Let me start by saying this: YOUR best morning routine may not look like the next person’s morning routine. And that’s okay. We’ll outline ten steps for a fabulous start to your day, which can be modified to fit your preferences and lifestyle.
So, don’t stress about the details if changing things up would suit you better. You do YOU! And, as always, the very best routine, is the routine you’ll actually stick to. Am I right? 😉
Habits for a Healthy Morning Routine
Here are ten suggested practices for an optimal healthy morning routine. We’ll dive in one by one and discuss each option. Look for ways to optimize these morning routine practices to fit you best.
Ten healthy morning routine practices:
- Commit to no screen time (iPhone, laptop, iPad etc.) for the first hour.
- Wake up earlier than you currently do so you’re not in a rush.
- Program your mindset for the day.
- Get 15 minutes of light.
- Drink a glass or two of water (bonus points for adding lemon).
- Do a quick 10-15 minute stretch, yoga, or light workout routine.
- Deep breathing stress relief for five minutes.
- Write down a few priorities.
- Eat some healthy food with your favorite morning beverage.
- Listen to a TED talk, podcast, or a great audiobook while you eat or get ready.
Ditch the screen for an optimal start to your day
How beneficial is it to pick up your phone and check email or read the latest piece of drama on Facebook as soon as you open your eyes for the day? This habit eats time and causes stress more than anything.
Checking phones first thing can be very addicting. I know firsthand, and I’m still working on it. On mornings where I put self-care and routine first, I’m much more calm and focused.
When I check email or hop on Pinterest to check stats, the first thing that disappears is my time. And the next thing to go is my calm mind. It fragments into about a dozen different ideas, to-do’s, and I need to’s.
This makes my morning routine very hard to stick with. I begin telling myself that I don’t have time for it. Put self-care before your screen, and start your day with minimal stress.
Wake up earlier than you currently do
My first inclination is to say that waking up early in the morning is best, but it’s not for everyone. A morning routine should be personalized, and that’s what’s most important. There’s no one-size-fits-all best morning routine.
Maybe you work late shifts, or your mind can’t focus before 9am (or later). That’s fine. The benefits of waking up with the sun are that you get lots of daylight, sleep is often improved, and you’ll find that you have much more time in your day.
However, it’s not for everyone, so let’s talk about waking up earlier than you currently do, if you never have time for yourself in the morning. Perhaps you’re able to incorporate some of these healthy morning habits while waking at your current time, and that’s great.
Many of us spend our entire morning rushing and scurrying around. Always running late. It’s a terribly stressful way to start the day.
So, if you’re a scurrier, start getting up an hour and a half before you need to walk out the door or head into your home office. If that time frame sounds drastic, just give it a try for a week. I think you’ll fall in love with that slower morning pace. You can always go back to running like a chicken.
It can be quite the challenge to wake up earlier if you’re really not the morning type. This little sunrise alarm clock works wonders when you’re fighting the snooze button battle! Its gentle waking light is very helpful when you’re groggy.
If you’re still not winning the battle of the snooze, this hilarious runaway clock might do the trick! It could also work wonders for a kid that’s hard to wake in the morning. 😉
Buy yourself more time at the start of the day for some concentrated self-care; it will improve your outlook, productivity, and give you a more peaceful morning.
Program your mindset for the day
Instead of reaching for that phone, grab a journal or notebook and write out three thoughts (or more if you’d like). We’re keeping things simple here. It’s optimal to keep your journal near your bed. You can jot these things down before you even stand up.
Write three positive affirmations, thoughts, dreams you may have for the future, or three things you’re grateful for right now in your life. This step doesn’t take long, but it works wonders for setting up a positive mindset on which to base your day.
If you’d like to journal more, that’s great. But taking just 3-5 minutes to physically write out these few things can make a big difference in your morning. Bonus points if you read them aloud to yourself. It cements them in your mind, and speaking out loud helps you wake up.
Get 15 minutes of light
There are many benefits of getting direct sunlight on your face in the morning. Among them are a nice boost in serotonin for the day. Early sunlight also helps regulate our sleep hormone, melatonin, and balances our sleep-wake cycle.
If you can swing 10-15 minutes of sunlight directly on your face sometime during your day — and morning is a great time to add this mood-boosting benefit — your skin also produces necessary vitamin D.
When you live in a location with long winters like I do, here in Colorado, a light-therapy box can work wonders for your mood. I frequently start my day with 15 minutes of light on the gray snowy days.
On sunny mornings, I love to bundle up and sit on my front porch for 15 minutes to allow those golden rays to light up my mood for the day. The chilly air invigorates me, and that gorgeous eastern sun is life-giving.
Drink some water to rehydrate
When you first wake up, you’ve been without water for several hours. I have a bad habit of reaching for my coffee before anything else, but I recently started drinking a glass of water beforehand. I’ve found that it gets rid of those nagging headaches I sometimes wake up with.
