Just like breakfast is famed for being the most important meal of the day, other morning rituals can be vital to setting the tone for a successful day, week, and life! There is no one-size-fits-all formula since individual preferences and needs vary so greatly, but here are a few ideas to get you started.
The first step in setting a morning routine is being patient while you figure out what works for you. Some will spring out of bed at 6 a.m., ready for a five-mile run, while others prefer to start slow, with meditation, and lots of coffee.
Getting frustrated because you’ve set expectations for yourself and aren’t meeting them is maybe the easiest way to ensure you’ll give up and just stay in bed forever. In short, get creative with your methods and be patient with your timeline.
Get on a consistent sleep schedule
A good morning starts with a good night’s sleep — or, even better, consistently good sleep, over time. Science says that solid rest contributes to overall mood balance and physical health. Think of sleep like the prequel to your morning routine, priming your brain and body for the tasks ahead.
Be careful what you read
Consuming news is not a novel addition to the morning ritual game, but these days, with many people (especially millennials and Gen Z) getting their news from easily accessible outlets, like social media, it’s more difficult to control what content gets in — and when. Opening Instagram is much easier than collecting and thumbing through the morning paper, after all.
At least one study has shown that reading just three minutes of troubling news in the morning can make you 27% more likely to report having a bad day six to eight hours later! By contrast, the same study revealed that reading a bit of uplifting news made participants 88% more likely to report having a good day.
Move your body
Our bodies are really, really busy when we’re sleeping (which includes muscle repair) but physically taxing days (or regular physical inactivity), weird sleeping postures, and mental stress (among other things) can all contribute to tense muscles in the morning.
Light mobility exercises, stretching*, and foam rolling wake up your circulation and respiration, loosen muscles, and jumpstart the body’s cells with an invigorating boost of oxygen.
*Dynamic stretching is best unless you have time for a proper warm-up. Static stretching cold muscles can lead to injury.
Get in tune with yourself
Taking time to set an intention or ask yourself what you need first thing in the morning gives you something to come back to throughout the day. Think of a single word or a short phrase that describes what you want to focus on, and write it down somewhere you’ll see it.
Word to the wise: focus less on physical tasks (“go to the grocery store” is an intention, but not the best kind for this exercise) and more on internal tasks. For example: “I will be intentional with my time” or “I will be extra careful to redirect negative self-talk.”
Did you know that spider webs have been used as bandages since the first century A.D.? How about that more than a quarter of the bones in your body reside in your feet? (206 bones in the human body, 52 bones between both feet. 52 is more than 25% of 206. Math!)
These are, of course, silly examples, but learning new things wakes up the brain in the same way that physical activity wakes up the body, making it the perfect morning-time activity.
Bonus points: consistent learning doesn’t just make you a better conversationalist (because you’ll be able to speak comfortably about a wide range of topics) — it can actually extend your life.
Here’s to great mornings! Do you have a set morning routine? Let us know in the comments below!
xx, the FabFitFun Team