How To Create a Morning Routine That Will Prioritize Your Mental Health
The buzzing of the alarm goes off way too early, and you just can’t pry yourself out of bed.
The only “morning routine” that you can even manage at this point is changing from sweats to yoga pants and taking 2 minutes to brush your teeth.
Don’t focus on “being productive,” instead, think of the following practices as exercises for the mind. Also, don’t feel like you need to do them all right now! Instead, start with one, stick with it for a week or two, and then add in another one.
In a month or two, you’ll have built an entire morning routine!
Writing Affirmations (I like to do 2 pages)
For those of us that spend most of our days with our hands glued to a keyboard, physically writing on paper can be therapeutic.
I like to keep a specific notebook or journal just for affirmations and I write two full pages each day. I use two types, affirmations with a message to start the day on the right foot (Today is a great day) or more specific and goal-oriented like (I have 1,000 followers on Medium).
If you’re not convinced, an article in Psychology Today writes,
According to Walter E. Jacobson, M.D., there is value in affirmations of this nature, because our subconscious mind plays a major role in the actualization of our lives and the manifestation of our desires. What we believe about ourselves at a subconscious level, he says, can have a significant impact on the outcome of events.
Writing affirmations seems to have 2 key benefits for me:
- It puts me in a positive mental space to start or end the day
- It gives my mind a goal or something to focus on
How to Get Started:
- Look around your house for a notebook or journal to dedicate to writing affirmations.
- Choose 1–2 daily affirmations. For inspiration, I really like this website.
- Choose a time/place for your affirmations. For example, “in the morning, before I start my work, I will write 2 pages of affirmations, while listening to my favorite music on Spotify.”
If you don’t know what tapping is, or if you feel like this is way too “woo woo” for you, I hear you, I was skeptical too.
I first heard about tapping about a decade ago, but aside from knowing what it was, I never really pursued it.
However, I was working with a therapist last year and she suggested that I give it a try to help with my anxiety.
Now, I’m not a medical professional, so I can only speak from my own experiences, but surprisingly, tapping has become one of my favorite daily habits.
What is tapping?
Basically, “tapping” or EFT (emotional freedom technique) is where you tap different meridian points, similar to acupuncture.
According to “Medical News Today,”
blocks or imbalances in the flow of energy lead to ill health. According to EFT advocates, tapping on these meridian points with the fingertips restores the balance of energy to resolve physical and emotional issues.
It can also work in a similar way to mindfulness, as it can draw a person’s attention to their body and breathing. It may serve as a mental distraction from the issues that are causing anxiety or stress.
How to Get Started:
- Read a few articles on tapping to get a better idea of what it is and what you’ll be doing.
- Find a tapping video, here’s an example.
Whether tapping really works or is more of a placebo effect, I can say that I always leave my daily tapping sessions more at peace and with a smile on my face. Sometimes I’ll do a short 5-minute tapping video and a few weeks ago I even did one that was almost 2 hours, so find what works for you.
10,000 Steps Outside
I’ve found that something as simple as walking outside can have the biggest impact on my mental wellbeing. In fact, if I have to choose between getting an extra 30 minutes of work done, or going on a walk, I know that the better choice is to go with the walk.
According to Harvard Medical School,
Research suggests that mood disorders can be lifted by spending more time outdoors.
First, look at your phone and see how many steps you get in a typical day. Once you know what you’re currently working with, you can decide how many additional steps you’ll try to get each day.
Then, once you have a goal in mind, it’s helpful to think ahead about when you could get additional steps in.
- During a lunch break
- 5-15 minutes in between meetings
- Immediately after you finish work for the day
- After dinner with a friend, partner, or family member
- At 6:30 AM as soon as you wake up
There is not a “right” way to do this, so find what works best for you, with your current schedule. Some people have more flexible schedules and can take multiple short walks throughout the day, while others have less flexible schedules, so one long walk is a better fit.
How to Get Started:
- Set a daily steps goal (like 10,000).
- Decide ahead of time when you’ll take breaks to walk.
- If you need additional motivation, listen to your favorite podcast or an audiobook while walking.
I like to start with a few minutes of prayer and then I follow this up with a 10-minute meditation ( I use Headspace). For most of 2020, I did the bare minimum, using a 3 or 5-minute meditation.
For some reason, the thought of moving up to 10 minutes felt really overwhelming, even though I’ve done it in the past.
But, after some encouragement from my therapist, I finally took the leap to 10 minutes and not only has it been easier than I thought, I can also see and feel the positive impact.
Increase your time
By the end of 2021, I hope to be up to 20 minutes daily, but for now, I’ll stick with 10 minutes for a couple of months.
I know that many of you already meditate or pray so I won’t harp on this too much, but if you don’t do it as regularly as you would like to, I’d encourage you to just go for it!
How to Get Started:
- If you’re new, it can be helpful to use an app, I enjoy using Headspace.
- Choose a length of time, I’m currently doing 10 minutes but I started out doing 1 minute when I first began meditating.
- Try meditating or praying (or both) at the time each day, like “while my coffee is brewing” or “at 11:30 AM as soon as my lunch break starts.”
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