If you can get a glass of water into your system before anything else, your body will thank you. Adding a little lemon to your water also has some health benefits. But, if that’s not your thing, at least get a glass of water in before coffee or tea.
Getting hydrated will also help with the next step in creating your best morning routine.
Start your day off with movement
If you make a morning workout part of your routine already, that’s great! Physical movement of any kind after lying in bed for hours will get your system moving, inside and out. Stretching your muscles, improving blood flow, and waking up that lymph system are great for a healthy morning routine.
You can get great benefits by incorporating just 10-15 minutes of stretching or easy yoga, etc. into your morning. Try a quick stretch routine like this one that’s only 15 minutes!
If you’d like to try a beginner’s morning yoga routine, the following 10-minute body movement sequence is excellent. When you move your body even for a few minutes at the start of your day, those endorphins get going and your brain gets much-needed oxygen.
Practice some deep breathing every morning
You can call it meditation, deep breathing, or prayer time. Take time to sit still for five minutes; close your eyes and focus on your breath. Say a quick prayer or just sit in silence.
Incorporating this mindful practice into your personal best morning routine could be a game-changer for you — especially if stress is a regular part of your day. Deep breathing has a relaxation benefit that’s almost unparalleled.
Sit in a comfortable place that’s quiet, where you won’t be distracted or disturbed.
I like to push one nostril closed with my finger and breathe deeply through the other nostril for 30-45 seconds, and then switch. You can also breathe deeply through your nose normally, filling up the bottom part of your belly until it sticks out, and exhale slowly.
Do this for a few minutes while keeping a relaxed face, body, and mind. Try setting a timer for 5 minutes… but don’t be surprised if you’re not quite ready to stop.
Write down a few goals for the day
Now that we’ve had time to take care of some important mindset, stress relief, and physical exercises, we can start to focus on work. Whatever tasks you’re facing for the day, write down 2-3 priority things you’d like to accomplish in the hours you have available to you.
If you already have an organized to-do list, maybe review that and put a star next to the few things that must get done, in order of importance. Making efficient lists and prioritizing is a great skill to learn.
I like to tackle the hardest tasks (or the dreaded ones) first. After that, the other jobs feel lighter, and I have an accomplished feeling early in my day. If you need more brain power before taking on the hard stuff, then reverse that order. Everyone’s different.
Nourish your body with good stuff for a healthy morning routine
We can’t leave out food and coffee. Honestly, I live for coffee. It’s like angel nectar (is that a thing?)… and it’s the first thing I usually think of and smell when I come to my senses in the morning.
Now that I’m adopting healthier habits, like you, I’m forcing myself to start with water, though. Then, it’s coffee with half and half. There’s nothing more magical.
For you, it may be tea, or those interesting — I mean healthy — fermented drinks… whatever suits you best. And with your favorite morning beverage, there should be real food. Honest food that has nutritional value. Not Cocoa Puffs or Sugar Smacks. Those can be occasional dessert…
If you’re not a breakfast fan, you could try one of these smoothie recipes. They’re healthy, pack great protein, and are simple to fix. Great for on-the-go, too!
Or, if you like complex carbs that keep you energized, try some of the overnight oat recipes out there. I LOVE overnight oats mixed with peaches and almond milk.
For some extra protein to start your day, try a couple of fried, poached, or scrambled eggs with a tad of shredded Parmesan on top, sliced avocados, and bullet-proof coffee. Protein and healthy fats keep you satisfied longer, and they’re great brain food.
There are plenty of nutritious breakfast foods out there. Take time to enjoy something good to round out your healthy morning routine.
Nourish your mind each morning…
While you eat or get ready for work, how about listening to an inspiring TED Talk? If you haven’t discovered TED yet, you’re missing out! Waaaaay more inspiring than Facebook or Pinterest in the morning.
Tune in a few mornings per week for a brief message (TED talks are held to 20 minutes or less) that provides your mind with amazing food for thought, and can sometimes be life changing!
Another morning option is to indulge in 20-30 minutes of a great audiobook you’ve been wanting to get to. Or open your paperback and enjoy a chapter or two.
Try this Brené Brown talk about vulnerability. It has over 37 million views for a reason. It’s a perfect pairing for your healthy breakfast.
Here’s a list of ten more inspirational talks on TED. But don’t stop there. TED has thousands of interesting and informative talks that apply to almost any area of interest. It’s truly a great way to enlarge your thinking and get your wheels turning each day.
Final thoughts about crafting your very best morning routine
If these morning routine suggestions seem overwhelming, choose a few you’d like to try. Don’t feel pressured to make a complete overhaul of your morning all at once… or at all. Making a few imperfect changes can make a huge difference.
Implementing a healthy morning routine is meant to enhance your well-being. Routine is an awesome form of self-care, but not if you feel enslaved to it. Make your morning schedule serve you, not the other way around.
Do you have a favorite healthy habit for your mornings? Let’s hear it!
Please PIN and share!