“Alexa, turn off the alarm.”
4:45 AM has arrived once again. I lay there for a second, looking up into the darkness, then roll over and pick up my phone with my left hand and flick the screen up. The glare is a harsh contrast to the time of day surrounding it. I burrow my face into the pillow, hoping that only one eye taking in the light will somehow make it less obtrusive to my freshly awoken brain.
Following my rude awakening, I throw the sheets off, start my coffee machine and head into the shower.
I have twenty-five minutes to wake up, pack my morning meal and get outside the door. And without a doubt, it’s always a hectic final three minutes as I make a mad dash to brush my teeth and collect whatever else is needed to make it out the door to catch the bus.
This was how I used to wake up.
And it made sense when the only battles I was fighting day to day were making sure I had enough money at the start of the month to pay all my bills.
That was until depression and anxiety mixed with various types of mental health struggles came into my life.
This morning scramble quickly became the fire stoking the flames of another horrible day. It needed to be addressed and changed fast.
Here is my current morning routine
- Wake up at 5 am
- Turn on the pot to boil
- Hop in shower
- Drink hot lemon water/ read
- Turn on the pot to boil
- Meditate for 10 minutes
- Make coffee in a French press
- Open phone when the coffee is made
- Morning Routine done = 45 minutes
How Can A Morning Routine Help My Anxiety and Depression?
Being able to get up on the “right side of the bed” is something that everyone should strive to achieve in their daily life.
Before struggling with depression, anxiety disorders and PTSD, I did not realize the positive effects of what a morning routine could do for my life in general. It is a powerful tool to use to put your day on the right track; it can work for everyone. If you are looking to do better in your field of business or an entrepreneur looking to get ahead, or a student wanting to get better grades…there is virtually no circumstance that a mindful morning routine can’t help with.
I knew I was not going to be able to beat what was going on in my head if I didn’t address this area in my life. Having getting up as the very first thing I did in my daily routine, it only made sense to me that I should do it with a purpose.
Unhealthy ways to Wakeup
6:30 AM alarm goes off —- Snooze
6:45 AM alarm goes off —- Snooze
7:00 AM alarm goes off —- “F*ck!!!!”
You throw your bedsheets off, scrambling to find clean clothes in the mess of dirty and clean laundry strewn across the floor. Skip the shower and fly out the door. If you can’t relate to this yourself, I am sure you have a friend who leads this type of life.
Perhaps you are the person who willingly puts yourself into this morning scramble just due to the idea that getting an extra twenty minutes of sleep is worth the hectic, anxiety-ridden start to every day.
You take these actions due to the belief that you need more sleep the only way it makes sense to you: to extend the time when you wake up.
The abrupt need to get your day going as a result of sleeping in, now throws your mind into a frenzy; could it not be addressed on the other end of our sleep pattern?
Could you not look at fixing the time you go to sleep, giving you those extra minutes you so desperately want without the anxiety of searching for them in the a.m.?
Poor Waking Up Habits
- Using your snooze button
- Setting your alarm 5-10 minutes before you need to leave
- Looking at your phone before getting out of bed
- Having your alarm within reach of your sleeping position
How To Create A Goal For Better Mental Health
Striving to improve your mental health is the overall long-term goal, yet you cannot achieve this if you don’t break that down into smaller sections can shaped into a plan you can follow. Blindly hoping you’ll get better without taking precise action is a successful way to remain the same.
Putting a focus on finding the perfect morning routine is a great way to allow yourself to have an achievable goal to work towards every morning until you find that fitting sequence to follow. There is no wrong routine; we are all unique and have things that connect and resonate with us more than others.
Take time to find things that you feel comfortable with doing for the next ten years with no feeling of resistance. Switch up the rotation until you find the right sequence that genuinely connects with you. The end goal is to find 3 to 5 habits that take between ten and twenty minutes to complete.
What Is The Best Thing In Your Morning Routine?
