Create a healthy morning routine before Monday gets the better of you!
A healthy morning routine. What is it and why should you care?
Well, a good healthy morning routine can essentially set the tone for the rest of your day. Done right, a morning routine can make you feel fresh, awake, motivated, nourished, and ready to face the day ahead. All good things, I’m sure you’ll agree.
So what happens when you don’t have a healthy morning routine in place? Well, it could mean that your mornings end up being a little bit all over the place. It might mean that you end up sleeping in, hitting snooze half a dozen times, and then end up having to drag yourself out of bed later than planned feeling tired, sluggish and unmotivated. You’d probably just rather grab the duvet cover and drag yourself back to bed instead of facing the day ahead, right?
I’ve been in both camps, as I’m sure most people will. When I was a bit younger I could probably get away with staying up much later and rolling out of bed at the last minute – although I have always been an advocate of a good breakfast. Let’s dig into why a healthy morning routine matters…
Why do you need a healthy morning routine?
So why do you need a morning routine?
I know that whenever I wake up and do the things that I want to do before I have to start work I feel fresher, more motivated, and ready to face the day. If I’ve already skipped a workout or slept in or not eaten a good breakfast I don’t feel as energised as I could do. And when you have a demanding day at work ahead of you that’s really not a good thing.
I’m sure you have a busy life, though. Most of us do and if you’re anything like me you don’t have a huge amount of time to spare in the morning. So let’s be real here: I’m not saying that you have to bounce out of bed at 4am. I’m not saying that you have to go for a 10km run before work. And I’m not saying that you have to follow this morning routine to the letter every day of your life – because everyone likes a lie in every so often, and your body does need time to recharge and reset after a busy week.
What I am saying is that a simple morning routine like this is a good thing to aim for most mornings, and particularly from Monday to Friday. A good morning routine is all about creating healthy habits. It sounds simple, but even making small changes can have a much bigger impact – possibly bigger than you might think. After all, if you feel more energised and more productive then who knows where that might lead you?
8 quick-fire morning routine tips
1) Go to bed at the same time every night
According to Bustle, going to bed at the same each night can make you smarter, healthier and happier. Not a bad innings at all. If you want to get the next day off to a good start then it makes sense that you have to start the night before. I make sure I go to bed at the same time every night so I’ll have had a full eight hours sleep by the time I need to wake up – so even if I don’t bounce out of bed the next day my body is rested.
2) Get up at the same time each morning
Make this non-negotiable. I wake up at 6.45am each day because I know that’s the latest I can get up if I want to do everything I want to do in the morning. Just to keep it real for a second – it’s perfectly OK to allow yourself a couple of snooze button slams. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t! My alarm goes off at 6.15am and 6.30am so by the time the third alarm goes off at 6.45am I’m ready to wake up.
3) Give yourself 10 minutes to wake up
I’m not an advocate of leaping out of bed straight away. You might want to have a a cup of coffee or give yourself a leisurely 10 minutes to read a few pages of your book before you actually get out of bed.
4) Get some exercise
Working out in the morning a few times week can set you up for the day really well, particularly during the pandemic when we’ve all been working from home a lot more. When I go out for a morning run I’ve never appreciated the fresh air so much! According to this article on Cosmopolitan, when you work out in the morning you boost your endorphins for the rest of the day AND you’ll feel less stressed when you start work. However, that doesn’t mean you should be slogging through two hours in the gym before work. I find that even a short workout can be effective for waking you body up and getting that blood pumping.
When I workout in the morning keep it short, I don’t track anything, and I don’t beat myself up if I stop to catch my breath – it’s more about enjoying doing some exercise rather than putting pressure on myself to hit certain goals. Make it as enjoyable as possible by creating a playlist of your favourite songs, listening to a podcast or even an audio book.
5) Have a warm shower
Lots of healthy morning routines recommend a cold shower in the morning for shaking off the grogginess but, sorry folks, I’m keeping it real over here. No one can convince me to have a cold shower in the morning! That just isn’t my jam. And anyways, having a warm a shower in the morning can be a wonderful thing. I certainly find that I feel much more awake afterwards.
Aside from anything else, it’s ten minutes just to relax and unwind before you have to get on with your day, and I see that as part of my self-care routine. Why would you want to mess with that?! I usually have my music or a podcast playing so it’s even more enjoyable and finish off by rubbing in some moisturiser or gradual tanner to keep my skin soft. I know, I know, nobody is seeing me but it just makes me feel more normal.
6) Eat a healthy breakfast
You can’t have a healthy morning routine without including a really good breakfast. When I hear about people who say they don’t have time to eat in the morning I despair. Properly fuelling yourself for the day ahead is so important – even if you are working from home – and can make a huge different to your focus, motivation and productivity. The UK seems to agree, with a third of Brits saying here that they’ve not skipped breakfast once since the beginning of lockdown. People after my own hearts.
