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Take Back Your Mornings

Your new morning routine for better mental health

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Take Back Your Mornings

It’s 7 am, and your eyes open to the musical chimes of your phone alarm going off. You roll over to your bedside table, flopping your hand down on your phone, luckily stabbing the yellow STOP button in the middle of the screen. With a deft flick of your thumb and a quick retinal scan from your barely opened left eye, you’vejacked into nothing and everything all at once. The day’s bombardment has begun, and you just woke 16 seconds ago. Have you thought about how much your brain might be processing during this rushed awakening from slumber to content onslaught? And the kind of mental gymnastics your brain is already performing? Creating a morning routine can help you break the unhealthy cycle of distraction and distress that can assault your brain when you start your day with your smartphone. It also allows you to find purpose each morning and start your day with your best interests in mind.

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Sample morning routine

Here are seven ideas to include in your morning routine, some that have helped me improve my own mornings. When putting your routine together, try to aim for at least 30 minutes, including waking up, making your bed, and showering, which will likely use up about half of this time.

While these morning chores are part of a valuable routine, the really positive brain work comes from meditation, journalling, and affirmation. Most importantly, you must work with what’s happening around you and with those you share a life with. Remember that a shorter routine is better than no routine.

 When creating a new morning routine, add one or two pieces to begin with. Get used to doing them for two weeks, and then add on another couple, eventually creating your full routine after six to eight weeks of learning, tweaking, and growing.

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Wake up at the same time every day

Creating a successful morning routine starts with finding a time at which you can comfortably wake up each day. By having a set time, you’ll be confident you have enough time to go through each part of your routine and not be rushed to get out the door for work.

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Make your bed

Making your bed won’t only impress your mom, but the action of checking off something on your to-do list within mere minutes of waking up will set the tone for your day. It not only looks good but also creates a sense of pride and self-confidence.

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Take a cold-water shower

Bringing planned discomfort into your morning may help you prepare for future stress you can’t predict. Ending your shower with 30+ seconds under the cold faucet may benefit you in many ways, from speeding up your metabolism to improving your immune response.

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Drink some lemon water

Help your digestion with a kick-start in the morning. Drinking water with fresh lemon juice can infuse your body with health-giving phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals, while also helping to instill the habit of drinking more water during your day.

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Write in a journal

Journalling is a great way to deal with the swirling thoughts in your head that arise from work, friendship, and other daily life struggles. The idea of writing down your thoughts is much easier than you might think. Try starting with making bullet points and setting a timer for how long you’ll focus on this area. Remember, the journal is only for your eyes, so be straight to the point, don’t edit yourself, and don’t worry about being judged.

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Meditate

Take advantage of the peace and tranquility of the morning. Meditation comes in many forms, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel like a Yogi Master. To start your new meditation routine, find a quiet, comfortable area where you can sit upright. Then close your eyes, focus your attention on your breathing, and take in the quiet surrounding you. Start small and work up from there.

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Practise daily affirmations

One of my favourite ways to end morning routines is to take my thoughts and speak them out loud to the universe. It’s one thing to daydream and hold our desires inside, but it’s another thing to voice those thoughts out loud: it can have a greater effect on our actions in making them real. Here are a few suggested affirmations that might get you started.

  • I’ve been through hard things before and have survived them. I will survive.
  • I wake up every morning ready for a new day of exciting possibilities.
  • I’ll surround myself with positive people who will help bring out the best in me.

I’m grateful to be alive. It’s my joy and pleasure to live another wonderful day.

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