Posted on February 28, 2023 by Emily Forbes
What sort of a morning person are you? Start work at 8am out of bed at 7:30am; rushing out the door half dressed, stressed and straight to StarBucks for your morning caffeine hit before work? Or maybe you’re the opposite and in the gym for 5am, followed by meditation and a healthy, sit-down breakfast. Which one do you think will set you up better for the day ahead? The power of a morning routine really can change your whole day for the better. Even if you’re not a “morning” person, improving your morning could actually be stopping certain habits rather than necessarily adding things in.
There are many studies to back the benefits of morning routines including improved mood, better work productivity, reduced stress, and more energy.
Your morning routine should not be checking socials, work emails and the news because of how it can affect our mental well-being. At different times of the day and during certain activities, the brain is operating at a different frequency. When we are sleeping we are in a delta brain wave state. Upon waking we move into theta, which is a sort of daydream state occurring for 5-15 mins. Theta is very powerful for creativity, mental clarity, emotional intelligence and problem solving and is a great time for meditation and/or to ponder a problem you’ve been having – think “lightbulb moment”. From theta we shift into alpha where we are in relaxed awareness. Riding in the alpha state helps to reduce stress and enter flow. The power of the morning routine happens in alpha states and is a great time to read, journal, move your body, meditate, or take in the world around you with a morning beverage (try to avoid caffeine at this point). When we check our phones upon waking, we skip all these vital brain wave states and move straight into beta, wide awake and alert and can easily enter into a stressed state.
In the morning, our cortisol levels are naturally rising in alignment with our circadian rhythm and increases alertness and wakefulness. Consuming caffeine can actually dampen this natural effect; therefore you’re best to wait to consume your morning coffee until 90-120mins after waking.
Tips/ideas for your morning routine:
- Keep phone turned off or on aeroplane mode.
- Don’t snooze.
- Move your body – gym, yoga walk, dance.
- Breathing exercises.
- Family time.
- Mindful breakfast.
- Journal – (stream of consciousness or free writing is a great morning journal practice. Write 3 A4 pages continuously, just writing whatever comes out, if you get stuck with what to write, write “I don’t know what to write” until the next words come).
- Morning daylight in the eyes (also helps to reset circadian rhythm and aid better sleep).
- Self-care practices.
- Listening to music/podcasts.
Why not try a new morning routine for a week and see how you feel? If you don’t get any benefits you can always go back to old ways, but I doubt you will. You may even look forward to your morning alarm going off!