Could a Morning Routine be the Key to Better Mental Health?
Before you continue reading take a minute to write down what you do in the morning from getting out of bed to starting work. What kinds of things does your list include? Do you get up with enough time to have a relaxing start to the day and fit in some self care? Or do you hit snooze for as long as possible and then get up with enough time to go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, get dressed and run out of the door?
In the not so distant past I would have easily fallen into the latter category. I had worked in the same job for 10 years, I worked hard but was unappreciated and always overlooked for promotion or development opportunities. I didn’t realise it at the time but I had become so down and I was in a mindset of just looking forward to the next weekend or my next holiday. In fact things had gotten so bad that I even worked overtime in this job I hated to pay for expensive holidays so that I could escape the job I hated!
I’d get up in the morning and do the ‘basics’ such as brush my teeth, grab some breakfast and get dressed. I had nailed down how long this took so that I could stay in bed as long as possible. This routine was doing nothing for me. It wasn’t helping me change my situation at all.
How did I realise I needed a new morning routine?
Unfortunately I had to burn out in order to see that something needed to change. It wasn’t until I was signed off work with stress for several weeks that I started to immerse myself in personal development. I learned all about visualisations, affirmations, meditation and self care. I hadn’t hear of self care before and it ended up forming the basis of my ‘recovery’.
I started to put all of these things into action
- I used the app WordSwag to create fun quotes that I saved into an album on my phone. These were my affirmations.
- I made a dream board and started to visualise the things I wanted in my life.
- I started to meditate which was amazing for reducing my stress and getting my anxiety under control.
- I started to workout. I read the quote ‘workout because you love yourself, not because you hate your body’ and this completely changed my outlook on exercise.
- I started to READ again. As a child I had loved reading, but into adulthood (especially whilst studying for my degree) I lost the love of reading. It felt amazing to re-connect with something I loved. Now I have a library of personal development books!
- I also started to journal. I had done this many years ago and found that it really helped me make sense of things and to quieten my mind. To me writing things down is really therapeutic as then I don’t have to think about them all the time as I know they are safely written down.
- I started to be grateful! Gratitude is the MOST important thing that I make time for everyday. In fact this isn’t part of my morning routine – I think about everything I’m grateful for just before I fall asleep 🙂
So how can you create a morning routine
- Firstly decide how much time you can set aside for this. I decided to get up an hour earlier to fit in my routine (6am), but you can work with however much time you have.
- Decide what is it that you want your morning routine to achieve? Do you want to feel calm to start your day? Fired up? Inspired? Motivated?
- Decide what you want to include. Maybe pick two or three things that you most want to focus on to begin with. You can try these out and see how they work for you, and then tweak or add in more if you want to.
- If you are going to read which book will you begin with? If you are going to meditate do you need to download an app? If you are going to exercise then do you need to find a workout on YouTube? Make sure you get prepared.
- If you struggle to fit things into your morning then just do your best! You can spread things throughout the day if this is easier for you and you will still feel the benefits. If this is the case then just do a few key activities in the morning and then maybe workout after work, read before bed etc…etc…just make it work for you.
How did my morning routine improve my mental health?
Once I began to carry out my morning routine the changes I saw in myself were huge. I started to feel re-connected with myself again. I remembered what made me happy. I could hear my gut instinct and became more confident in making decisions.
I suddenly had dreams to focus on (thanks to my dream board) and knew what I wanted to make happen. I felt happy visualising this everyday and it gave me hope that I could change my situation.
I started to gain clarity on what it was that I really wanted to do. I finally understood my life purpose after years of trying to figure this out!
My stress and anxiety lifted. I’m not claiming that a morning routine cured it, but it did reduce it a lot.
I started to prioritise me and my health. It felt amazing to know that no matter how the day turned out I had already done everything that I needed to do to take care of me by 7am! If I stuck to my morning routine then whatever happened at work had no power over me and I knew that it would never be able to stop me putting myself first. If I got home from work feeling exhausted and drained then it didn’t matter because I had already done my morning routine 🙂
It transformed my life! So much so that a few short months later I made the decision to take redundancy from my job of 10 years because it made me miserable and I just wasn’t willing to settle for that anymore.
Last words of advice
Take your time. You don’t have to wake up tomorrow a whole hour earlier and carry out all of these activities on your first try. Plan for it. Choose a few to begin with. See it as an experiment and just see what works for you. Use the journalling part of your morning routine to write about how you are feeling and keep track of your progress.
I can’t wait to hear about the transformations you have too!
Where can you find more help?
Come over and join us in the Facebook group which is full of lovely ladies who are all working on making the leap from 9-5 to working full time in their businesses and living life on their own terms 🙂