The Power of a Morning Routine
The loud beep of the alarm goes off and it buzzes straight to your head! You were up late last night watching a TV, so decide to switch the snooze button on and roll over. It goes off again, the sound of the alarm makes you feel anxious and you really don’t want to get up. You hit snooze. It goes off again, so you finally decide to get up and reluctantly switch the alarm off.
You immediately check social media channels. 5 mins turns into 10, and you realise you’re late for work. You jump in the shower, quickly get dressed, grab a banana and rush out the door.
You hit peak rush hour, it’s busy, your frustrated and late. You get to your desk just after 9am feeling rushed, frazzled and stressed out. You start the day unorganised, out of control and play catch up for the rest of the day. People who don't have consistent routines or habits, end up being out of control and reactive to their surroundings.
Does this sound familiar? I know I used to wake up at the last second. My morning would be rushed, I’d feel anxious and not be prepared for the day. It wasn't until I understood the power of morning a routine, and how it improved my performance that I realised how important it was. People who don't have consistent routines or habits, end up being out of control and reactive to their surroundings.
Having a morning routine with habits and rituals can literally change your life. The morning is one time of the day we have complete control over. There is no unpredictability, no distractions or manufactured emergencies that take our energy and focus. When we take control of the first part of the day, we are better equipped to take control of the rest.
Building a morning routine sets the tone for the day. It builds confidence, and consistency. We address our goals, and get focused on what matters for us. We control what time we wake up, what we eat, if we exercise and how we approach our mindset. This structure that will carry us through tough times, when we are fatigued, stressed or tired, we rely on these habits to carry us through.
There are many ways to structure a morning routine or habits Here are some tried and tested, that literally ALL high achievers do in the first 30 minutes of their day.
Make your bed
Theres a reason why making your bed is so big in the army. Making our bed in the morning creates discipline, and we accomplish our first task of the day. This small sense of achievement carries onto completing other tasks later in the day.
It doesn’t have to be hotel standard, but making our bed as presentable as possible is our first win of the day.
We expel about 0.5kg of water overnight through breathing and perspiration. And we need to replenish the water we’ve lost as soon as we wake. Heading straight for coffee or orange juice might not be the best idea, as this leads to further dehydration. Dehydration causes foggy memory, irritability and hunger. Drinking water first thing clears our digestive tract and kicks starts our metabolism and gets our body functioning for day ahead.
Drink high quality room temperature water upon rising. Add a pinch of himalayan sea salt and a squeeze of lemon, as this adds structure, electrolytes and minerals back into the water.
Sunlight or Movement
Our circadian rhythm is our own internal 24 hour clock. It regulates our body temperature, digestion and energy levels. This can be shifted from late nights, poor eating habits and sleeping in. Being exposed to to sunlight or movement early in the day signals our body to wake up. We have photoreceptors in our eyes and ears that absorb light that reset our circadian rhythm. And movement spikes our daytime hormones helping us wake up. Sunlight and movement early makes us more awake and alert early in the day and sleepy at night.
Expose yourself to sunlight as early as possible, sit near a window at work, buy a SAD light if there isn't much sun where you live, even some light through the clouds is better than nothing.
Get at least 5 minutes of movement early in the day. This could be Yoga, mobilisation, bodyweight exercises or going for a walk outside.
Take a cold shower
The physiological benefits of being exposed to the cold are underrated. Cold exposure, reduces inflammation, improves circulation, speeds up recovery, eases stress and even helps burn fat!! There is also a psychological benefit in that it trains us to be uncomfortable. If we can make ourselves uncomfortable every morning then we are able to cope with other uncomfortable situations during the day.
Start your day with your usual shower. Switch between hot and cold towards the end. 20-30 secs per time for 3 cycles. Make sure to finish the shower on cold. REALLY cold if you can. Hit the chest and upper back as these places cool the body the quickest.
Meditation lowers stress and inflammation in the body. It releases feel good hormones and improves our focus by regulating how things impact us. Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated.
Use an app like Headspace or Calm, or find a quiet place to focus on your breath. This will enhance calm and presence that will carry on through the day. If Meditation isn’t your thing then think of a task that might be challenging or difficult that day. Visualise how you’re going to deal with it. We are likely to handle it better if we have already replayed it in our head.
Daily Journaling is a powerful tool that directly impacts areas of our life. Daily Journalling creates clarity, reduces frustration and stress, that help us better understand ourselves and other people around us. Keeping a gratitude journal, affirms the good we have in our life, recognises the sources and prevents us comparing ourselves to other people.
Write three things you are grateful for and why. No matter how big or small, as this reshapes our focus on what we do have, rather than what we don't have or think we want.
Scribbling our monkey mind onto a piece of paper can be a great release and help us get on with the day. A great stress reliever. Pent up emotions can come back to haunt us later in day, as we might overact to certain situations. If you feel a sense of overwhelm and stress write everything out, I guarantee you’ll feel better after.
I hope some of these stick out for you, and you see the benefit of consistent rituals and habits. Create a morning routine, set yourself up for the day to addressing your own goals and needs instead of our other peoples. I guarantee you’ll be happier, more productive and stronger to handle what daily life throws your way!
Let me know if any of these work for you, or are interested in more habits and routines.