10 Morning Routine Essentials
It’s new year, and many of us are busy making resolutions to “be more healthy” or “lose weight” or whatever else. I listened to a podcast the other day though where Brendon Burchard said something like (and I’m definitely paraphrasing here):
If you win the morning, you win the day; if you win the day, you win the week; if you win the week, you win the month; if you win the month you win the year.
With this in mind, I started looking at my morning routine – which has definitely fallen by the wayside in the last few months. This lack of structured start to my day has had a knock-on effect in every other area of my life and I’m finding now that I really want to get a morning routine up and running properly again.
Here are 10 things you can add to your morning routine to help you win at life:
I am a big fan of meditation; last year, using the Insight Timer app I actually got to around 170 days in a row of meditation. I cannot tell you the difference just 15 minutes of meditation first thing in the morning (or last thing at night, or whenever you can squeeze it in) can help in all areas of life. Somehow in the sheer chaos and exhaustion of the lead-up to Christmas, I got out of the habit and now I’m really feeling that. I would recommend meditation to anyone; there is nobody it cannot help. It’s free; the Insight Timer app is free and has tons of free guided meditations on it. Scientific studies have shown that meditation can help with everything from immune function to productivity – so it’s definitely worth a try, and worth adding to your morning routine if you can.
When you wake up in the morning, after eight hours in bed (or however long you manage) you’re dehydrated. A big glass of water can make a massive difference to how you feel. Hydrating properly first thing in the morning fires up your metabolism and helps to flush out toxins from your body. It can help you to feel more awake and alert too. What have you got to lose? I keep a 750ml water bottle next to my bed and drink as much of it as I can manage when I wake up.
I always read in bed. One of the biggest luxuries in my life is to wake before S, and manage a few minutes of reading before she comes in for a cuddle. I make 90-day goals rather than year-long resolutions, and my goal for the next 90 days is to read at least 3 self-development books (rather than all the fiction I’ve been reading lately). I find that reading nonfiction first thing in the morning is a great way to start off my day feeling motivated. At the moment I’m reading How to Live a Good Life by Jonathan Fields, which is broken down into a series of quite short chapters and so perfect for early morning reading. I also have a huge stack of books next to my bed (more of a TBR wall than a pile) which I will work my way through. If you have recommendations for a good self development book do leave a comment and let me know!
Back in ye olden days (in the summer when getting up in the mornings was easier) I would get up and do a little exercise before starting my day. Then I had the whole hernia operation thing, and since then I’ve been recovering – and it’s been dark in the mornings. The exercise is a distant memory I need to revive! Davina McCall brings out a new fitness dvd most years at this time; I’ve reviewed a couple of them on this blog in fact. This year I used a voucher to buy myself her new one, Toned in 10. I’m sure once I’ve started using it I’ll write a review. You don’t need a fancy new dvd to start exercising in the mornings though; just getting outside for a walk (or a run if you’re that way inclined) can help, or there are plenty of workout videos available for free on YouTube. Even if you just do a few stretches before starting your day, it can make a massive difference to how you feel through the day.
This is a really simple one, but I know many people think I’m bonkers for it. There are numerous green juice powders on the market; most of them taste a bit like you just liquidised lawn cuttings if I’m honest. I found one called Organifi though, which tastes amazing. I’m not even joking; it’s sweet and minty and almost too tasty to be a healthy drink. It’s not cheap, but honestly, with the way it helped me to get over my operation so quickly it’s worth every penny. If you don’t want to spend a fortune there are other green juices you can try from UK-based companies. Pukka Herbs make a Clean Greens blend that tastes ok; I tend to mix it with less water than you’d expect, and just gulp it down quickly! It sounds like hipster nonsense, but green juices can be amazing for your overall health and for kickstarting your day in the right way… Plus they look great with an Instagram filter!
I love turmeric; I keep a big jar of fermented turmeric in my fridge which I use to make turmeric tea in the mornings. I love my morning coffee, but I like to sit and savour that once the school run is out of the way; as a general rule, when I make S her breakfast in the morning I make myself a mug of turmeric tea and enjoy that while we get ready to leave the house. Turmeric has all sorts of random benefits, and I find that when I consume it regularly I do feel better generally in myself. If you’re not in the mood for buying fresh turmeric root and fermenting it yourself (it turns everything orange for weeks afterwards), you can just buy a good quality ground turmeric and make tea with it, or you can just buy turmeric tea like Turmeric Gold, which tastes just lovely and is a great substitue for those days when I don’t want to mess around with the fermented root in the fridge. I’m fairly sure Organifi (mentioned above) already has turmeric in it, so if you’re drinking that then the tea will just be a double whammy of awesomeness.
This sounds like one of those new-age, hipster things that everyone seems to be talking about lately – and if you’re anything like me that might really put you off trying it! The thing is, it works. Reminding yourself of the good things in your life, and feeling grateful for what you have can lead to more happiness and a generally more positive outlook on life. It doesn’t need to be a major task to do this; I keep a few lines in my bullet journal each day to write down two or three things for which I am grateful each day. I find on the days when I force myself to sit and think of these things, I feel better and over time it has a compound effect. The trick is to find three different things each day – you can’t just write down “I’m grateful for my dog, he’s awesome” every day! By looking for three different things each day you can train your brain to always search for the positive in things, rather than the negative as most of us have been unwittingly trained to do.
I take lots of supplements. The exact ones I take have changed over time, but the one thing I stick to is taking my multivitamin in the mornings. Each evening before bed I take out the supplements I take before going to sleep, and then I lay out the supplements to take in the morning – so that when I wake up they are right there waiting for me, and I can’t forget to take them. I take Vitabiotics Wellwoman Max, which include a multivitamin, a fish oil capsule and a calcium and Vitamin D tablet. I am convinced it is these which account for my healthy hair and nails and probably a large chunk of my mental health as well as overall ability to keep going. You might want to take something different, but I do think supplements can play a role in supporting our bodies – alongside a healthy diet, of course.
A quick search on YouTube for “motivation” or “mindset” will bring you hundreds, if not thousands of videos which will motivate you and get you into a great frame of mind for your day. This is one of those things that seems too simple to be of any use, and perhaps even a little corny – but something like this can really help to get you going in the morning. Another thing that’s free and takes only a few minutes – so it has to be worth a shot, right?
I love a good podcast! I listen to lots of them, and I find that they can really help me to keep me feeling motivated. Some of my favourites are the Good Life Project, Chalene Johnson (she has two and I listen to both) and Earn Your Happy. There are tons out there though and if you can find on that appeals to you, they can make the school run/commute/housework time much more productive! Personally I put a podcast on my mobile and put my mobile in a breakfast bowl to amplify the sound while I’m in the shower and getting ready for my day.
Could you add any of these to your morning routine? Perhaps you do some of them already? Or is there something you do every morning that I haven’t listed here?