How you start your morning significantly impacts the rest of your day. Many people face a barrage of tasks, whether that’s getting to work on time, tending to childcare or hitting the gym. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed with daily tasks, especially if you’re struggling with a mental health condition like anxiety or depression.
Establishing a healthy morning routine can help you set aside time to care for tasks while focusing on your mental health. Learn the benefits of a morning routine and tips for establishing your own.
Does Routine Help Mental Health?
We face several chores and obligations throughout the day. But when it comes to morning activities, such as drinking a cup of water, making the bed or eating breakfast, following a routine can help mental health.
A daily morning routine can have far-reaching mental health benefits, from preventing substance use to managing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Practicing a mindful morning routine can decrease stress, boost happiness and increase productivity. Learn about healthy morning routines and how you can use these tasks to improve your mental health:
1. Take Deep Breaths
If the first you do in the morning is reach for your phone, it might be time to revamp your routine. When you spend the entirety of your morning scrolling, you potentially invite stress from reading the news or checking social media and messages. For a more mindful morning routine, try taking a few deep breaths as soon as you wake up.
Since the diaphragm is a respiratory and core postural muscle, deep breathing can help you stay concentrated and prime your body for better movement and posture. Just taking six long, deep breaths can help you focus your attention and start your day off right.
If unsure whether you’re using your diaphragm for a balanced breath, place your palm beneath your rib cage and inhale — if your hand moves when your abdomen expands, you’re breathing deeply.
2. Make Your Bed
Though it may sound simple, making your bed every morning can boost your sense of well-being and set you up for success in your day. This easy chore demonstrates your responsibility and commitment to keeping your space clean and comfortable. This task also makes a great morning routine for depression.
Since depression and other mental health conditions can result in low energy, it can be difficult for many people struggling with these conditions to get up in the morning, get dressed and take care of their hygiene. By starting with the simple chore of making your bed, you set yourself up for success in following through on future tasks and gaining the momentum to care for yourself.
3. Drink a Glass of Water
Since we lose water while sleeping, we tend to wake up thirsty. Drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning can rehydrate you and jump-start your metabolism up to 30%.
Lemon water, in particular, is excellent for digestion and boosting potassium levels. By reaching for a glass of lemon water before coffee every morning, you’ll get the nutrients you need for a healthier start to your day.
4. Stretch and Move Your Body
There’s a reason we stretch when we first wake up. Our bodies yearn for movement after hours of lying sedentary. And while exercise can improve your physical health and add years to your life, it can also give you an immense sense of well-being.
Regular morning exercise can help you feel more energetic throughout the day and be powerful medicine for mental health conditions like anxiety, depression and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Rather than a quick stretch in bed, try a few light exercises to work out all parts of your body. Better yet, start with a brisk morning walk outdoors to boost mood, reduce stress and anxiety and improve self-esteem. When surrounded by nature, you’ll take in oxygen from the plants and light from the sun.
Exercise can also cause your body to release endorphins and serotonin, our body’s natural mood and self-esteem enhancing chemicals. Adding a few quick exercises to your morning routine can yield several mental health benefits.
5. Practice Mindfulness Meditation
People with depression often have negative thoughts and feelings about themselves. It can be challenging to overcome these at times, which is why a healthy morning routine can significantly benefit the mind. In particular, practicing mindfulness meditation is an excellent way to reduce stress and anxiety and derail depressive episodes.
Meditation can train your brain to sustain your focus and achieve that same concentration level when negative thoughts, emotions and sensations disrupt in stressful moments. Sitting down every morning to meditate can help you release worries about the future and ruminations about the past. Most importantly, you’ll work on your happiness and achieve a greater sense of well-being through mindfulness meditation.
6. Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Research suggests that diet and mental health are closely connected. While a healthy breakfast can give you energy, it can also promote a healthier gut and communicate to the brain to produce neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
While some people need more calories for breakfast than others, everyone should eat something healthy in the morning. Try a nutritious breakfast of oatmeal with almonds, yogurt and fruits, for instance. Your body will appreciate it, and it’ll boost your mood for a happier and more productive day.
An excellent morning routine for depression includes taking the time to reflect, think positively and practice gratitude. Journaling is an ideal method to track your moods and improve the areas of your life that need it the most. When you journal, you can write down positive self-talk and get in touch with your emotions better.
As a mindful morning routine before you begin your busy day, take a few minutes to sit with a cup of tea or water and slow things down. Write out any stressors in a notebook or journal and goals to overcome them. Include positive affirmations for yourself and reflect on the things you’re most grateful for in your life. By journaling in the morning, you can track your moods and improve your mental health.
Build Mindful Morning Routines for Better Mental Health
Now that you have some ideas for healthy morning routines, give a few a try. There’s no one-size-fits-all, so feel free to adjust your morning as needed. And when you’re struggling with a mental health condition and need additional help, know that you’re not alone.
At Taylor Counseling Group, we aim to provide high-quality, accessible mental health services to all clients. Appreciate a kind and compassionate environment and a team of professionally trained counselors who will work with you to provide the care you need.
To learn more about our counseling services, contact us today.