Is your morning routine adding to the heavy, mental load you already carry through the day? Try out these morning routines to boost your mental capacity.
1. Set your alarm for an hour earlier (if possible).
It may seem like an awful thing to consider as an already exhausted adult, getting a whole hour less of sleep.
But trust me when I say that an hour to get your coffee. DRINK your coffee, come round in your own time, and process what needs to happen during any ‘morning rush’ will be more restorative at times than that extra hour in bed (even if you don’t feel like it when the alarm first goes off!).
And if you are a parent, it gives you time to figure out waking up before your children wake and start needing you THAT INSTANT.
Another person suggesting journaling?! (Cue eye roll).
I used to think the same! The pressure to journal something felt worse than a busy, anxious brain, so I’d panic and feel worse that I’d failed at something that was meant to help, so let me give you one of THE best pieces of advice that I learned…
Don’t worry about what you’re writing!
The idea is to take any thought in your head and write it down. Get it out of your brain and onto the paper. Let it out.
So if your journal reads like ‘I have no idea what to write. My head is terrible. I can’t think of anything and I’m so mad at myself that I can’t think and I have so many things to do today but I can’t write…’ when you first start your journal, that’s OKAY, because you’re learning to just release whatever is clogging up your brain.
Gradually by letting go of the anxiety about what to write, you’re thinking will start to free up and you’ll learn to release anything weighing down your brain, which will start your day off in a much lighter way.
Here are some great, free, downloadable journal pages.
3. Deep Breathing.
Oh goodness, another quacky one?!
Haha, no but really. I’m the most sarcastic, questioning person, but I can confirm that after almost 2 decades of anxiety and various other mental health issues, and multiple therapies, learning deep breathing was LIFE CHANGING.
And the reason it works is actually science.
When you panic, or you’re feeling anxious you tend to take shorter breaths, which means you create a lack of oxygen to your body, which will only then heighten the feelings of anxiety, and cause symptoms like dizziness, breathlessness, tingling and inability to think to get worse…
By learning to start counting as we breathe in for 8 seconds and out for 8 seconds we not only shift the focus to the counting and breathing, we also take in the amount of oxygen our body NEEDS, and gradually as we get that oxygen feeding into our body, the feelings of anxiety and panic tend to subside.
Adding deep breathing into our morning routine means we start the day calmer, especially if you journal first too!
4. Move your body.
No, I’m not here to tell you to fit some awful, 20 minute, high intensity, impossible to complete without making yourself feel even worse, kinda workout, into such a small window of time where you’re trying to improve your mood.
But getting your blood pumping a little is another scientific way to make yourself feel energised and brighter, so what I want you to try and do is to find some sort of joyful movement that makes your body and mind feel GOOD.
For me when it comes to easy anytime movement, nothing beats dancing around to feel good, nostalgic tunes. Even if it’s during a morning rush of getting ready! Pop on your happy tunes and watch everyone’s mood change.
My all time favourite form of movement is weightlifting, but being realistic, it doesn’t always fit into the morning routine for me as a busy mum!
Other ideas could be stretching, yoga, boxing (if you’ve got something to box), a short or long walk, a run, cycle, swim. ANYTHING that feels good and gets your blood pumping.
My biggest tip is to never force movement you hate. It won’t work for you. It won’t feel good even if you got through it.
Find your joyful movement. Oh and then following joyful movement with a Himalayan Salt bath can be a very indulgent and divine bonus when you have time!
5. EAT BREAKFAST.
Does this seem like a silly reminder?
Your body runs on food. Food is fuel. As someone who used to skip breakfast and then be out of energy and feeling ill by lunchtime, I cannot stress how much of a difference feeding your body in a morning makes to the rest of your day.
I’m not going to tell you to make a smoothie with 57 ingredients and a golden monkey nugget powder that will bankrupt you (though I do love a smoothie!). Eat what you can afford, what you have the time to make and what you fancy (where possible).
Honestly, a substantial breakfast is going to help you get through the morning.
Sometimes you’ll have the best intentions and you’ll snooze the alarm. Don’t beat yourself up! Some days an extra hour of sleep will make a difference!
Learning to not berate yourself on days you can’t manage will help your mental capacity too (ahem, Growth Mindset!). And actually here’s a collection of great books on Growth Mindset for adults.
But try out these morning tips and see if it helps.