Horizon Blog

Set the Tone for the Day

January 7th, 2019

Why Your Morning Routine Plays a Significant Role in Your Mental Health

woman enjoying sunny morning

If you self-profess to “not be a morning person,” you need to read this. If you are someone who wakes up early but hates it and still manages to be late to work every day, you need to read this too. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs, celebrities, and business executives in the world share a crucial similarity: They have a structured, proven-successful morning routine that sets them on a path toward success for the day. What is so magical about the morning hours that has the power to transform one’s productivity levels, and how can you become one of those unicorns who runs a 5K, eats a healthy breakfast, meditates and still makes it to the office by 8 a.m.? Read on to find out.

The Importance of a Morning Routine

If you have ever rolled into work with a sour expression and had to excuse your mood with the phrase, “it’s just been a rough morning,” then you understand how morning events that transpire can set the tone for the rest of the day. Individuals who wake up early and take the time to follow a routine of healthy behaviors in the morning such as a workout, meditation, or other self-care practices:

  • Are more likely to make healthy decisions for the rest of the day.
  • Benefit from a naturally improved mood.
  • Feel more energized throughout the day.

Why are Morning Hours So Important?

If you’re wondering if you could enjoy the same benefits by waking up at 9 a.m. as you do at 5 a.m., know that your body receives a natural spike of cortisol levels and energy in the early hours of the day, proving there is science to support the seemingly incomprehensibly happy mood of “morning people.” This chemical advantage makes the morning the best time to work out, prepare healthy meals, spend time outdoors, and complete the day’s most difficult tasks.

How to Create a Morning Routine that Will Improve Your Mental Health

If you’re ready to become a morning maven and set a positive tone for each day, follow these tips to tackle the morning and realize its positive potential.

  1. Wake Up Earlier. You had to know this was coming, and you may have been dreading it. Don’t feel the pressure to shift your usual wake up time from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. in a single day. Set your alarm clock for just a few minutes earlier every few days and slowly start training your body to wake up earlier (and go to bed earlier). Once you realize how much you can accomplish during those precious morning hours when no one is texting, emailing, or calling you, you’ll stay motivated to make it a routine. Then, add some of the following self-care strategies into your new-found free time.
  2. Exercise. If you tend to procrastinate your daily workout, then you’ll benefit from getting it done first thing in the morning. Plus, morning exercise will give you energy (yes really!) throughout the day and will help you sleep better at night so you can wake up early the next day (see the happy cycle?). Even a fifteen-minute brisk walk around your block or some light stretching or yoga will benefit your mind and body.
  3. Meditate. If you feel like a zombie in a post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie in the morning, try meditation to help you wake up. Meditation activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which triggers feelings of deep relaxation. Twenty minutes of meditation will give you enough energy-boosting endorphins to kick-start your morning, but if 20 minutes feels like too much of a time commitment, even five to ten minutes is enough to quiet your mind, allow you to reflect on the day’s goals, and focus your energy.
  4. Journal. If you’re the type of person who needs to see your day’s goals in writing to conquer them, spend a few minutes journaling in the morning. Write down what you are grateful for and what you hope to accomplish to give your day structure and focus. Or, use your journal to document your fears and anxiety. By putting what scares you into written words and turning the page over it, you take control and power over your fears, compartmentalize them, and have the confidence to conqueror them.
  5. Eat a Healthy Breakfast. End the cycle of grabbing a candy bar from the office vending machine for breakfast as you race to your 8 a.m. status meeting. With more time in the morning, you can cook yourself a healthy breakfast with the ideal combination of lean protein and complex carbohydrates to keep you energized and satiated so that you continue to make healthy decisions throughout the day.

Take a cue from some of the most successful leaders in the world and leverage the quiet, uncomplexity of the morning hours to take time for yourself. By practicing self-care and starting your day on a positive note, you’ll feel more energized, more confident, and more prepared to take on the day, Like. A. Boss.

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