The problem with morning routines is that most people don't have one.
For many individuals, waking up in the morning is a chaotic experience, full of terrible alarm clock noises, scrolling through email, and sprinting out the door as quickly as possible.
Our minds and bodies are not meant for such excessive stimulation and stress upon waking. Immediately throwing yourself into flight, fight, or freeze is the worst thing you can do because it makes you more sensitive to stress and more vulnerable to anxiety throughout your day.
Here's are seven steps to the ultimate morning routine:
1. Get sufficient sleep.
This is obvious, but easier said than done for many people.
You need to practice good sleep hygiene and ensure that you find the proper amount of sleep for your body. Somewhere between 6 and 9 hours may be most appropriate, so experiment, find what works, and stick to it.
Doctors recommend sleeping and waking at the same time each day to synchronize the circadian rhythms that provide energy when you need it. You will die from sleep deprivation more quickly than dehydration, so start taking your rest seriously.
2. Don't hit the snooze.
Hitting the snooze is like breaking a promise to yourself. When you decide to get up at a certain time, follow through.
Getting in the habit of sleeping past your alarm clock often results in waking up during a REM cycle, which leaves you with greater fatigue than if you had just gotten up the first time.
Value your time and put your feet on the floor as soon as your alarm beeps.
3. Avoid the screens.
Let me be the first to admit that I'm guilty of this. Because our phones are now extensions of ourselves, it's difficult to avoid looking at them upon waking, but it's extremely beneficial to give your mind time to wake up prior to exposing it to extreme stimulation.
Let's work together on trying to give ourselves 10 to 15 minutes prior to looking at our technological devices so that our brain can have time to warm up and so we don't become more dependent upon external stimulation to get going each morning.
4. Drink plenty of water.
There's nothing quite like a cold glass of water in the morning.
Aside from helping you wake up, staying hydrated helps you prevent headaches, muscle cramps, and aids digestion. You can't drink while you're asleep, so wake up and give your brain and body what it needs to function at a high level.
If you want to spice things up, add a little lemon or cucumber.
5. Eat a nutritious meal.
Many of my peers say that they don't have time to eat breakfast. If that's something you say to yourself, then you need to set your alarm earlier. A nutritious meal goes a long way to fuel the start of your day.
If you eat a meal that's high in protein, it doesn't matter what comes your way, because you'll have the energy needed to read, react and conquer.
I can't stress this enough--meditation improves focus and concentration, and helps you relax. When you meditate each morning, it gives you a safe space to return to throughout the chaos of everyday life.
If you meditate each morning on a consistent basis, you'll find yourself less reactive to the little stressors that typically would cause frustration and stress. Then, when something truly stressful comes your way, you'll be able to be self-aware and confront the issue head-on without needing to run, fight, or withdrawal from the moment.
7. Coffee or tea in moderation.
I'm convinced that the perfect morning routine comes down to finding the perfect ratio between meditation and caffeine. You need to be productive, and you need to be grounded in the here and now.
After you have the meditation down, adding in a small amount of caffeine can help you carpe diem. There's no need to chug an entire pot of coffee, a little bit goes a long way when you're brain's already sharp from your great morning routine!
Establishing a positive morning routine will provide you with more energy throughout the day. When you ease into each day with a sense of composure, it allows you to feel safe and grounded prior to racing out the door.
A solid morning routine will build a foundation for success, lead to greater happiness and productivity, and make each day more enjoyable.