Think of your morning routine – do you wake up, stretch, and go about your day with ease, or do you jump up, throw on some clothes, and grab breakfast while running out the door? Most of us probably picked the latter, and wished we could somehow transition to the former. Luckily, starting up morning rituals is just a matter of practice and habit – in fact, to form a new habit and get it to stick, research says it takes about 66 days on average.
This might seem like a long time, but at least you will have an improved lifestyle after putting in the hard work of adjusting your routine, and will have greater happiness at the end of the day. Our mornings shouldn’t begin abruptly and hastily – we should have some time to ease into our day so that we can approach it mindfully and optimally.
Here are 9 things you should do every day before 9 AM:
1. Set your alarm for an earlier wake up call
Do you wake up with time to spare in the mornings, or do you have just enough time to throw on your clothes and grab a piece of toast while putting on your shoes on the way to the car? To have a morning routine, you need to set aside enough time for you to get ready while also doing the things that will promote a positive mindset. If you want to start your day on the right note and have some extra time in the morning to gather your thoughts so your day doesn’t feel like a whirlwind, start setting your alarm for 5-10 minutes earlier each day. This way, you will have a wake up time that can support a healthy morning routine.
2. Get some sun
If we still lived closer to nature like our ancestors, we would rise with the sun, and start our day with direct exposure to it. However, living in modern times, many of us don’t get near enough sunshine to support our mental and physical health. Multiple studies have linked early morning light exposure to lower BMI, improved mood, greater energy and concentration, better sleep at night, and much more. Just 10-15 minutes per day in the early morning sun can make a world of difference.
Meditation allows you to quiet your thoughts, center yourself, and prepare your mind, body and soul for a rigorous, trying day ahead. In essence, meditation gives us a chance to detach from the modern world and enter a land of utter tranquility and peace, without a boss, deadlines, people talking to us, and other stressors. If you’d like to read more about the incredible benefits of meditation, you can do so here.
4. Take time to stretch
Stretching in the morning helps to wake up our bones and joints, along with our minds. When we first wake up, our muscles may feel a bit stiff and tight, so stretching them out helps to relax our bodies and prepare them for the day ahead. You can even improve your posture and circulation by doing a few simple stretches in the morning, so set aside 5 or 10 minutes to get those limbs limber.
5. Listen to inspiring music
Countless studies have linked music to improved mood, better concentration and performance, a sounder sleep, and much more. Try to put on some music that pumps you up for the day and contains a positive message, so that you can get in the right mindset for your work or school day. Or, if you feel particularly stressed, you might put on some relaxing, meditative music to listen to while you stretch or get ready.
6. Prepare a nutritious breakfast
Too many people today skip breakfast because they feel they don’t have time to make it, or would just rather pick up something on the way to work. However, how we fuel our bodies in the morning directly influences how much energy we will have during the day. Opt for a healthy smoothie full of fruits, vegetables, and chia or hemp seeds, or a bowl of oatmeal with cut up fruit. If you give your body the nutrients it needs, you will find you have much more energy throughout the day.
7. Have plenty of H20
In addition to a lack of nutrients, too many people also suffer from dehydration. When you wake up in the morning, go for at least one liter of water with cut up lemon to get your digestive system activated and also clear out toxins. Also, make sure to bring a reusable bottle with you to work or school so you can fill up on the go. You probably know how essential water is to our health by now, so make sure you get enough of it both in the morning and during the day.
8. Express gratitude
Either write in a gratitude journal, or express your thanks to someone in your household when you wake up in the morning. Simply writing or saying what you feel thankful for will get your day started on a positive note, and set the stage for a productive, happy day ahead. In our society, it’s far too easy to fall into the habit of complaining about our lives, so instead of draining your energy with this negativity, counter it with gratitude.
9. Practice positive affirmations
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To get your mind focused on the good in your life, you can also say positive affirmations or mantras aloud or in your own head. Our minds can easily fall into a pattern of negative thinking, but we can change our minds through intention and habit, using affirmations as the tool to guide us to more productive, healthy thinking. If you’d like some ideas for morning affirmations, read our article about it here.