So what do I eat for breakfast as part of my healthy morning routine? Well. I have pretty much the same breakfast everyday – porridge, overnight oats, or cereal. The reason I have one of these things for breakfast is because 1) they only takes five minutes to make 2) they’re filling and 3) they’re healthy. I’ll also have a cup of tea with it – one of the many cups of tea I’ll get through over the course of the day. If I want to mix it up – or I haven’t put in a food order, let’s be honest – I might have eggs on toast or a smoothie. You can check out some more of my healthy breakfast ideas in my post here.
7) Get ready like you’re going to work
I’m very much an advocate for creating routines and rituals that make you feel good about yourself in general, and that’s why I recommend getting ready for work as part of a healthy morning routine. I was actually reading this article on Stylist recently about someone who does a ‘fake commute’ each morning – and goes out for a walk before working from home each day – and it feels like a similar thing to what I’m talking about.
I don’t do a fake commute, although it definitely sounds like something I’d like to try, but I do get ready for work in the same way as I would as if I was actually going to work in the office. What does that look like? Well, it means I apply my make-up, I straighten my fringe, and I put on a nice jumper or a cosy cardigan along with some comfy lounge gear bottoms.
Let’s talk about the make-up. You might just think I’m vain. Maybe I am and maybe you’re right. However, I’m never going to argue against the transformative effect of make-up on your mood and general well-being. That shit is powerful. For me, it’s part of getting myself ready and armed to face the day, so don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Stick on an episode of your favourite TV show while you’re applying it and it’s even more fun.
8) Get dressed and spritz on your everyday perfume
Even if you’re just putting on lounge wear to work in – and trust me, I love an elasticated waistband – try and make sure you get dressed every morning. But why does it matter if you’re just sitting at home? Well, it’s all about routine. According to this report, “Routine is important for maintaining our mental health and getting dressed is an important part of that routine.” It makes sense: what you’re doing is signalling to your brain that it’s time to change gear and get into work mode.
I do the same with my perfume. The perfume I wear each day – Clarins Eau Ressourcante – is the one I used to wear to the office before we all went into lockdown. I use it as my way of getting into work mode. Smell is such a powerful sense so if there’s one way of tricking your brain into thinking it’s time to clock on then this just might be it.
5 smart ways to start your healthy morning routine the night before
Lay the foundations for your morning routine with these healthy habits…
1) Limit your alcohol intake
Think that sinking a couple of glasses of wine in the evening will help you have a better night’s sleep? Think again. Alcohol may be a sedative, but it won’t actually help you sleep better. In fact, according to this report, even low amounts of alcohol can reduce your sleep quality by nearly 10%. A long story short? If you want to have high quality Zzz, limit your alcohol consumption.
2) Don’t drink too much caffeine
Sorry to be the fun police but, just like alcohol, too much caffeine means you’re less likely to have a good sleep. I don’t drink coffee but as a big tea drinker I do notice the difference when I drink a lot of tea in the evening. Try and not consume any caffeine after 8pm to have a better night’s sleep, and while you’re at it you probably don’t want to eat too late at night either, if you can help it.
3) Ditch your digital devices before bed
It’s recommended here that you stop using your phone or tablet for at least 30 minutes before you want to go to sleep, as the blue light emitted from these devices can impact your sleep. As a someone with a serious scrolling habit, I understand how difficult that can be. My recommendation would be to do something joyful before bed that isn’t being on your phone. You could read, practise a great skincare routine, journal, it’s entirely up to you!
4) Take time to reflect on your day
Reflect on everything you achieved over the course of the day… and also think about what you could have done better. Sometimes when we’re on the giant hamster wheel of life we never really take enough time to pause, evaluate, and celebrate what we achieve in our days. What went well? What didn’t go so well? How could you make sure it goes better next time? These are all important questions to ask ourselves each evening.
5) Prepare for the day ahead
This can look a lot of different ways; it could be decluttering your space, making a batch of overnight oats for breakfast, or making sure your gym clothes are laid out. The thinking behind all these things is the same. Why make your morning more difficult than it needs to be? Why create the temptation to hit snooze? If you know you’ve got a clean house, a lovely breakfast, and some workout clothes hanging on the radiator waiting for you, and all you have to do is get up, then you’re much more likely to.
