10 steps to building a great morning routine to improve your productivity and happiness - Deepstash
10 steps to building a great morning routine to improve your productivity and happiness

10 steps to building a great morning routine to improve your productivity and happiness

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A morning routine with a typical wake time, a healthy breakfast, and some exercise is a great place to start, says Erin Engle , PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center . Having a more intentional approach to the day early on can help instill self-confidence and lead to a more productive rest of the day, says Engle.

Ready to reap those benefits? Here are 10 steps you can take to building the perfect morning routine:

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1. Maintain a fixed bedtime and waking time

1. Maintain a fixed bedtime and waking time

Consistency is at the heart of any routine, says Engle. She recommends setting a fixed bedtime and wake-up time and sticking to them as often as you can. Not only will this set you up for a better day ahead, it can also provide more restful sleep at night. 

That's because waking up and falling asleep at the same time sets your internal clock, or circadian rhythm, which makes for better quality sleep.

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2. Plan how much time you'll need

2. Plan how much time you'll need

Engle recommends giving yourself enough time in the morning to accomplish everything you need to do. She suggests planning backward from your first engagement, like your first meeting, or the starting time of your children's school, and waking up early enough to fit everything in; you may need anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes for your morning routine, depending on how many tasks it involves. 

"Engaging thoughtfully in each part of the routine may reduce rushing and reactivity, and increase the sense of calm and pleasure obtained from completing the routine," says Engle. 

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3. Don't hit snooze

3. Don't hit snooze

"Snoozes are a false start to the day. In the short-term, hitting snooze may feel like a win but it has limited utility in advancing the goal of achieving rest long-term," says Engle. If your body needs more rest, then you may need to adjust your schedule accordingly. Adults typically need between seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Onthe other hand, if you're hitting snooze because you're feeling overwhelmed by everything you have to do in the morning or trying to avoid the day ahead, Engle suggests waking up and doing one or two activities that bring you peace and enjoyment.

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4. Get out of bed

4. Get out of bed

While you may be tempted to lay in bed and scroll through your phone for some time before you get up, Engle suggests getting out of bed instead. 

"Getting out of bed is the first step. Then, select one activity that you can bring full attention to, whether that be prayer, affirmation, a physical stretch, or brushing your teeth," says Engle. 

She says with practice, following a chosen routine can help you weather external stress, enhance your capacity to cope with challenges, and better engage with the day ahead.

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5. Avoid your phone

5. Avoid your phone

Scrolling through the news or your social media feeds is a passive activity that could detract from the productivity of your morning.

"Engaging with this type of content before one is fully awake or out of bed may make it tempting to mindlessly read content, which may feel purposeful, but is actually a passive activity," says Engle.

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6. Try self-affirmation

6. Try self-affirmation

Saying positive affirmations out loud or writing them down can help build confidence, counter negativity, and potentially benefit your relationships in the long run. 

You can choose your own affirmations or try some of these:

  • I am smart, strong, capable, and kind
  • I am worthy, grateful, and blessed
  • Today will be a great day

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7. Drink some water

7. Drink some water

Eleana Kaidanian , RD, CPT, a nutritionist with her own practice, recommends starting your day with water, rather than tea or coffee. She suggests keeping water by your bedside and drinking eight ounces when you wake up. Water is essential because it helps your body digest the food you eat, absorb the nutrients from it, and get rid of the waste products. 

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8. Exercise or stretch

8. Exercise or stretch

Exercising in the morning can help regulate your sleep-wake cycle and could also aid weight loss , if that's your goal. If you don't have time for a whole workout, try doing a few stretches to warm up your muscles and joints for the day ahead. 

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9. Eat something within an hour of waking up

9. Eat something within an hour of waking up

"It is ideal to break the fast from the night before and eat within the first hour of waking to stimulate your metabolism," says Kaidanian.

According to her, stretching out the fasting-like state can slow down your metabolism, which could ruin your day ahead.By comparison, A higher metabolic rate means your body burns more calories as you go about your day; it can also make you feel more energetic.

If you're going to be working out, Kaidanian, says eating something before you exercise can help fuel your body. She suggests eating a small apple or half a banana with a handful of nuts.

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10. Choose healthy breakfast options

10. Choose healthy breakfast options

"The best options when it comes to breaking your fast are those that are based on whole foods, i.e., foods that are in their natural state and not processed, with protein and fiber to satisfy and give your body fuel for the day ahead," says Kaidanian. Oats, fruit with yogurt, or veggie egg muffins are some healthy options Kaidanian recommends.  

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