Updated: 4 days ago
Are you a stickler? I have recently been called one, and it got me thinking. I have never considered myself one, but I must admit that there are certain areas when I am a stickler.
Following a plant-based diet is one, but having a morning routine must be the second one.
I feel like almost everyone is talking about having a morning routine nowadays. I am a bit obsessed with wanting to know what the super successful and highly performing leaders do in the morning.
Success leaves clues, and I want those clues. However, I find that most of the morning routines are so elaborate that unless I have one to two hours to spend in the morning, I won’t fit all of it in! That is why I am giving you five things that will boost your mental and physical energy and set you up for the day, even if you can only spare fifteen minutes or less.
A Morning Routine to Follow
Having a morning routine is a must if you want to boost productivity, have high energy levels, be creative, and reduce stress and overwhelm. If you can make one healthy habit, let it be this one.
Because the way you start your day decides what kind of day you would have.
Before you jump into the activities, I want you to think about the why behind having a morning routine. Of course, you would say to be calm, productive, less anxious, to have time for yourself.
This is all good, but why do you want to feel that way?
Being productive for the sake of being productive or stressing less just because won’t get you out of bed in the morning when you feel tired.
Behavioural science teaches us that unless we attach an emotional reason to why we want to do something, it will be very hard to find the motivation to do it.
So, why do you want to be productive? So you finish the project you have been on ahead of a deadline and get that promotion you have worked for so hard?
Why do you want to have energy? So you come home after a long day and still be able to play with your kids?
Make your why as strong and personal as possible because it will get you out of bed when you won’t feel like it. Now, that you are up, it’s time to build your morning routine.
Before you do anything, your first port of call is water. Your body is dehydrated after a whole night of sleep. Your mind might have been resting, but your body worked very hard to deal with the previous day’s stressors.
Give your body the needed hydration. The best way is to have a water bottle or a glass of water on your nightstand, so you reach out for it the moment you open your eyes.
Plain water is best because it is your first drink of the day. However, you can drink lemon water to alkalize your body at the same time. Adding lemon or apple cider vinegar helps with digestion, so you may kickstart it first thing in the morning if you wish.
I usually drink a liter of water when I get up because that is how big my water bottle is. But adjust the amount to your body’s individual needs. It may be summer where you are, and you have been sweating a lot during the night, so your body may need more water to replenish itself.
Part of my morning routine is walking because that suits me. I do priming during my walk, so I kill two birds with one stone. After all, it is all about maximising time.
You may do a full-body workout as a part of your morning routine if you have the time. Or you may want to add a workout routine at the end of your morning routine.
However, if you are short on time, do some gentle stretching. On the odd occasions when I don’t go for my morning walk, I do a few stretches next to my bed still wearing my pyjamas.
Do some balancing poses like standing on one leg, back bending, touching your toes, side stretches etc. You want to awaken your body, get some blood moving, and increase alertness.
No, this is not your recommended thirty minutes of daily exercise, but it will get your body moving. As a nation, we lead very sedentary lives, which scientists link to many health issues.
Stretching your body helps with joint mobility, and when done first thing in the morning, it also helps to elevate any pains or tension carried from the night before.
Remember to schedule more intense exercise in your day at a more convenient time.
#3 Mindfulness and Breathing
There are countless ways to meditate, so I would suggest you pick one you love and incorporate it into your morning routine. Experts claim that meditating for even five minutes brings results.
When I was learning how to meditate and was getting out of burnout, I used to meditate anywhere between 30 minutes to even an hour in the morning. Unfortunately, I don’t have that kind of time anymore.
If you are short on time, or if meditation scares you because you feel you never know how to do it right, I would like you to change your mind. You can use any app or program to mediate if you wish.
However, if you are still unsure, stick with diaphragmatic breathing.
Diaphragmatic breathing, also called deep belly breathing, focuses on taking deep, belly breaths. You can do it on a count of four. You inhale on a count to four and exhale on a count to four.
This way of breathing helps you to concentrate on one task (your breath) as well as delivers fresh oxygen to your brain. You also move your intercostal muscles which helps to relax your body.
#4 Prioritize Tasks
You can still do your brain dump or to-do list if you want, but I don’t want you to feel overwhelmed or stressed first thing in the morning. It is the opposite of how you want to feel in the morning!
A morning routine aims to streamline your focus. Focus is energy. Some scientists refer to focus as a new currency. There are so many distractions that focusing on one thing becomes more of a challenge.
That is why I want you to pick no more than three tasks you must accomplish during the day. Forget about the to-do list and the million things you want to do. Pick three that need to get done today, no matter what.
There is an art in setting goals, but the rule is to pick tasks that will move you forward. Once you have the priorities selected, look at your calendar and schedule them. Find the time in the day so you can accomplish them.
If you don’t make the time to get them done, it won’t happen. The moment you are out the door, there will be so many things pulling you in different directions that your day will fill out fast.
#5 Put Yourself in a High State
At the end of your morning routine, I want you to pick one activity that will boost your mental wellbeing. The duration and complexity of the activity will depend on how much time you have, but the easier it is, the better.
If you have some extra time, you can read something motivational, you can listen to something inspirational, or you can do journaling to do some self-reflection.
If you are short on time, you can write three things you are grateful for, write your did-it list from the previous day, say, read or write a few affirmations, do visualisation, or write down your goals.
The activity doesn’t matter as long as it cultivates a positive mindset. You want something uplifting, possibly calming, but encouraging and inspirational, so you kickstart your day on a high note.
How to Follow a Productive Morning Routine
A morning routine is a must if you want to have more energy, be productive and creative, and boost your mental and emotional wellbeing. To follow through, you need to have a strong enough 'why' so it will get you out of bed when you don’t feel like it.
Make your morning routine as creative as you wish, but if you are busy and short on time, stick with the mighty five.
Start your day with drinking water, gentle stretching, and diaphragmatic breathing. Set priorities for the day and get yourself in a great state so nothing can stop you from accomplishing all that you want to accomplish.