Why You Should Have a Morning Routine

Wellbeing editor Rebecca Wadey explores the benefits of a mindful morning routine


Picture / Getty

The expression “getting up on the wrong side of the bed” wasn’t coined without good reason. Starting your day in a well-intentioned, conscious manner can have a positive impact on its outcome. Morning rituals, many with a base in Ayurvedic medicine, are becoming more and more commonplace with those seeking to take time out from a busy world to consider priorities, goals and a level of self-care.

It goes without saying that starting your day with purpose and positivity is better for you than lying in bed checking how many likes your latest Instagram post has got, or stressing about how to reply to that gnarly email that came through overnight requiring urgent attention. And while clearly we’re advocates of staying in touch with the finest of news sources, there’s value in not doing it first thing. Start the day with positive vibrations before dosing up on death and destruction.

Enjoy a ritualistic approach to the suggestions below. Choose just one and commit to it for a week, then add in a second, even a third. Practise them mindfully and in exactly the same sequence each day.

Gently note how a morning routine makes you feel. Does it make you more productive at work? More inclined to choose healthy meal and snack choices throughout the day? Are you finding it easier to reach personal goals after spending some focused time on setting them?

While it’s difficult to prove (or, for that matter, discount) the science behind many of these practices, arguably the biggest benefit of all is the time you spend focusing on them, and therefore yourself, each morning.

Lemon in hot water

Probably the most popular of morning rituals and for good reason. Drinking lemon water in the mornings is accessible and easy. Simply squeeze half a lemon into a glass (if lemon is organic, drop the squeezed segment into the glass, otherwise just use the juice). Fill with hot water (not boiling) and sip. Lemon juice activates your digestive enzymes, plus it’s alkaline, making it the perfect foil to any more acidic foods you may ingest later in the day (hello, coffee).

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) does the same job; a teaspoon of ACV in warm water is a fantastic substitute if travelling or when lemons are out of season.

Make this simple task more ritualistic by using the same glass each day, running the hot tap for the same length of time, staring at the same view while sipping, and feeling every texture, taste and temperature as you enjoy it.

Tongue scraping

Ayurvedic practitioners believe in the concept of ama; undigested toxins that lie stagnant in and on the body such as, potentially, the coating found on your tongue. Many health food stores sell tongue scrapers, or you can use the tip of a stainless-steel teaspoon. Place it gently at the back of the tongue and scrape up towards the front several times, rinsing it clean each time. In Ayurvedic medicine tongue scraping makes a good precursor to oil pulling (see below). 

Dry body brushing

Dry body brushing is said to support your lymphatic system, aid in the elimination of toxins and envigorate your circulation. It also removes dead skin, so has obvious cosmetic benefits (Miranda Kerr is a vocal fan).

Start at the feet and work up towards your heart in a circular movement. Follow with your morning shower and feel free to take the ritual even further by alternating hot and cold water in the shower, and spending some time afterwards rubbing a beautiful body oil into your skin (we love Sans Activator 7 body oil).

Oil pulling

Many claims have been made about oil pulling, many of which are outright outlandish. (There is no scientific evidence to suggest it eliminates toxins and prevents disease.) But the act of gargling with coconut oil certainly has dental benefits, and many people believe it helps ease acne and build immunity.

When oil pulling, gently heat one to two teaspoons of cold-pressed coconut oil until it is liquid (alternatively use extra virgin cold-pressed sesame oil), place in your mouth and swill for 20 minutes, using your cheeks and tongue to heat and move it around your mouth. Once finished, spit into a paper towel and place in the bin (proponents advise against swallowing the oil as they believe it contains toxins pulled from the inside of your mouth.

Also, oil dumped in the sink will harden and may cause plumbing problems. It can be hard to get the knack of oil pulling but it’s worth persevering for a couple of weeks; as your mouth muscles adjust you’ll find you can do a little more each day. The enforced meditation from spending 20 minutes with your mouth full each morning can also be pretty addictive.

Exercise

Morning provides an excellent chance to get your daily movement out of the way before your day gets out of hand. Whether it’s an hour long run or some sun salutations done by the bed, movement always leads to clarity of mind and forms an important part of many morning rituals.

Goal setting, positive affirmations, journalling and mantras

Setting aside time each morning to stop and reflect on the day ahead and to set clear intentions for what you wish to achieve is a tremendously powerful way to start any day.

The late Apple founder, Steve Jobs, said he looked in the mirror every morning and asked himself if it were the last day of his life would he be happy living that day. If the answer was “no” for too many days in a row, he knew something needed to change.

Mantras and affirmations can provide incredible boosts to moods and self-esteem, and many people find journalling an insightful way to gather and clarify thoughts.

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