Do you feel that your day is out of control from the moment you wake up? Feeling anxious when you wake up really sets the tone for how you’ll feel the rest of the day.
Creating a morning routine for yourself can break this cycle of stress and feeling of anxiousness. I want to share exactly which 5 morning routine activities I do to start my day that manages my stress levels. I hope that they will reduce your stress too.
Whether you are a morning person or a night owl, how you start your day really matters.
I was very erratic with my morning routine until I read the book: “Morning Miracle” by Hal Elrod and I was sold. Hal took best practices from science and research and simplified them into a set of morning activities. This is a must-read.
I decided to give these 5-morning routine activities a real shot. My morning routine has made such a significant difference to my life that it has become a daily must-do habit.
I consider it part of my health hacking process I am undertaking to improve every single aspect of my life.Clare Kelway
What should your early mornings look like?
Well, let me be clear.
You must do the same routine 7 days a week with little variance. There is no weekend when it comes to your morning routine. I may get up an hour later at the weekends but often times, I am rising at exactly the same time since my internal clock knows when to wake me.
Whatever time you wake up, allow yourself 20 to 60 minutes to do your morning routine activities. Wake up early enough before the day’s scheduled activities need to take place.
Think about how much time you feel you can give to your morning routine and then decide how long you are going to participate in each activity. I know people who have a 2 hour morning routine. My personal routine is 45 minutes long. Yours can be shorter – 20 minutes would be a great way to start if that’s all you can give right now.
Your body, mind, and soul respond best to a daily routine. And you know that changing habits takes consistent repeated action.
It is a muscle that needs consistent daily practice before it becomes part of your being.
Morning routine activity #1: meditation
Meditation has been proven to slow down your brain waves and reduces your stress responses. It also helps with mental clarity and can even help you sleep better. It’s a wonderful way to begin your morning and even 5 minutes can be beneficial.
Meditation is about training your mind to be more self-aware. It teaches you to become more aware of your thoughts while reducing judgement of them.
Like anything new, when you first start, it may even feel silly or downright ridiculous. But as you become accustomed to the daily experience, you will find yourself becoming more comfortable. You will be more relaxed and eventually, it will seem like breathing It will be an essential part of yourself.
How to meditate?
If you’re new to the practice, find a quiet place in your home, ideally somewhere you can return to each day at the same time. Meditating outdoors, if it’s an option, is a great way to connect your practice with the outdoors and get the benefits of being in morning light.
Take a few deep breaths and then move to natural breathing, paying attention to how you feel as you inhale and exhale.
When your mind wanders, you can choose a word that describes what you’re thinking. Say that word to yourself and then send it off, bringing yourself back to your breath.
Over time this practice will strengthen your brain’s ability to focus. Start with 5 minutes – even this will center you for your day.
Some great ones are Headspace, Insight Timer and Calm and Ten Percent Happier. Ten Percent is my personal favorite. A word of warning: if you use an app – don’t be tempted to check out Facebook and Twitter as you wander towards your meditation app!
Morning routine activity #2: breath work
Sounds ridiculous right? After all, I hear you say that if you aren’t breathing, you’d be dead.
Breathing is probably the most profitable of the morning routine ideas I cover here.
But you’d be living much better if you stopped to do real breathing exercises daily.
Learning to breathe can reduce stress and improve oxygenation of your cells delivering more nutrients and removing more toxins. Sounds anti-aging to me!
And when we learn to breathe, we learn to slow down our breathing which also puts you into a parasympathetic state – what you really want for better healing, less stress and more happiness.
Morning routine activity #3: drink clean water
Start your day with a glass of clean water. This is basic, but so important. A 16 oz. glass of clean water breaks your overnight hydration fast. It helps your liver to do its morning metabolic work of detoxifying the body. Its also helps with better digestion throughout the day. Detoxifying your body leads to lower inflammation. This therefore leads to lower cortisol levels (stress hormone).
To up your hydration benefit, squeeze some lemon (acid aids with detoxification), add a pinch of unrefined salt such as Celtic salt, for better hydration and/or a teaspoon of chlorophyll (aids with detoxification) into your water.
Since you want to set your day up for success, don’t stop once you’ve had your morning glass. Water is critical to good health, so aim for 90 oz. daily for women and 125 oz. daily for men.
Morning routine activity #4: get outdoors
Perhaps the weather is gorgeous, and you an get your mat and do your meditation outdoors. But if the weather doesn’t allow for it, taking a 20 minute walk (or however long you have), as part of your morning routine is extremely beneficial. And if you’re a runner, go for it!
It is proven that when you get outdoors, your energy increases. A 20-minute walk is good for your digestion because it helps bowel motility and encourages your lymphatic system to dump toxins.
It’s also the ideal way to expose yourself to morning sunlight. Getting sunlight exposure helps reset your sleep/wake cycle so that you are alert in the morning and get deeper and better quality sleep at night.
Being outdoors is good for your soul, it improves focus and reduces cortisol. A great big win if you ask me.
Morning routine activity #5: get your daily nutrients
We live in a world where we can no longer get all our daily nutrition needs from the foods we eat.
And this includes eating organic foods and pasture-raised meats.
So, supplementation is a necessary part of our lives. And by the nature of its meaning, we are only meant to supplement our diet, not replace it. Place your focus on eating a nutrient-dense whole foods diet. The vitamins and minerals gained from a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet have a direct impact on how your body regulates cortisol and manages your stress response. Whenever your choose to break your overnight food fast, focus your first meal of the day on healthy fats and protein, combined with nutrient-dense fruit and veggies like cherries, berries and greens. You’ll feel fuller longer and will keep your sugar cravings at bay. Sugar cravings raise cortisol levels!
How to get started with your morning routine?
- Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier (go to bed earlier and you will reap double rewards).
- Keep your phone off and don’t check until you have completed your morning routine unless using for your meditation app. Don’t cheat!!
- Don’t start on the coffee or tea until after your morning routine is complete.
Starting a morning routine will help you turn your stress-filled day on its head. It’s important to give yourself permission to put yourself first. By doing so, you can lead a happier life and be truly present for your loved ones.
If you would like support in your journey to better health, we would love to talk with you. We know it is always easier to work with a coach to get the results you desire.
Schedule a free discovery call with our team today.
- Meditation: A simple, fast way to reduce stress. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858
- Dietary reference intakes for electrolytes and water. U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. https://www.nationalacademies.org/our-work/dietary-reference-intakes-for-electrolytes-and-water
- Francesca Pistollato, Sandra Sumalla Cano, Iñaki Elio, Manuel Masias Vergara, Francesca Giampieri, Maurizio Battino, Associations between Sleep, Cortisol Regulation, and Diet: Possible Implications for the Risk of Alzheimer Disease, Advances in Nutrition, Volume 7, Issue 4, July 2016, Pages 679–689, https://doi.org/10.3945/an.115.011775