11 tips for a morning routine that supports mental health

Light orange sunrise with dark cloudsAt a time when innovation and variety can be particularly fashionable, it's not surprising that many people might see the idea of ​​sticking to a routine as a passé. However, consistent exercise of healthy behaviors can be the key not only to a calmer breakfast, but also to improving mental health throughout the day.

Numerous studies have shown that setting up routine filled with healthy habits is a great way to move more effectively through your day while saving less mental energy and even willpower in the process. A 2015 study of habits psychology showed that people can be more based on habits when stressed, which suggests that developing healthy routines could help people maintain physical, emotional, and mental health during racing. of seasons.

How much time do you have in the morning?

When building your morning routine, it is important to consider how much time you have. Even if you only have 20 minutes each morning, you can use this time to promote good mental health.

If you have very limited time in the morning, try to locate your biggest pain points or stressful resources as you move in the morning instead of trying to fill a variety of activities and tasks in a short amount of time. Then consider how forming a habit could help you alleviate these pain points. For example, someone who usually doesn't have time for breakfast can plan and prepare their meals ahead of time, so a healthy option is always available to grab their way out the door.

Having somewhere to be the first thing in the morning should not mean a limited time for a morning routine. If you are a morning person or prefer to get up at an earlier hour than most, you may have more time to devote to a morning routine.

Those who have almost an hour or more to devote to a morning routine may take a different route when choosing which habits will best support their well-being throughout the day. One may decide to devote more time to physical activity and go for a stroll or run, take an exercise class, or practice yoga. Spending more time on meditation, planning the rest of the day, or preparing a healthy meal may also be easier to adjust to with this program.

11 building blocks of a morning routine for mental health

Morning routines may vary depending on individual needs. What works for one person can be onerous for another. Explore the mental health building blocks of the morning routine below and start thinking about what elements you could incorporate into your morning to improve your overall well-being throughout the day.

1. Get ready

You've probably heard of it before, but a successful morning routine is as powerful as the sleeping routine that came before it. What aspects of your nighttime sleep routine should you use to ensure the success of your prime routine? Try to prepare everything you need, such as coffee, meals or an outfit the night before. Make sure the keys, bag and other essentials are close to the door, especially if you need to leave home in the morning, it can also help reduce stress and chaos.

A solid sleep strategy often comes along with good sleep hygiene and good sleep hygiene can help you get a more refreshing night of rest. Quality sleep, meanwhile, can help minimize the symptoms of mental health problems such as anxiety and even psychosis (while lack of sleep can aggravate these symptoms), so your morning routine can only support the your mental health to the extent that you slept well that night.

2. Let the light in

Exposure to glare first thing in the morning raises feelings of alertness. To clear your morning yawn, try turning on a lamp or the lights in your bedroom or getting some sunlight within the first 5 to 10 minutes of waking up in the morning.

Those living on higher latitudes (father away from the equator) will experience more seasonal darkness. Individuals living longer than the equator have been shown to have higher rates of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and sleep problems have been identified as a major factor in SAD. A morning routine can help people who experience more hours of darkness continue to wake up each morning, even if the sun has not yet risen.

For those who usually wake up before the sun goes up, blue light has been shown to help people feel awake in the morning. Using the right kind of light the first thing in the morning could help reduce morning drowsiness and increase alertness more quickly.

3. Make your bed

It takes minutes to make a bed, but bedding is still a task that many people neglect. If you do not have the habit of cleaning your bed every morning, you may want to reconsider. Studies by Hunch.com and Sleepopolis have shown that the habit of making their bed is positively correlated with better sleep and a happier mood overall.

Are people now happier and feeling better sleeping and more likely to bed in the morning? Maybe. But some experts say that making your bed the first thing in the morning is an effective way to boost your self-esteem. By completing a first activity, you have built up your confidence in your ability to regulate things in the classroom and are more likely to continue this trend throughout the day.

4. Moisturizing

According to a study published in Nutritional Reviews, dehydration can adversely affect cognitive function. As most of us wake up a little dehydrated after a night's sleep, rehydrating the first thing in the morning can help improve knowledge. Dehydration has also been linked to fatigue as well as symptoms of low mood, including irritability and confusion.

While adequate hydration alone will probably not cure mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, chronic dehydration is also unlikely to make these conditions easier to handle. Drinking water is a good way to deliver the energy to deal with the symptoms that come with many mental health issues.

