How to create a morning routine to boost your mood
Want to start every day with a positive outlook? Here's our guide to mood-boosting morning routines and why everyone should consider reimagining the start of their day.
Mornings are different for everyone, and when it comes to the first few minutes and hours of the day, we all have our own rituals. While some would like to attack the day as soon as they wake up, others would much prefer to spend time cosying up under the duvet, snoozing the alarm.
No matter how you feel about mornings, having a good routine for them can help alleviate stress, lower anxiety, and help set you up for a fantastic day. Here at The Recommended, we’ve created a helpful guide to show you why and how a morning routine can benefit you.
If you’re a night owl, our guide will help explain why you should kickstart a morning routine, and if you’re already an early riser, then hopefully, we can provide some inspiration for you to make your mornings even better.
Importance of a morning routine
A morning routine is important because it sets you up for the day and puts you in the right frame of mind to tackle daily tasks. The basic premise of a morning routine is to make you feel better by following the same schedule.
Author and lifestyle expert Jaya Jaya Myra explained to Bustle that "what you do to start your day will have a profound impact on your mood. When you have a consistent routine, it will help you easily get into and stay in a good mood in the morning and throughout the day".
As well as an improved mood, a morning routine can help give people a feeling of boosted energy throughout the day, increase productivity, and reduce anxiety levels. An improved sense of overall mental well-being (good mood) is one of the main reasons people implement a morning routine.
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Although a schedule that you stick to each morning has been shown to improve mood, it is important to remember that a daily routine won’t help solve mental health problems, and if you are struggling, you should speak to a doctor.
The five best practices for a good morning routine
Once you have decided that you want to begin, change, or improve your morning routine, there are some best practices that experts suggest you follow. Before you start adding different activities to each morning, try to make sure you're following these guidelines to set a positive morning baseline that you can then build on.
You don’t have to stick to all of them, but they are helpful to keep in mind if you want to improve your mood when you wake up. Once you follow these steps the best you can, it's time to start thinking about adding different activities to your routine.
1. Wake up at the same time each morning
Neurologist and sleep expert Matthew Walker advises sleeping at regular times to help you feel better when you wake up. He even suggests waking up at the same time on weekends, so your body has regular patterns of sleep. Your waking up time should be the first regularity of your morning, and it helps with sleep quality and your internal clock. Getting this right means you will feel more energised and, as a result, puts you in a better mood.
2. Don’t hit snooze
Sleep medicine and neurology expert Dr Aarthi Ram told Houston Methodist that hitting snooze is bad for your morning routine. She explained that it negatively affects productivity and that extra five, ten, or 15 minutes of sleep has no benefit. She said: “The ten more minutes of sleep you're granting yourself over and over isn't productive sleep. If anything, all of that interrupted sleep will make you feel more groggy throughout the day.”
3. Remember to rehydrate
During sleep, we lose water through a mixture of sweat and breathing. Hydration is key to making the body feel awake; without properly hydrating, people can feel fatigued. A recent study by researchers at the National Library of Medicine in the US also found that dehydration can cause low mood and add to feelings of depression, so drinking a big glass of water is good practice as soon as you wake up.
4. Avoid screens
Before you get out of bed, try and avoid screens. Instead of checking emails and messages on social media, you should get out of bed and focus on your morning routine. It is best to avoid your phone or laptop until you’ve completed your whole routine, as it will likely distract you or take a chunk out of some of the most important time in your day.
5. Eat breakfast
It has long been debated whether breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Even if it isn’t, breakfast remains vital in giving you the right nutrition and energy to fuel your morning and set you up for the day. Eating a high-energy, healthy breakfast will help fuel your body and maintain energy levels throughout the day. High energy = a better mood.
Seven activities you could add to your morning routine
Once you’re following the best practices for each morning, it's time to add some activity to your morning routine. Adding activities can help build on morning practices, improving your mood. The most important thing to remember is that your morning routine should be about making yourself feel good, so if the activity works for you, go for it.
It’s also important to try and make it a routine, so you are completing it as many days of the week as possible. If you feel like timing may be a problem in the morning, don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to add an activity to a morning routine, which can last for as little as two minutes. So, if you want inspiration for what to add to your morning routine, look no further.
1. Get moving
Go for a run, walk, head to the gym or complete a physical activity. By getting moving in the morning, you can lift your mood because raising your heart rate and getting the blood pumping increases the amount of endorphins released to the brain. Endorphins regulate mood, and an increase in them can make you feel happier and more productive throughout the day.
2. Yoga and stretching
According to experts at The Yoga Connection, you can gain strength, increase productivity and boost your focus throughout the day by practising yoga in the morning. Stretching has also been applauded for having similar effects and can be especially helpful in making you feel less tense.
Meditation helps to train attention and awareness and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state for the rest of the day. By meditating in the morning, you can help relax before the day ahead and overcome the stresses/anxieties of your every day. It may seem tricky to learn at first, but there are plenty of apps and websites to teach and guide you through meditating, including Headspace.
4. Plan your day ahead
You can reduce stress and increase productivity by taking a few minutes to plan your day. It can be as simple as a to-do list that details your tasks and priorities. If you like writing, you could also use a mindfulness journal. Our guide on mindfulness journals outlines the benefits and how to use them.
5. Positive affirmations
One good way to start the day is by writing positive affirmations for yourself. These are positively loaded phrases or statements used to challenge unhelpful or negative thoughts you may be having. By writing down statements supporting yourself regularly, you can minimise negativity for that day and see yourself more positively.
6. Uplifting music or podcasts
Experts from John Hopkins Medicine centre say that listening to uplifting music or podcasts can help brighten your mood and put you in a good headspace for the upcoming day. “Research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory”.
7. Self-care activity
A good morning routine comes under the branch of self-care, but other activities to look after yourself can also make you happier and have a better mood for the day. You could take a bath, read a book, complete a skincare routine, or read through the daily paper.
Want more guidance and tips on well-being and fitness? Check out our wellness and fitness sections, with guides including yoga vs pilates, posture tips, and the best multi-gym equipment for working out at home.
Finn Byrne is a Digital Writer for Immediate Media. He works across several brands including The Recommended, RadioTimes.com, MadeforMums and BBC Gardeners’ World. Finn has previously written for publications including MyLondon, The Mirror, The Express, and The Star. When not writing Finn enjoys spending time on the football pitch and getting stuck into a book.