The world around is a scary place full of people, companies and technology trying to grab our attention and fill our heads with their noises. When we sleep, we feel safe. There is a warm security blanket enveloped around us and a quiet hush that is a pleasant welcome to what we face once our eyes open. The more you can ease your mind into what is about to hit it once you have woken up, the better chance you will have in making a positive difference in your mental health.
Think about it as if you were taking your first dip into a cold body of water. To walk up to the end of the pier, toe the edge, plug your nose and then fling yourself down into the water would bring a shock to your body, brain and soul.
Having a nourishing morning routine will take you to that body of water each morning. Yet, as you walk in the warm sand, you slowly immerse each part of your body in a controlled and orderly process that allows your body to adapt, and finally, 45 minutes later leaves you comfortably dunking your head into the day. These actions of your morning routine are your closest supports in starting the day in a way that helps you heal, grow and prepare you to succeed.
What Are Some Great Morning Habits?
The best morning habits begin with stopping the harmful practices you have ingrained into your current way of waking up. Without taking the time to get these out of your system, anything else positive that you add will you will quickly nullify.
Opening up your phone, turning on the TV, blaring aggressive music right away, are all things we have done up until now. You have unknowingly used these as a quick shot of manufactured dopamine to your system, using it as a speedy ramp-up to the energy level needed to meet the day. You found a way to go from 0-60 in .5 seconds.
Your first goal for creating your new routine is to keep all electronics off until 45 minutes after you have woken up.
At this time, don’t worry about what your routine is. Fill the 45 minutes with whatever comes to you: perhaps reading, writing in your journal ( here is how to start ), cooking or a morning walk. It could be entirely possible that you may stare for the entire time at a blank wall because you don’t know what to do since the option to look at your phone isn’t there. That is fine, and I did the same thing while I was working on getting over the addiction of my need for morning technology.
More Healthy Morning Habits
Resisting the temptation to check your likes on Instagram is not easy, but once you have gotten a handle on it and the urge isn’t so powerful, then you can focus on adding the areas for growth. The idea is to find a few areas that interest you and can be achieved daily for 10-15 minutes sections of time. Once you find 3 to 5, then your morning routine plan can be set!
Positive Morning Rituals
- Making your bed
- Make detailed to-do lists
- Walk outdoors
I suggest you find 3 that stand out to you as enjoyable and give them a try. You will find out quickly if the actions are something that you may be able to keep around for long-term use.
To start, you will want to time yourself while practicing this new routine. Sometimes time will go by slower than molasses in November, while at other times, you will be able to accomplish everything in what seems like the blink of any eye. This is when you will want to fill the time with your phone, so remember your goal and don’t be pulled into doing a quick scroll through Twitter.
On all of our phones, there is a shortcut to get to things such as timers and clocks, take 5 seconds to bring that to your home screen and set it for 15 minutes then put it down again out of your reach.
Set yourself up for success, leave any distractions out of sight and out of mind.
Improved Gut Health Also Helps Start the Day Off Right
While preparing my mind for the day, I have found that focusing on my gut is also a positive step forward in my mental health awareness and growth.
By doing so, I make hot lemon water, using a litre of warm water and one freshly squeezed lemon. Be aware that if this is too concentrated, it can take the enamel off of your teeth.
The concept for starting with the hot lemon water is that it, first and foremost, is a natural conductor for water intake. Drinking water helps in many areas of your life like clearer skin, higher energy levels and helps treat headaches. Also, aiding digestion and promoting weight loss are possible benefits from drinking hot lemon water daily.
Other variations of hot water with natural additives which can have positive health benefits for your gut and mind are:
- Fresh mint leaves
- Apple cider vinegar
Final Routine Rundown
- Wake up 45-60 minutes prior to needing to leave the house
- Keep all electronics off during this time
- Choose 3-5 healthy habits
- Drink hot lemon water during it
- End your routine with a sense of accomplishment and smile if you can
Take the win into the next area of your day