How to Build a Healthy Morning Routine
As someone who frequently wakes up and immediately starts answering my email in bed, a healthy morning routine is usually the last thing on my mind. I let my dog out, pour a cup of tea, and open up my laptop to get straight to work before I’ve even taken off my bathrobe.
But, the mornings when I get up before looking at my phone, walk my dog in the open air, and take the time to sit and meditate — even for five minutes — always lead to my better days. Taking just one hour for myself first thing in the morning sets the tone for the following hours – I’m less likely to skip lunch “because I’m busy”, and I find that I am more focused and productive within the same number of hours (and sometimes less). Simply put, how you start your day is a direct reflection of how you’ll end it.
Routines help us because they’re grounding and balancing; they provide stability and create the foundation for the rest of our day. If you know exactly what you’re going to do every morning when you wake up, (and those steps are focused on taking care of your mind and body), you set yourself up to move into a healthy mindset before you’re even out the door. You’ll be less stressed knowing what to expect, and taking a few minutes to incorporate some inner work in addition to brushing your teeth can go a long way in helping balance your nervous system and calm your mind.
Starting your day off with a morning routine is actually a very old piece of Ayurvedic wisdom called dinacharya, or daily habits. Of course, the Ayurvedic wisdom body has a complex process that involves things like oiling your entire body then exercising then showering and doing all the steps in the right order, etc., etc. I’ll be honest – the full dinacharya is a bit much for the average person (and it doesn’t even involve a morning coffee!). But that doesn’t mean we can’t pull inspiration from it.
Here are some Ayurveda-inspired tips to help you create your perfect morning:
I know, didn’t I just tell you that routines and stability matter? While that is true, we have to acknowledge that we’re all humans with complex lives and different paths. What works for someone else may not work for you at all, and what works for you one month might be the opposite of what you need the next. Don’t be afraid to shift what you’re doing if it’s just not working.
Start every day with a cup of water.
This one isn’t inspired by Ayurveda; it’s directly from the source. Water starts up our digestive system, prepping and priming our stomachs for the day ahead. Warm water is best, and adding a squeeze of fresh lemon is nice if you’ve got some on hand.
Taking even five minutes to free-write or meditate can turn you back to what’s important and help balance your emotions. A pranayama practice, guided meditation, morning pages, or yoga nidra practice help you tune in to your inner self and be less stressed starting your (probably very busy) day.
Take time to do a thing you love.
Some people swear by a morning workout; others like to quietly sip a favorite beverage while lounging on the porch. Whether you’re walking your dog, taking a yoga class to increase your strength and stability, or spending an extra ten minutes to make the perfect cup of pour-over coffee, build a little bit of you-time into your morning routine. If you’re not a morning person, this can really help increase your willingness to get out of bed.
Get some air.
This one may or may not overlap with something you’re already doing. Going outside, even if it’s just stepping out on your porch or opening a window and sticking your head outside, can help you feel more awake, alert, and in-tune with nature. Try building something you’re already doing into an outdoor activity if this list is starting to get a little too lengthy and overwhelming. Drinking your coffee in front of an open window still counts.
Bring some self-care into your shower.
Almost everyone has a bathroom routine as part of their morning, and some are more involved than others. Wherever you are on the spectrum, from two minutes to two hours, be intentional about using this time to focus on taking care of you. Maybe add some extra time for skincare or a facial massage using a roller or your fingertips. Or follow the Ayurvedic path by oiling your body before hopping into the shower. Self-care shouldn’t be expensive, so use what’s in your pantry! Coconut oil and jojoba oil are both inexpensive and great for your skin.
Hopefully these tips inspire you to create your own morning routine to set yourself up for a successful day. Always make sure you’re listening to your body and adapting your daily routine to balance your emotions, the seasons, and your own rhythm. With a healthy morning routine, waking up will be just a bit sweeter.