[Wednesday Wellness] Tips for establishing a morning routine

Article by Christen Hayes, LMSW, Living Well Counseling, Northeast Arkansas

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14  

I am not really an “up with the birds” type person but I am not really a “night owl” either. Recently I noticed that I was like some kind of “perpetually tired pigeon.” I realized that I needed to make some changes to my morning routine to take care of my body, increase productivity, and start my day off right.   

Here are five tips to get your day started in the right direction.  

1. Preparing for a strong morning routine, starts the night before:  

- Gather the items needed in the morning such as clothes, backpacks, and coffee supplies and put them in their places. This is now one less thing that must be done after waking up.   

-Go to bed at the same time every night. If you have identified how many hours of sleep you need (probably between 7 and 8 hours), subtract that from the time you need to get up and that is your bedtime. EVERY NIGHT.   

-Sleep in the dark with no electronics. We don’t want to get too “sciency” here, but we know that the light from your screens is sending signals to your brain that are NOT conducive to going to sleep. Read a book, listen to some music, do light stretching, or meditation. Turn off the phone, computer, TV an hour or two before bedtime.  

In the morning:  

2. Get up at the same time EVERY day. Once you figure out how much time you need to accomplish your morning routine tasks, subtract that from the time you need to leave home and that is your wake-up time. Getting up at the same time every day helps your body set a rhythm.  

3. Do NOT press the snooze button. This is just asking for torture. You probably aren’t going back to sleep and if you do, it is not going to be “good” sleep. I know it might feel warm and cozy in bed, but just get up when the alarm goes off. Trust me.  

4. Have a breakfast routine you look forward to. Fix your favorite coffee or tea to enjoy or eat your favorite bagel or oatmeal. Pick something that you are excited about to enjoy during the next step.  

5. Spend time in the Word and prayer. Pick a book of the Bible or a Bible reading plan and dig in. Chew on it. Reflect on it. Pray about it. Start your day with God’s True Word in your heart and filling your cup so that as you go through your day, it is His love and truth that you are pouring out on others.  

  A few more tips that might help: get outside for some fresh air during the day; move your body daily (it doesn’t have to be intense cardio, just start with movement); expose yourself to sunlight or light when you wake up; and watch out for caffeine.  

And remember, “From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, the name of the Lord is to be praised!” (Psalm 113:3) 

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