We all know the expression: “Did you get out of bed on the wrong side this morning?”
Indeed, a bad mood is often the result of a bad morning routine.
The morning makes or breaks the day. The start of a day sets a precedent for what's to follow.
It's easy to become caught up in the distractions and projections of the lives of others too, not just those who live in our house, but those we interact with when we check Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Our mind becomes fragmented as it seeks to digest all the news and goings on in our friends and followers networks.
So rule number 1 for the best morning routine is: don't look at your phone or computer, at least not until you have followed my steps below.
My morning routine is designed to wake up your mind and body in a positive, healthy way. It creates a mindset conducive to a happy, productive day ahead.
Everything in this list is easy to do and requires minimal effort.
The Best Morning Routine for a Happy, Positive, Productive Day
Step 1. Follow Easy This Stretching Routine
At the core of my morning routine is waking my brain and preparing it for the day. Of course, mind and body are intrinsically linked; so as soon as I wake up I stretch.
It doesn't need to be for long, or complicated, but the aim is to get the body moving and stimulate blood flow to the brain.
- Stretch your arms upward towards the sky for 20 seconds
- Touch your toes three times, each for 5 seconds (if you can't touch your toes just bend as far as you can)
- Roll you neck around very slowly – 5 times
- Do Tai Chi twisting for 1 minute (see video below)
Step 2. Make Your Bed Before Leaving the Bedroom
Tidy life, tidy mind. I live by this saying.
Put last night away properly by making your bed. Tuck yesterday away and psychologically prepare yourself to embrace the new day.
Leaving a room tidy after you've used it is conducive to mental organisation; it creates a platform for a positive interactions to follow.
Small mind hacks like this are great when you've had a bad night's sleep: it's a way of mentally putting that negative experience behind you and moving forward positively.
Step 3. Drink a Big Glass of Water
You're most likely 5-10 minutes into this morning routine, and it's time to rehydrate. It's surprising just how many people leave the house without drinking anything, let alone some water.
Pour a tall glass and neck it in 3 gulps. I'm not a fan of drinking lots of water in one go, but you will be amazed at the difference properly hydrating first thing in the morning makes to your mental performance in the coming hours.
According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry (158), the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are approximately 83% water.
Consider that you have been without water for 8+ hours. Your mind and body really needs this.
Step 4. Go Outside for Fresh Air
This next step is super easy and very effective (as long as you don't live in a very polluted area, of course).
No matter how cold it is, step outside and take some deep breaths. If you'd prefer to, you can do your stretches outside while getting your dose of fresh air.
Take 10 or so long, deep breaths. Morning air tends to be the most fresh, so getting that fresh oxygen to your brain will set it up with the right fuel for the day.
Step 5. Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and a wholesome, healthy breakfast should easily fuel you through until lunchtime.
Where possible, fuel your body with whole, plant-based foods loaded with complex carbohydrates.
Personally, I start the day with whole grains: wholemeal bread with whole earth peanut butter and a chopped banana, or a cereal with added dried fruits like prunes and raisins.
I'll sprinkle flax seed, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or whatever healthy additions I have in stock on my toast or cereal.
I finish off with a cup of berries, such as blueberries or strawberries.
To drink I'll have coffee or green tea.
Step 6. Don’t Procrastinate – Get Ready & Get Started!
Of course, those on a deadline to get to work will have no choice but to get ready and get going, so this may apply more so for those who work from home or run their own business.
But either way, so many of us end up being unnecessarily late because we allow ourselves to be distracted:
We have the radio on and get caught up in the show.
We have the TV news on and watch for too long.
We become engaged in debate or bickering with other family members over things that can wait until another time.
We start tidying up or pondering unscheduled tasks, thinking we have “just a couple of minutes”.
This leads to stress: to rushing at the last minute, driving too fast, running to the station, cursing the bus driving to hurry up. This is a recipe for a bad mood and bad energy for the rest of the day.
Don't get distracted by external noise. Focus on getting to work and starting early.
1. Don't Turn on the Radio or TV
I'm always tempted to put talk radio or the news on, but this isn't always a good idea. Not only can it disrupt your routine and make you late, but the news and debates of our times can be mentally draining.
There is a positive time to engage in debate on these issues and to digest bad news, but first thing in the morning isn't the optimal time.
Some people feel a big emotional impact from hearing or seeing tragedy and the worlds ills. If that's you, then steer clear of TV and radio in the morning.
Avoid social media for the early part of the day, too.
2. Don't Skip the Routine Through Laziness
Even if you didn't sleep well, or got to bed too late and didn't get the hours you need, still carry out your routine.
In fact, that's even more of a good reason to do so, as your body will need this early rejuvenation (more than other days) to oil the cogs in its engine.
Sure, you might be running late and need to scale back aspects of the routine, but make sure you stretch, drink water and get that healthy breakfast inside.
3. When You Have Time, Meditate
On weekends or days off, experiment with a morning meditation.
This is a wonderful way to orientate your mind towards your moving forward positively for the day.
It is also a way to reconnect with Mother Nature and align yourself with the Earth before starting your day.
You can do this outside if the weather permits, or in your front room – wherever you can find some peace and quiet.
If you aren't into seated/traditional meditation practice, try simply listening to some relaxing music and looking out over the garden, or out onto the street, wherever you can sit a while, take some long deep breaths and achieve some mental calm for a while.
Combine this with Step 4 above – taking in your fresh air.
If you weren't aware, I have meditation/relaxing music you can listen to on my YouTube channel.
If you subscribe and hit the notification bell, you will be notified of new music.