Morning Routine- how you can build yours

At the first glance, getting up earlier, even if only by a few minutes, isn’t an appealing idea. I think most of us would be distinctly reluctant, thinking that is already hard enough to wake up and get to work on time. But as hard as it might look, getting up earlier could change not only your morning rush but the dynamics of your entire day.

I want to share with you an amazing thing that I heard yesterday from one of my patients: “It is amazing how happy I feel getting up earlier, given that I was quite skeptical about it. But the idea of gaining time and the satisfaction of doing things for me and feeling better is really pleasant! Surprisingly, I even have the same pleasure getting up early during the weekend.” That’s not the only time I’ve heard something like that, but just the latest example of “looking forward to waking up and feeling good”.

There are many books and approaches for “the morning routine”, and maybe one of the most famous Hal Elrod’s “Miracle Morning”. A recent article in The New York Times also offers a good overview of morning habits that “everyone should try”.

Here what I’ve learnt so far from my patients and my own life:

1. Experimentation phase

Try a first version (the V1 of your MR- morning routine) and give yourself 1–2 weeks to see what suits you the best. Without changing everything all the time, you do need an experimentation phase where you’ll try to figure out what didn’t work as planned and, mostly importantly, why it didn’t work. Was the problem in the planning or the execution? :)

2. Stronger together

Don’t be alone in this, find a partner — that can be a friend, your life partner, your coach, your doctor… It makes you accountable and help you to remain objective. You’ll also be helping to inspire the other person and others, whether that’s your colleagues, your friends and family, or whoever!

3. Even a few minutes of sport in the morning matter

It’s on many people’s lists, but personally I insist on it — even if you have a more intense sport session later in the day, having at least 7–10 minutes of exercise in the morning have great benefits. This “warm up” exercise may not make a huge difference in your metabolic burn, but that’s not the most important thing — even a quick 10-minute early sweat will give us a boost in energy and brain power.

There are many sport apps you can use, my favourites right now are: The 7-minute workout and Les mills (for the latter I often do 10–15 minutes of a class, like Body Pump or Body Combat, and then the whole class usually in the evening). I am tempted to try the Peloton bike sometimes soon, I met them at a conference and their concept and bike look pretty cool, a very convenient way for a quick exercise in the morning and more. And of course, when I am in the mood for a good hour of sport in the early morning, nothing is more energising for me than a class at 1 Rebel UK with Tiago or Daniel or Val — for sure, you’ll be on fire after their class.

4. Cold shower

This is even less appealing than getting up earlier :) Don’t say too quickly that “getting up earlier and having a cold shower is not for me” — you might miss something important for your energy, your mood, your immunity. I have a friend who recently told me: ‘I can’t do anything of the MR, except the cold shower, which is really great by the way”. He’s having a particularly stressful period in his life and I even hesitated mention the ‘cold shower’ to him, not only to keep it as simple as possible but also because he just hates cold temperatures. I finally gave him all of the pillars of a MR and he picked only the one I almost skipped recommending. A cold shower for a few minutes (increase the time progressively) will increase circulation, oxygenation, and brown fat (which will boost metabolism). Do note that this isn’t recommended if you have Raynaud’s syndrome (the fingers and toes become a little blue).

5. Identify the smallest details that matter for you

A good morning routine starts with a good evening routine. Preparing your sport clothes, a glass of water near your bed and making sure your room is the right temperature for a good night sleep are just as important as the morning routine itself. If you feel very sleepy in the morning, do not meditate in bed right after waking up, chances are you’ll just fall asleep again. And don’t drink your glass of water before brushing your teeth (clean your tongue of your overnight toxins first).

6. Stay on track for at least 21 days

Do not rush to say you don’t see any benefits after the first day or even after the first week. Neuroscience teaches us that behaviours need some time to be built and even more time to consolidate them. But encouragingly enough, after only 5 days of meditating in a row, the health benefits seems to be there, even if they are still silent: after only 5 days we can see on an MRI brain scan the changes related to meditation practice.

If you haven’t yet try the Morning Routine concept, I hope I made you curious enough to give a shot to at least one thing, whatever it is- meditation, cold shower, being grateful for the day you have in front of you.

And if you haven’t yet try the Morning Routine concept, I hope I’ve made you curious enough to give a shot to at least one thing, whatever you’d choose to be- waking up 15 minutes earlier, meditation, cold shower, being grateful for the present moment and the exciting day you have in front of you.

Love,

Lavinia

Medical Doctor, Founder of Akesio