Routines are hard to stick to, so it’s good to have a variety of activities to choose from every day. I like to have a range of options that can take anything from a minute to 20 minutes, so you can adjust accordingly and still stick to your routine even if you’re pressed for time.
Firstly, make a cup of tea or coffee, get a glass of water and make your bed before checking your phone! This will keep you hydrated and ensure you’re not left with an unmade bed by midday. Then pick an activity to suit your needs and start your day with a little bit of self-love.
Even if you have 20 minutes or less, here are some perfect morning activities to kick-start your day:
Before our brain gets a chance to latch onto the “should-do’s” and “must-do’s” of the new day, taking a little time to check in with yourself and your breathing is good for the soul. This is a really useful tool for stress and anxiety.
I find that meditating first thing in the morning before your brain jumps into action mode can be much easier than trying to force yourself into that mindset later in the day. Simply checking in and reminding ourselves that all we need to do is breathe in and out is a grounding way of starting our day. Of course, there are free mindfulness apps but YouTube and Spotify are worth checking out for mini-meditations.
Despite what you might think, this doesn’t have to be a 30-minute outpour of your inner emotions or a full account of what you did the day before. Journaling can take less than five minutes and is a great way to kick start the day. A really simple and fulfilling approach is to think about journaling in terms of gratitude and manifestation. I like to write down three things I felt grateful for the day before, followed by three things I will achieve that day. This is a really good way to get into the habit of reflecting and appreciating the little things, as well as setting yourself achievable goals.
Gratitude can be really simple; you can be grateful to yourself for going for a walk, to a friend for checking in, or even that your housemate made you a cup of tea. The same goes for your daily goals. You don’t have to run a half marathon or make headway on three big projects; finishing your reading for one of your classes or making a healthy dinner are great goals to set. It’s all about being kind and gentle as you set yourself up for the day.
This is a really fun activity to start your day and takes less than a minute. It will require a very minimal investment if you don’t already own affirmation cards but they are widely available. I like using affirmation cards because they keep you off your phone and are beautiful to look at. Each morning, shuffle and pick a positive affirmation to use as your mantra for the day. Repeat it to yourself, write it out a couple of times or simply take a moment to reflect on the meaning. I like to place mine on my desk throughout the day to add a little decoration to the home office, and to remind myself to stay connected to the bigger picture.
If you have an exercise mat and 20 minutes of free time, yoga is a perfect way to start your morning. I have never regretted stepping onto the mat first thing. In fact, there hasn’t been a single time I wasn’t surprised at just how much more aligned, focused and calm I felt after a 15-minute yoga class. We have a tendency to think that we need to commit to a 50 minutes exercise class but just moving your body for a few minutes every morning will really transform the way you feel.
There are actually a whole range of amazing yoga classes on YouTube, which is a nice way to ease into the practice if you’re unfamiliar with the yogi lifestyle. Boho Beautiful’s content is responsible for my obsession with yoga with a wide range of mini yoga classes.
Plus, the good thing about yoga is you don’t need to dig out your sports kit and running trainers - I’ve been known to do yoga in my pyjamas on occasion. As long as you’re comfy, that’s all that matters.
We all know that feeling over the last year in lockdown when you realise you haven’t left the house in a few days. You’ll be amazed at how much better you would feel if you stepped outside for 10-15 minutes before starting your day. This can also be a really useful time for self-care or educating yourself. Listening to a podcast while breathing in that crisp morning air can make it feel less like a chore and add a new dimension to your outdoor time.
There are actually loads of podcasts that have mini-episodes perfect for times like this, so you don’t need to commit an hour to your walk just to finish your episode. Keeping a clear focus on the wellbeing theme, I’d recommend Dr Chatterjee’s ‘bitesize’ episodes. These are available on Spotify and are released weekly, ranging between 10 and 15 minutes. Why not take some time exploring and find a new mini-podcast that suits your needs perfectly?