How to start a healthy morning routine
Starting your morning with the right tone can make a massive difference to energy levels, productivity at work, and how you perceive the day ahead. You can linger in bed, aggressively hitting the alarm clock a few times before rushing out the door, stressed, to work (and who even has time for breakfast?). But this type of routine may take a toll on you mentally and physically, as rushing manifests stress, and stress impacts health.
My morning routine consists of a few basic self-love habits – nothing crazy or time-consuming – and I always feel calmer and more grounded when I start my day like this. Try, even just for a week, setting up a simple, positive routine that fits in with your lifestyle. You may be surprised at how much more efficient you feel into the morning!
After not drinking overnight for 8 or so hours, we're naturally a little dehydrated, which can affect how we feel and make us groggier than normal. Drinking water when you first rise is a great way to wake up the body! Make it a habit to head to the kitchen and enjoy a big glass of water as soon as your feet hit the floor.
- Cold water can be quite shocking on our system first thing, so go for room temperature or warm.
Steer clear of technology immediately upon wakening
For the longest time I’d wake up, roll over and mindlessly scroll through social media on my phone. It would quickly leave me frazzled, especially if I allowed myself to get sucked into a social media vortex where my AM time would quickly dissipate. With technology, we’re bombarded with information, colour, and both good and bad news, and it can be overstimulating, overwhelming and time-consuming when we first wake up. Even seeing a build-up of emails from overnight can cause us to enter a state of panic! Technology tends to quicken the pace of the world around us – choosing to have a breathing space from it first thing in the morning helps slow everything down.
- Keep your phone on airplane mode until it's time to use it for work.
A nourishing breakfast
Starting our day with a wholesome breakfast means we’re starting our day fuelled – like a car topped up with petrol! Remember, our body needs nutrients to function at its best…not just physically, but mentally too. When we skip breakfast or go for a not-so-nourishing option, we’re often setting our blood sugar levels for a disastrous day, and this habit can really affect our food choices for the coming morning.
- To assist with stable blood sugar levels into the morning, always aim for a protein-rich breakfast (e.g. eggs, smoothie with protein powder)
Rise a little earlier
Waking up a little earlier gives us more time in the morning to really set ourselves up for the day. Even an extra half an hour can make a huge difference – think, a slightly longer shower where you can enjoy the warm water on your skin, a little more room to make something extra yummy for breakfast AND sit down and enjoy it. Time to make sure you’ve got healthy nourishing food sorted for the day ahead and even some space for a little reading.
Move your body!
The benefits of exercise are endless and extend far beyond the physical. Starting the day with movement is a beautiful way to enter the morning. I sit at a desk a lot for work, and taking the time to get a little activity in the AM helps keep my body feeling a little extra fluid throughout the day. It also helps me manage stress, and means that when I get home after a long day I can really just relax – exercise has already been ticked off!
And finally, if you can get sunlight on your eyes first thing this can be a great way at resetting your internal body clock – possibly helpful if you’re struggling with sleeping problems or insomnia.
Danijela Unkovich is a nutritionist and blogger at Healthy Always, where she shares recipe ideas and wellness inspiration.