Mindful Mornings: 6 Practical Strategies For Starting The Day Right

morning
Photo: iStock

When it comes to matters of health and wellness, it's the small changes that are the most sustainable. We often set lofty goals for ourselves and then find that we can't quite live up to our high standards (at least not for an extended period of time) — that incredibly ambitious workout and clean eating plan falls to the wayside after only a week. If you're looking to make long-term changes to your wellbeing, it's important to take a gradual approach, slowly adding new habits to your routine and ditching those that aren't doing you any favors. A good place to start? Your morning routine. Starting your day on a positive note sets the tone for the rest of the day. Below, we've outlined six easy strategies to help you start your day with intention and on the right foot.

Get enough sleep.

This goes without saying, but a good night's sleep is essential. Ideally, you should try to get seven or eight hours of sleep each night, and wake up around the same time each day. To ensure good quality sleep, make it a habit of saying sayonara to electronic devices (phone, tablet, laptop, etc. — anything with a screen) 30 minutes before bedtime. Your bedroom should be at a comfortable temperature and the room should be completely dark.

Unplug.

It's so easy to get sucked into the Instagram wormhole or for one email to turn into 50 — allowing technology to totally rule your morning is the exact opposite you're trying to achieve. Give yourself time to wake up and create space for yourself (key for creativity) without distractions before powering up your phone, tablet or laptop. Set a designated time to power up your devices and don't do so until that time. Use this newfound time to stretch in bed, savor that cup of coffee and relax for a few minutes before the reality of the day starts to sink in.

Move.

Find a way to get yourself up and moving in the morning, whether it's going for a short walk outside, doing 20 minutes of yoga or busting out an intense HIIT workout. Movement will stimulate your body, helping you wake up, and boost levels of serotonin, kicking those feel-good vibes into high gear.

Postpone your morning cup of Joe (just a little bit).

Coffee might be the nectar of the gods, but it doesn't do much for your hydration game. Try starting your day with a mug of hot lemon water instead, and saving that glorious cup of java for a bit later on in the morning.

Take your time.

Rushing through your routine in the morning might help you get out the door faster, but it certainly won't bring you any closer to a place of inner peace. Moving through the motions slowly, taking time for each task will reduce your levels of stress in the morning, and allow you to be present every step of the way, ultimately making the experience more mindful.

Envision the day.

To-do lists are a great organizational tool, but they can quickly become overwhelming. Take the time to analyze your list and highlight three or four items that need to get done that day. Do these tasks before checking your email or doing other, lower priority tasks. You could even do this in the evening to help prepare for the next day. Don't forget that you're a priority too! Consider making a separate self-care to-do list (take a yoga class, read, etc.) and make time for them.