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Having a solid morning routine is a way to set yourself up for a successful day. Routines help reduce mental fatigue, and they can also make you happier and more productive. But setting a routine can be difficult when there is no one pressuring you to get out of bed, when there is no office to go to, no school run to do etc.
Regardless of your situation, a morning routine will benefit you. It needn’t mean jumping out of bed at 6:30am every day, in fact, it has very little to do with a particular time, it’s simply about what you choose to do with the first hour or so you are awake each day. It doesn’t matter if that’s 5:00am or midday, establishing a routine that makes sense for you is what you are trying to achieve.
What is a good morning routine?
The simple answer is that it’s a routine that serves YOU: sets you up for a productive day, whether that is working remotely, looking after your children, or just getting through the day. And whilst everyone is different, there is a framework you can use to create YOUR routine.
1. Wake up at roughly the same time every day
This is about regulating your circardian rhythm (the internal clock that tells you when you need to sleep). In order to wake up rested at roughly the same time every day, you should also go to sleep at the same time every evening. This way, you teach your body to regulate your sleep, to get the right amount of sleep as this affects everything from your mood to heart function.
So, getting on track with your natural sleep schedule helps set the tone for the day and positively influences just about every aspect of your personal and work life.
2. Exercise of some sort
We are all aware of the fact that exercise is beneficial on just about every level of our wellbeing. But not as many people know that when in the day you choose to exercise can have a big impact on your success both in and out of the gym.
If possible, work out in the morning. It is easier to stick to (less distractions – no one suggesting a virtual drink on Zoom at 7:30am) and kickstarts your metabolism, meaning you burn more calories throughout the day (yay). Finally, there’s another big benefit to a morning workout routine: exercise increases your productivity. You are energised & focussed. Again, it’s important to remember that everyone is different. For some, a work out is tough cardio session and 5 mile run, for others, it might be a 15-20 minute light movement practice. If you are into yoga, check out Louise’s brilliant online classes here.
3. Wait to ‘start’ your day
Many of us have the (bad) habit of rolling over in bed and grabbing our phones to check social media and/or emails. DON’T. Let yourself wake up slowly. Think about it; the posts on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram will still be there an hour later, and the same goes for your emails. If it were really that urgent, chances are you would get a phone call.
4. Do something for YOU before you ‘start your workday’
You may not have a 9-5 job, but we all have things that need doing each day, be it looking after your family, supporting others or any number of recurring activities. This is what you should consider your work. Before that begins, do something you enjoy, just for you: maybe it’s reading, maybe it’s checking in with your friends on social media, maybe it’s meditating. What it is doesn’t really matter, just make it ‘me-time’. 15-30 minutes.
5. Make the masterplan
Take some time to plan your day. Think through what you are looking to achieve over the coming hours. Set yourself realistic goals and targets before you begin. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Coming to terms with the new way of living, be it home-schooling children, having to work remotely, or coping with not having much to do can be difficult. The point of the list is to set yourself up for success, not failure, so make a list that is achievable – we are all struggling to adapt to new ways of life, be kind to yourself.
Five simple steps to set yourself up for a good day. We urge you to give it a try. Remember, you can only ever do your best, and that is always good enough! Stay strong & healthy.
Read more about the circardian rhythm
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