5 smart ways to wake up earlier for your healthy morning routine
Want to stop hitting snooze? Here are my tips for you to include in your healthy morning routine…
1) Create a consistent sleep routine
Creating a consistent sleep routine where you go to bed and get up at the same time each day – even at the weekends – is so important. If you roll into bed after midnight one night and then try to go to sleep at 9.30pm another night your body isn’t going to know what’s happening – it’s too all over the place. Instead, focus on establishing a consistent sleep routine and effectively training your body when to sleep and when to wake up!
2) Have a ‘why’ for getting out of bed
Have a reason to get out of bed early. As is explained as this article on Medium, you need to have a strong ‘why’ for getting out of bed earlier – otherwise you’re just going to hit snooze over and over again, right? You need to clearly establish ‘why’ you want to get out of bed earlier. Is it so you can do a workout that you know will make you feel more energised and ready to face the day? Do you want to have time to focus on a side hustle like a blog or a business idea you’re working on? Once you know your why it’s a lot easier to motivate yourself to get out of bed.
3) Do something you enjoy!
It’s so much easier to get up when you know you’ve got something to look forward to. This morning, I confess, I didn’t do a workout, which usually forms part of my morning routine before work. What can I say, it was a cold and miserable Monday morning! What I did do, however, was wake up at the same time. Why? I wanted to have twenty minutes reading my new book before I had to get up and get ready for work. It was such a lovely way to start the day and it’s actually made me want to go to bed early tonight so I can continue reading!
4) Have your morning routine planned out
I know that if I don’t get up at a certain time I won’t be able to do x, y, and z as part of my morning routine. I also know that if I don’t do these things I’ll feel annoyed at myself and also less alert and motivated throughout the rest of the day. If you have a clear plan then you’ll know exactly how far you can deviate from it – and what you won’t be able to do if you hit snooze. If you know you want to have time to make a decent breakfast, or wash your hair because you’ve got virtual meetings scheduled at work, or journal for half an hour, that can be the kick up the bum you need.
5) Have an effective alarm clock
Want to wake up in the mornings? Then have an alarm that’s irritating enough to wake you up. I know some people connect their phone to the radio, but if that was me I’d just fall back asleep while nodding along to my favourite songs. You need something to jolt you out of that warm and sleepy state so it needs to be loud, brash and annoying. My sister’s alarm is the worst and suffice to say whenever I hear it I want to throw her phone across the room – and by that time, you’ve definitely woken up.
How to switch up your morning routine for winter
Your morning routine may need a change of pace for the winter months…
1) This might not be one for everyone but I find when you wake up and it’s absolutely freezing in your house it makes getting up to do your morning routine in winter even less desirable. Nice warm bed versus freezing cold house? There’s really no competition, is there?. I find that popping on my heating for half an hour before my alarm goes off makes a big difference to me getting through my winter morning routine. Let’s face it, when it’s cold and dark you really have to make it as easy for yourself as possible.
2) Want to get a workout in? Make sure you have the right kit. There’s no point saying you’re going to go out for a run in the morning if you only have a flimsy t-shirt and a pair of leggings in a drawer somewhere that you can’t even find. If you’re going to work out in winter then you need cosy workout gear – a fleece top, full-length leggings and possibly even gloves and a hat as well. I’m not saying spend a fortune, just invest in some key pieces and make sure they’re washed and ready to go in the morning. You can even leave them on the radiator overnight so they’re nice and toasty!
3) Create moments of joy in your morning. Sometimes when you wake up in winter you just want to roll over and go back to sleep because it’s still dark, the wind is howling a gale outside, and you’ve got another day sitting at your desk alone because everyone is still working from home. So for me, I like to create little moments of joy in my morning. It might be skipping my workout to read my book in bed, it could be having a lovely hot shower after my workout, or it could be applying my make-up while I watch TV. Be kind to yourself! By doing these things I feel like I’ve had time to ease into my day and I’m not just rolling out of bed and opening my laptop. Yuck.
4) Be good to your skin. I find that being indoors for most of the day with the central heating on is not great for your skin. We’re also getting a lot less light right now which means less vitamin D, as well as waking up and finishing work in the dark. For me, I’ve definitely found that my skin has suffered – at the moment it’s dry but I’ve also been prone to way more breakouts than I usually have. I’ve had to be more stringent about my routine. I would definitely advise investing some time in your morning routine to cleanse, tone and moisturise and create a solid skin care routine.
5) Switch up your breakfast to something warm and hearty. I’m a big fan of overnight oats or cereal for breakfast, but in the winter you want something that’s hot and delicious. My favourite breakfast in winter is instant porridge oats. Why? They take two minutes to make, they’re healthy and filling, and you can top them with something different every day. Add a fresh blueberries or raspberries, get your protein fix with a dollop of peanut butter, or treat yourself to a splodge of jam! In winter more than ever you need to make sure you’re nourishing your body.