Creating A Morning Routine to Better Your Mental Health
"Alexa, turn off 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 woken brain.
Following my rude awakening, I throw the sheets off me, 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 September 2019
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's made
Morning Routine done = 45 minutes
How Can A Morning Routine Help My Anxiety and Depression?
Being able to get out of 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, perhaps if you are looking to do better in your field of business or an entrepreneur looking to get ahead.
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 it be the very first thing I did in my daily routine, only made sense to me that I should do it with a purpose.
These are my thoughts and examples of what my morning routine looks like. Please seek out a mental health professional if you feel you cant deal with your mental health problems alone. I saw a therapist and it was the best thing I did.
Unhealthy ways to Wake-up
6:30 AM alarm goes off ---- Snooze
6:45 AM alarm goes off ---- Snooze
7:00 AM alarm goes off ---- F*ck!!!!
Bed sheets are thrown 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 of your life.
They take these actions due to the belief that they need more sleep, where the only way it makes sense to them is to get that in the morning and extend the time when they wake up.
The abrupt need to get their day going throwing their mind into a frenzy, could it not be addressed on the other end of our sleep pattern?
Could you not look at fixing your time you go to sleep, giving you those extra minutes you so desperately want without the anxiety of searching for them in the AM.?
Poor Waking Up Habits
Using your snooze button
Setting your alarm 5-10 minutes before you need to leave your place
Looking at your phone before getting out of bed
Having your alarm within arms distance of your sleeping position
How To Create A Goal For Better Mental Health
Striving to get out of your mental health condition is the overall long term goal, yet that cant be achieved if you don't break that down into smaller sections that can create a plan to follow. Blindly hoping you 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 ideal sequence to follow. There is no wrong routine; we are all unique in our ways and have things that connect 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 three to five habits that take between ten and twenty minutes each to focus on.
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 with noises filling our heads. 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 the what is about to hit it once you have woken, the better chance you will have a staying in control of your mental health issues.
Think about it as if you were taking your first dip into a cold body of water, representing every new day. To walk up to the end of the pier, toe the edge and plug your nose then fling yourself down into the water would bring a shock to your body, brain and soul.
Having a morning routine will take you to that body of water each morning, yet as you walk in the warm sand you slowly emerge each part of your body in a controlled and methodical process that allows your body temperature to adapt, and finally, 45 minutes later leaves you comfortably dunking your head into the day.
We are after all creating a morning routine with the hopes of bringing ourselves out of a situation the American Psychiatric Association would deem we need a support group, and these are your closest supporters to start the day that is here to help you heal, grow and prepare you to succeed.
Achieving A Win to Start Your Day
When we have bipolar disorder, dissociative disorder, adjustment disorder, depression heck even just life stress, we continuously see our life as a loss. I'll save you some time and categorize this as any medical condition that you may be battling, and when we have these feelings, it is a daily way of living to feel like we are losing.
Inputting easy wins into your day to day are great ways of slowly and systematically changing your negative thought patterns. It's hard to stop losing if you never allow yourself to create a win, and wins are needed to bring small shots of positive energy into your body and brain.
Winning is smiling, smiling is happiness, happiness is contagious
- Never Alone
What Are Some Great Morning Habits?
The best morning habits are to focus on stopping the negative habits you have ingrained into your current way of waking up. Without taking the time to get these out of your system, anything else you will add will be quickly nullified.
Opening up your phone, turning on the television, blaring aggressive music 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 routine is to keep any piece of 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, 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.
What Are Some 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 can find three to five of these, then your morning routine plan has been set!
9 Positive Morning Rituals
Making your bed
Making a very detailed to-do list
I suggest you find three that stand out to you as enjoyable and give them a try. You will find out quickly if they are something that you may be able to keep around for long term use.
To start, you will want to time yourself while practicing these. Sometimes time will go by slower than molasses in November while at other times it will be accomplished in a blink of any eye. This is where you will need your phone, so don't forget your goal and be pulled into doing a quick scroll on 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 distraction out of sight and out of mind.
How to Improve My Gut Health
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 hot 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 an 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 this daily.
Other variations of hot water with additives that can have positive health benefits for your gut and mind are
Fresh mint leaves
Apple cider vinegar
Wake-up 45-60 minutes prior needing to leave the house
Don’t turn on phone or any other electronics during this time
Choose 3 -5 healthy habits
Drink hot lemon water during it
End your routine with a sense of accomplishment and smile
Take the win into your next area of your day