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What does a Healthy Morning Routine Look Like?

By Pam Dewey • mental health, anxiety, healthy morning habits, morning routine, healthy morning routine, taking care of your mental health, creating healthy habits, self care, self-care, mental health care, mental health, best morning routine • May 19, 2022

You’ve heard the phrase, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But what you do before breakfast is important too. Creating a healthy morning routine can improve your mood and productivity and help you make better decisions throughout the day.

Self Magazine states, “When we automate our mornings, we develop habits that soon feel second nature,” says Howes, “which may wind up cutting out some depleting activities like deciding what to eat or arguing with yourself about hitting the snooze button again. Personally I’ve found I’m much more likely to make decisions that support my self-care and well-being when I haven’t spent the morning scrambling and stressed.” 

Here are some ways you can get your morning started right.

Set yourself up for success

You’ll feel less rushed and more prepared if you prep for your next day the night before. You could pick out your outfit, lay out your workout clothes or make and pack your lunch. If you’re a parent, you might want to have your kids lay out their outfits or pack their lunch the night before. 

Rethink your alarm tone

You’re not alone if you dread the sound of your alarm clock. A jarring alarm clock sound might help some wake up better. However, Healthline states, “Research from 2020 suggests waking up to a melodic alarm — think pop song, rhythmic instrumental tune or natural sounds like birdsong — may help wake you gently instead of jarring you abruptly from dreamland.” This might make you happier to get out of bed and help you start the day on a positive note (literally).

Get active

According to Healthline, “Physical activity can increase blood flow throughout your brain and body, energizing you and improving cardiovascular health.” You can take your dog for a walk, go for a run or do your favorite YouTube workout. But you don’t have to do a high-intensity workout to get your body moving.

Add some mini exercise routines to things you already do in the morning. CNN writer Dana Santas suggests, “For years now, I've been doing push-ups before I get into the shower and squats while I brush my teeth. It's called habit stacking, a concept James Clear references in his book, ‘Atomic Habits.’ By stacking a new exercise habit onto a morning habit that is already ingrained, it makes it easier to sustain.”

Start your day with a fun activity

You might enjoy your morning workout, or maybe you prefer to do something else you enjoy. Starting your day with an activity you love can make you excited to get out of bed. You could read, listen to a favorite podcast, work on an art project or dance to your favorite music. Just set a timer, so you have enough time to shower before work!

Try morning pages

Have you been looking for new ways to spark your creativity or get to know yourself better? Try starting your day with morning pages. Morning pages are an idea that writer Julia Cameron coined in her book on creativity, The Artist’s Way. You write three full pages in an 8.5 x 11 notebook when you wake up. The pages aren’t formal, but rather stream of consciousness writing about whatever you feel like writing about. There are a few rules: you aren’t supposed to write about dreams; the pages must be handwritten; you must do the pages every day and you’re not supposed to go back and read the pages for the first two months.

You don’t have to work in a creative field to do morning pages. The pages are meant to help you explore your feelings, get to know yourself better and make you bolder. Buzzfeed quotes Cameron, “When people ask, ‘Why do we write morning pages?’ I joke, ‘To get to the other side.’ They think I am kidding, but I’m not. Morning pages do get us to the other side: the other side of our fear, our negativity, of our moods.”

Create or look over your to-do list

Reviewing or writing your to-do list in the morning helps you prioritize what you need to work on and prepares you for your day. Self Magazine writes, “it’s the perfect time to get some strategizing done before becoming distracted by the inevitable deluge of emails or slate of meetings.” If you spend your day responding to emails, you’ll probably get very little accomplished and will feel like you’ve wasted the day. Reading your to-do list helps with productivity and encourages you to focus on what you want to work on for the day.

Creating a healthy morning routine can make you happier, increase productivity and help you tackle challenges. Try prepping the night before, changing your alarm tone, engaging in physical activity or doing a fun hobby. You may also want to explore writing morning pages or reviewing your to-do list each morning.