. Check out our article on how a digital detox can benefit you.
Do practice sleep hygiene. That’s right, a good morning routine really begins the night before. Your sleep hygiene practices in the p.m. have a flow-on effect to the morning; better sleep means a fresher, more well-rested you. Learn more about some helpful practices for a better sleep here.
Don’t get hung up on perfectionism. If you’ve had a bad sleep the night before, or you’ve got a busier than usual morning, pick one thing you know will have the most positive impact on you for the day ahead and make the time to just do that.
Do brew yourself a hot beverage that’ll get you motivated to get out of bed. It doesn’t have to be caffeinated!
Morning routine ideas
- Drink a big glass of water upon waking (extra points for a squeeze of lemon or spoonful of apple cider vinegar)
- Boost your heart rate with an exercise of your choice i.e. jumping jacks, squats, a brisk walk or jog
- Meditate for 10-30 minutes
- Yoga or gentle stretching
- Breathing exercises
- Positive affirmations
- Journal – gratitude entries, aims/goals for the day or the week, concerns, jobs to be done, dreams from the night before
- Go digital-free for the first 30-60 minutes of your morning (or more)
- Dry brush before your shower
- Treat your skin to some jade rolling or a gua sha facial massage
- Set your intentions for the day ahead
- Practice gratitude
- Burn some essential oils or incense to awaken your senses
- Make a nourishing breakfast
- Get early sunlight exposure – this is shown to help with vitamin D levels as well as enhancing serotonin production to boost mood naturally
- Spend some time in nature and try earthing . Learn more about how time spent in nature can benefit your mental health
Morning routine checklist
- Take a few moments to stretch and lay awake in bed, easing into the day.
- Clear your space: make your bed, put away clothes and clutter to start clean and clear in the morning.
- Have your equipment ready to go: If you like to exercise first thing, put your workout gear in a neat pile on your drawers; if you’re a morning meditator have your essential oils and a blanket or cushion set up.
- Keep your phone off, or on aeroplane mode, and resist the temptation to scroll straight away; this can have a huge influence on your mood for the rest of the day.
- Make sure the foods you’re eating support a healthy mood. Get ideas for mood-boosting foods here.
- Factor in how long you would like your morning routine to be so that you wake up with plenty of time. Feeling rushed is not the aim of the game!
- If you have little ones who are likely to interrupt, consider getting up a little earlier for some alone time.
- Make the morning routine adaptable: if you are shorter on time than usual, pick just one or two activities that give you the most benefit.
You may not magically become a morning person overnight. However, armed with a new routine you can look forward to the time you’ve carved out just for you. Having even a short routine can help you feel calmer, more focussed and more adaptable to take on whatever the day has ahead of you.
- Kumar A, et al. International Journal of Physiology, Nutrition and Physical Education 2018;3(1):1987-1989.
- Hou WK, et al. J Glob Health 2020;10(2):020315.
- Healthline. Reviewed 25 May 2018, accessed 3 August 2022 from https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/benefits-sunlight#_noHeaderPrefixedContent