Think about those mornings when you just feel BLEH. When you snooze your alarm again and again and when the outside world just seems too much to handle. A morning routine checklist can be just the thing to get you out of bed and ready to face the world. Not only that, on days when you already feel fine, having a morning routine can help take your day from average to extra-ordinary. The first hour after waking is the perfect time to take some time for yourself, to give yourself clarity and direction and to set the tone and energy for the day ahead.
As a personal example, yesterday I worked all day on the computer, had a late client call and then went to see a thriller in the evening. Not the best recipe for a good night’s sleep! I slept late, woke up a few times during the night then got up early feeling unrested and irritable. I normally sleep pretty well but as a former insomniac this is a situation I am very familiar with. On mornings like this it can go one of two ways..
- I take ages to get out of bed, scroll on my phone and feel lazy and unproductive all day OR
- I can do a few things to boost my mood and energy and make the best of the day
Sounds familiar..? Then maybe you’re in need of a morning routine checklist!
What is a morning routine and why do I need a checklist?!
A morning routine is a series of actions that you take each morning to start your day with intention and positivity. Usually this would be the time between waking up and starting work or your tasks for the day. It includes all of the things you do to prepare yourself for the day ahead. Whether you realise it or not, you already have a morning routine! It might be as simple as getting out of bed, getting showered and dressed and having breakfast. But taking a little bit of extra time to be present and mindful and to take care of yourself can make a world of difference to your health and wellbeing. Even Forbes are writing about how morning routines can boot your productivity and success!
I previously wrote about the power of a morning ritual during a crisis and a morning routine for mental health. This was because having a morning routine helped me to get through the most stressful period of my life. I was in a new city, working long hours on not enough sleep and dealing with various physical health problems. Having a morning routine checklist gave me a structure and helped me to stay optimistic and make it through my daunting to do list. Your morning routine can be flexible depending on your needs and your values. But in this article I want to share 5 simple actions you can take each morning to boost your mood and energy.
5 actions to include in your morning routine
Here is my 5 part morning routine checklist to turn your mood around in under an hour. Stay till the end as I have included a morning routine template printable that you can download and use. Implement this checklist daily to see a beautiful transformation in your health and wellbeing. I am currently challenging myself to do all 5 things on the list every morning. Like this post and comment below if you’re with me!
#1 Chase the sunlight
It’s so easy to reach for your phone first thing in the morning. But to set yourself up for a peaceful and productive day, opt for natural sunlight before electronic devices. Our circadian rhythms is our internal clock which controls all of our bodily functions from our metabolism and our digestion. This body clock relies on natural light to regulate itself and can be confused by artificial blue light. Exposing your eyes to sunlight within the first hour of waking signals to your brain that it is daytime, boosting alertness and energy levels.
Getting enough sunlight throughout the day has also been shown to improve your sleep quality at night. Sunlight therapy can also help to restore natural sleep-wake cycles in those who suffer with insomnia. So the first item on your morning routine checklist is to open those windows wide. Even better, head outdoors (without sunglasses) to reap all of the benefits of the morning sunlight. Around 30-45 minutes is recommended as part of your morning routine. However, even 5 minutes of sunlight can help you to feel more alive and energetic for the day ahead!
#2 Breath of fresh air
The second item on your morning routine checklist is to allow yourself to breathe in fresh, clean air. We have all experienced at some point the refreshing effects of a good dose of fresh air in your lungs. First thing in the morning this can be just what you need to boost your mood and energy levels. With closed windows all night, the air inside our homes can become stuffy causing us to feel groggy when the morning arrives. Especially now the seasons are shifting towards the colder months in the northern hemisphere.
Incorporating fresh air into your morning routine helps you to wake up naturally and perk up your mind and body. This could look like opening the windows and letting fresh air into the room. Or head outside and to fill your lungs with fresh air. Combine this with meditation, deep breathing or outdoor movement such as walking or jogging to feel energised and alert. My morning routine checklist always includes a 30 minute walk outside to combine points 1, and 2. This also helps to save time on busy mornings and we are all about that time saving here!
#3 Hydrate and cleanse
As we sleep, we lose water through breathing and sweating which can leave us slightly dehydrated when the morning comes. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, foggy headedness, dry mouth and eyes which doesn’t exactly help us to feel our best! Being dehydrated can also lead to constipation which an also lead to fatigue. We need to eliminate toxins that have accumulated digestive tract as your body metabolises your food and naturally detoxifies itself over night.
For this reason, the third item on your morning routine checklist is to hydrate yourself! No need to go overboard here and force yourself to down a litre of water. Just ensure to drink a glass of water, juice or other non-caffeinated drink you like when you wake up to rehydrate your body. This is enough to wake up your digestive system to flush out any toxins from your system. Save caffeinated drinks such as black tea or coffee until after you have hydrated with other liquids first. Your body will thank you for it! Rather than rely on coffee to wake you up when you get out of bed, give your body a chance to wake up naturally first with the help of this morning routine checklist.
#4 Move and stretch
Moving your body first thing in the morning helps to get your blood flowing and boost oxygen levels. Morning movement will also reduce any inflammation that has built up in your muscles and joints overnight. It’s normal to feel stiff when we wake up which can put you off moving your body until later in the day. However, gentle movement such as walking, yoga or stretching within an hour of waking can help to wake up your physical body and release some of the tension and tightness that causes you to feel fatigued.
Incorporating 10-30 minutes of natural movement and stretching into your morning routine can change your energy and your attitude for the day ahead. Some of the positive effects of morning movement include increasing cortisol and releasing endorphins. This can help you to feel clear and focused, preparing you for a happy and productive day. I love to alternate between morning yoga and walking depending on my mood and time of the month. On days where I really don’t have the energy, just 5 minutes of gently stretching whilst sat on my bed is enough to perk me up and motivate me for the rest of my morning routine checklist.
#5 Nourish your body
Last but by no means least, the final item on your morning routine checklist is to eat a nourishing breakfast. Getting in a good dose of energy and healthy carbohydrates first thing in the morning reduces the stress hormones after a poor nights sleep. Additionally, it gives your body the nutrients it needs to function efficiently and deal with lfie’s stresses. Lack of sleep can also impact your bodies’ ability to balance your blood sugar. Consuming protein and healthy fats along with your carbohydrates helps to stabilize blood sugar and avoid those mid-morning sweet cravings.
Some ideas for a nourishing breakfast to include in your morning routine include:
- Greek yoghurt (not 0% fat) with fruit and muesli
- Porridge oats with fruit and nut or seed butter
- A balanced smoothie made with milk, fruit and protein powder
- Eggs on toast with a side of grilled mushrooms and tomatoes
- Omelet with spinach or other leafy greens
- Cheese and tomato toastie
- Beans on toast with orange juice
Printable morning routine template
I have created a morning routine template that you can download and stick on your wall as a daily reminder. Download the morning routine printable below or create your own checklist template to use. Check off each element of your morning routine each day to boost your mood and energy. Try this for a week and notice your mood and energy levels soar! At the end of the week, reflect on your experience and how you might make changes to feel even better moving forward. Enjoy!
Over to you…
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