• How we start our day can set the tone, affecting our energy levels, productivity, and mood for the day ahead

  • Coach Ryan Jackson shares his four top tips for a productive, healthy morning

Get more done in less time, feel better, look better, improve your relationships – there is a long list of benefits to having a healthy morning routine. In fact, whether or not you’re aware of it, you have probably already created a consistent routine that you tend to follow from the moment you wake up, day in, day out. Brush your teeth, make your bed, grab a coffee, and so on – most of us have our own series of behaviours that we repeat every morning, almost automatically.

Positive choices first thing in the morning help to put you in a healthy headspace and sets the tone for the rest of the day. Take a moment to think about how healthy your morning habits are, and what actions can be added that will positively contribute to your morning, and the day ahead.

Ask yourself: is your morning enhancing how you think, how you feel and how you behave? Do your current habits work for you? Or do they work against you? More recently, if your circumstances have changed if you’re working from home for example, how does your routine differ? Is anything working better or worse?

Especially when working from home, the weeds can creep in if you allow them to do so – some of your pre-work rituals are skipped, or they change, resulting in you beginning the day with low energy. This is reflected in the quality of your performance and the work you produce, as well as your mood.

The things you do in the AM prime you to face the day. Those little rituals from your cuppa to your shower are all part of a psychological process that creates the necessary energetic state for you to tackle the day.

1. Create awareness

The first step in starting your day right is to be honest with yourself about the habits that are having a negative influence. Bombarding your brain with social media and bad news, checking emails, drinking too much coffee, eating unhealthily – these are all likely to trigger stress before your day has even begun. Anxiety is often worst in the morning, so it’s even more important to be kind to yourself first thing.

Next, focus on the things you can change to make your habits more beneficial to your mental wellbeing. Could you drink a glass of water before hitting the caffeine? How about swapping processed carbs for wholegrain and protein to help keep your energy levels more balanced? Could you spare time for some exercise? Think about what you can improve on.

2. Avoid screens

Instead of reaching for your phone as soon as you open your eyes, try pausing for a minute and tune in on how you’re feeling.

Ideally, don’t keep your mobile phone in your bedroom, or other electronics. Appliances like our mobiles, computers, Wi-Fi routers, microwaves give out unseen energy waves – electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) or radiation – which raise some health concerns. Research on low-frequency EMFs suggest links with neurological and psychiatric problems, including changes in nerve function, affecting sleep and mood. Plus, it’s tempting to lie in bed scrolling mindlessly through your phone or watching TV instead of getting up and getting on with a positive morning routine.

3. Practice gratitude 

If you’re stuck in a rut of negative thinking, the following exercise is a great way to break the cycle and alter your outlook. Each morning when you wake up, or on your way to work, simply list five things that you are thankful for or looking forward to that day. Get in the habit of doing this every morning and it will help you to release your old negative feelings and start forming a new, more positive attitude to your life.

4. Be mindful

Sparing a few minutes first thing in the morning for meditation can make all the difference to your state of mind throughout the day. Guided meditations talk you through and are easy to find online. Or simply focus inwards, breathing calmly, counting your breaths and relaxing. You can set an alarm if you’re afraid of losing track of time. Even if you think you don’t have enough time, just trying spending 2-5 minutes in meditation and you’ll feel as if you’ve gained time in your day.

Instead of worrying about what’s happened in the past, or what’s ahead in the future, simply enjoy the moment. Really savour the present time through all your senses – touch, hearing, sight, smell, taste. Focus on your breathing, in and out. When you fill your mind with what’s in the ‘now’ and there is little room for worries or concerns.

Never sacrifice a winning morning routine. Your castle must be built on solid foundations, and your day is built upon an efficient, effective routine that sets you up positively for the day. Great mornings normally result in great days, so by paying close attention to your morning routines, you move towards a happier and healthier mindset.

Ryan Jackson is an entrepreneur, success coach, motivational speaker and author. His new book, The Success Rebellion, is out now:

Further reading

7 self-care tips for working from home

How multi-tasking inhibits productivity

Why does physical exercise improve mental health

7 self-care tips for increasing energy at work