Establishing a good morning routine is the best way to set yourself up for a successful day ahead. How you wake yourself up, work out your personal grooming, prepare what you need and get yourself in the right mind set for the work ahead will dictate your mood, boost your energy and help you feel stronger to tackle whatever challenges come your way. The best morning routine involves regular activities, done in more or less the same order each day, taking the same time.
Here are some morning routine ideas to help you get off on the right foot.
Something that people often worry about when working out their morning routine is what time to get up. The good news is that you don’t have to get up mega early for the sake of it. Once you know how to manage your time properly, you need less of it to get everything done. Work out what type of ‘waker-upper ‘you are. Do you naturally wake up early, or do you need more time to rouse yourself out of sleep?
If you force yourself to get up too early unnaturally, you won’t make good use of the extra time as your body will not feel ready to spring into action. Get plenty of sleep. Adults normally need between seven to nine hours per night to function properly during the day.
That said, over-sleeping and having to rush doesn’t make for a calm start to the day either. If you know that you will need longer to come to, get an earlier night’s sleep and prepare as much as you can the night before, e.g. getting your work bag ready, choosing your outfit and even preparing an easy breakfast you can eat in minutes the following morning. Never hit the snooze button on your alarm. Get up as soon as you hear the alarm go off – move the clock somewhere where you must get out of bed to switch it off if necessary.
Drink a glass of water straight away to help you wake up and feel hydrated. It will also help you to flush out any toxins accumulated overnight, regulate your body temperature and assist with digestion. Eat a light, but nutritious breakfast to fill you up for the start of the day without making you feel sluggish. Good options to help fuel a bust day include muesli with natural yoghurt, porridge, scrambled eggs or a nutrient-rich fruit or veg smoothie.
After you have had your wake-up drink of water, move on to some light exercise to get the joints moving and the blood flowing in a morning workout routine. Start with some gentle stretches to warm up the muscles and then do around ten minutes of a morning exercise routine of your choice. You can access plenty of instructional videos online, or you can ask a gym or personal trainer to set you up with a tailored programme to follow.
Some ideas for quick morning exercises include squats, planks, jumping jacks, mountain climbers and crunches. Do these in 30-second or 60-second bursts, taking you up to around eight minutes in total which gives you time to warm up and cool down within the wider ten-minute window. After you have cooled down, take your morning shower to get rid of the sweat and help you feel fresh and clean.
Next, it is important to establish a good morning skin care routine to open the pores, get rid of any dead skin cells and other dirt and to keep the skin cleansed, toned and moisturised to help maintain a healthy glow. Do the same with your hair – keep it regularly washed, groomed and cared for to give you added confidence as you go about your day. Start with a gentle facial cleanser designed for your skin type. This removes dull skin and impurities. Splash warm water over your face from the basin or during your shower. This will help open the pores.
Rub your face gently, going in circles to stimulate the skin, and then rinse again with cold water to close the pores again. Pat your face dry and apply moisturiser, preferably one with some sun resistant ingredients in to give you some protection against UV rays when you step outside. You may also wish to look at a night cream for your skin, which is applied the evening before and left on overnight for any particularly problematic areas or dry skin.
It’s all very well setting up a morning routine, but it is very important to stick to it, or you will quickly find yourself slipping into bad habits and seeing a return to chaotic morning starts. Write a paper list or add each step to the calendar on your phone to help you stay on track. Stay calm so you can deal with anything unexpected that arises. You can make adjustments for the weekends, or days when you are less busy, but keep the main components going so your body and memory can remain accustomed to the patterns and routines you have set up.
Taking some time out to meditate, write in a mindfulness journal or simply have five or ten minutes spare to read a good book will help keep your mind clearer and everything in perspective. You can meditate in just two minutes each day to help your mind practise slowing down. Find a quiet area to sit where you won’t be disturbed. Make yourself comfortable and breathe in and out, gently.
Focus on your breathing, inhaling through your nose and exhaling from your mouth. Count ten breaths in and out, concentrating on the breath and your chest rising and falling. Do this for two minutes and if your mind wanders, gently come back to your breathing. This may take a few tries to fully master, but it will leave you feeling calmer and ready to face the day.