5. Nourish

When asked what might be one of the best things one can do for their mental health first thing in the morning, Authorized Mental Health Advisor Nicole Urdang, MS, NCC, DHM recommends picking up something to eat. "Eating something in about an hour increases it, raising your blood sugar level and preventing elasticity. You have fasting all night. Eating something, especially something with complex carbohydrates, fats and proteins, will not only improve but it will give you an energy boost to take you to your morning activities, "she explains." Never underestimate the power of a balanced blood sugar level throughout the day to help manage it. your mood ".

Many studies support this claim. A study published in International Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences found that those who ate breakfast daily were less depressed than the control group who did not eat breakfast daily. Those who ate breakfast also reported lower levels of stress. Another study found a link between regular breakfast cereal consumption and lower levels of cortisol (stress hormone).

Research continues to tell us that while breakfast is an important meal, what is most important may be what it is made of. Enhance the benefits of eating breakfast by incorporating some protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates. Nuts, yogurt and eggs have been shown to support mental health in those with anxiety, for example.

6. Write down what you are grateful for

Research shows that gratitude can increase a person's happiness, improve relationships, and enhance their sense of well-being. A study described at the University of California at Berkeley Larger good magazine has shown that even devoting a little time to gratitude each day can help improve symptoms for those with mental health problems.

To start your day with a grateful mindset, try to write down three things you are grateful for and keep them in mind as you begin your day. Even when you keep your list private, studies show that you are very likely to benefit from the practice of gratitude.

7. Motivation

Motivation plays a scientific role in reducing drowsiness and promoting alertness. When motivations are hard to come by, getting out of bed can be difficult. If you usually get into the urge to get out of bed in the morning (and already have enough sleep), consider adding something to your routine that adds a spark of joy and motivation – something that helps you get out of bed and boost mood. your. This could be something you enjoy, such as walking a dog, to a new type of coffee that you are excited to try.

Some people with depression may experience daily mood swings, also known as morning depression. This symptom of depression can, in many cases, make it extremely difficult to get out of bed in the morning. If you think that depression may prevent you from getting the motivation to get out of bed in the morning, it may be time to talk to a mental health professional.

8. Avoid technology

While technology can be strategically used to enhance a person's mood and mental health, smartphone use in particular can easily become a compulsive behavior that erodes rather than enhances mental well-being. Research has found that problematic smartphone use is associated with increased anxiety and depression.

Think about avoiding or reducing the time you spend looking at a smartphone screen first thing in the morning. Doing so can help you increase your intellectual clarity and sense of purpose for the day, protecting you from information about news, policies or social media dramas that can often contribute to a low mood.

9. Meditation

Morning meditation can help you focus yourself for the rest of the day and has many proven mental health benefits. Even 15 minutes of daily meditation can produce the same effects of stress relief on the body as taking a break. Meditation has also been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, depression and even pain.

If you have time, try a 5 to 15 minute meditation as one of your first morning activities. Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit. Set a timer for the time to meditate on that day. Then meditate. One popular way to meditate is to close your eyes and focus on the present and your breaths. Many people also use guided meditations to get you started.

10. Make a list

Writing a to-do list at the beginning of your day can help you design what you need to complete, organize, and perform your to-do list more effectively. Often, we have so much to do that we cannot keep it in our minds at the same time, and the idea of ​​forgetting an obligation can cause anxiety. Take a few minutes to record your goals for the day, and you won't have to worry about forgetting to do anything on the list!

Listing works by reducing the chaos and borrowing structure of your day, as well as supporting your memory. To write an effective list, start with your top goals for the day. Keep it small, realistic and focused, monitor negative self-esteem, and watch for tasks that are not necessary or distracting. Organize yourself around your values ​​and goals and seek to channel your best "you".

11. Physical activity

For those who have busy schedules, moving first thing in the morning is a good way to make sure they are exercising that day. As exercise has been shown to have a positive effect on mood and can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, it is a matter of priority to consider. While your physical activity may include morning workouts, it is not necessary. If you are short on time, even stretching and a few jumps can give you a chance to get your blood flowing.

Exercise releases endorphins, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. in the morning, this can contribute to a sense of calm that helps guide you through the first part of your day.

Whether you have 5 free minutes or multiple hours each morning, a routine can help people get better mental health throughout the day. Choose morning activities that allow you to work rather than yourself. And if you find that you struggle with mental health symptoms that hinder your well-being and daily activities, contact an authorized and compassionate mental health professional.

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