Tips For Creating A Morning Routine That Works For You

It doesn’t matter who you are; we have all gotten out of bed on the wrong side once or twice. And if you’re anything like me, the first thing you do is grab your phone and then head to the coffee machine for some of that glorious liquid energy – certainly some room for improvement.

Today, I’d like to look at how we can adapt our routines to make sure we start our days on the right foot as often as possible. 


Wake-up right


A commonly quoted sentiment I’ve heard is: a good morning routine starts the night before. I don’t know about you, but one of the main culprits for a bad night’s sleep is endless scrolling through the depths of the internet. Pick your poison! Whether it’s scrolling through TikTok’s amazingly targeted feed or doom-scrolling news outlets trying to find a crumb of good news, I have probably been up until 5 in the morning doing it. And when the inbuilt phone alarm clock, such a practical yet pesky tool, goes off the following day, the scrolling starts again.

On the one hand, it provides the ease of making sure you’re up on time. On the other, you’re bombarded with notifications of all the things you have missed from your night’s ‘rest’. There are many alternatives to the phone alarm clock. One of which is the Lumie Lamp! We have them on the BetterSpace platform, and they allow you to wake up naturally with a gradual increase in light – a very peaceful way to rise. 

Other ways include replacing your blackout blinds with some sheer curtains to allow you to rise with the sun – one of my favourites. Or just invest in a standard digital alarm clock.

We can also replace our nighttime scrolling with a more relaxing activity. Reading is always a great way to calm the mind while still giving you something to do before going to sleep. I prefer to save my fiction books for before bed so I can fully let my mind relax. 

Puzzle books and colouring books are another great way to finish your night before sleep, without the blue-light emitting technology messing with our circadian rhythm. 

Journaling is a further option, allowing you to reflect and be grateful for the day and set goals. We have a blog on journaling you can see here if you would like some tips on starting.


Coffee


Oh, caffeine, liquid gold, makes my brain feel so happy – but am I really giving myself an energy boost or just making raising in the mornings harder? 

Like many, I suffer from caffeine withdrawal symptoms when I haven’t had my morning cup of joe, and fear of having to suffer those symptoms through the working day doesn’t really fill me with much joy. So what alternatives are there to giving up the coffee? 

Caffeine, as soon as we wake up, increases our cortisol levels. Cortisol, while also acting as the body’s “natural caffeine”, can also increase our stress levels, not great. But all is not lost. We can still have our morning coffee, just give it an hour first, after your body has had a chance to naturally wake up. 

We may want to limit the caffeine intake before bed also to ensure we are starting the day right. Everyone’s sensitivity is different, but generally, you should finish your last coffee 6-10 hours before you intend to go to sleep.

…oh, and don’t forget to HYDRATE, make sure you’re getting some water in first thing. After all, you’ve likely just gone over 8 hours without a single sip.


Workout 


We all know we should do it, but it doesn’t always happen. Especially first thing in the morning, but the wonderful thing about exercise is that it increases all those feel-good hormones, it’s good for your physical body and your brain function. It is an opportunity to break up our day so we are not just going from our beds to our desks. 

By the end of the day, after most of my brainpower has been used and I am feeling tired, that is when I am most likely to put off exercise, or just never get round to it. A morning workout is an opportunity for me to tick off one of the highest priorities on my to-do list 

It can feel like a chore, but it doesn’t need to be. Dr Iain Jordan said it best in this article:  

“The focus of exercise has been on weight loss, performance, or aesthetics. This has led to exercise feeling like a chore for many people. When we emphasise the importance of regular movement for people’s health and wellbeing, we also emphasise that it doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be fun, social, and exhilarating – whether you are hillwalking, skateboarding, lifting weights, or doing yoga – everyone is different.”

Do something you enjoy and do it consistently, and maybe forget about any weight loss, performance, or aesthetics for a bit, do it because it makes you feel good.


Food


Is breakfast really as important as we have always heard? The short answer is probably not. As long as you’re eating enough through the day, and balanced. Again, we are all different, if you enjoy breakfast, make sure you are fueling yourself with a healthy balance of fats, proteins and carbohydrates.

The key with food for me is to be strategic with it. I know that I need to be fueling myself every 3-4 hours otherwise, it will start to impact my mood. So I plan for this.

Dr Iain also wrote a fantastic article here on the importance of nutrition for wellbeing, which is undoubtedly an excellent place to start when looking at the best way to fuel your body.


Mindframe 


This can look like meditating, journaling, reading, exercise or any of the rituals we have talked about. Think about what practices make you feel the most creative, focused and calm and get you feeling your best – we are all very individual, and everyone’s morning routine will be and should be, very different. ​​

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This approach has achieved engagement rates of 94%, compared to the average usage rate of 2-18% for Employee Assistance Programmes and 10-40% for points solutions.

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