Waking up in the morning should be a delight. It is a fresh start. A second chance to turn a new leaf and a chance to fix the mistakes of yesterday. However, it could be the opposite if the first thought you have every morning is how terrible your life is. Especially if you don’t have a morning routine for mental health prepared.
That’s how it is for anxious and depressed people almost every day. You don’t have to have clinical level depression or anxiety to feel like this. A bad day, or the day after something terrible happens to you is enough to make you feel this way. Which is why we must make a few tweaks to what we do first thing in the morning so that it sets a better tone for the day ahead.
A normal productive morning routine would be: wake up – better yet wake up early, brush your teeth, go to the gym or meditate, or both, read a book, have a healthy breakfast and start your day with work.
What To Include In Your Morning Routine For Mental Health
What differentiates you from other people is you might not feel that energy immediately after you wake up and to help with that, I have developed a slightly different morning routine from my very difficult days. Feel free to adjust them to suit your needs.
- Wake up early: There are a lot of benefits to waking up early and one of those benefits is the silence and darkness. During that time, only a few people are awake which you learn to appreciate if being in a noisy area increases your depression or triggers your anxiety.
Another great thing about waking up early is that you have more time to be productive especially if you are feeling down. Or if the pressures and noise of the workforce make it even harder to be productive.
Waking up early requires some practice and tips. Here are some great posts about waking up earlier:
Tips For Your Morning Routine For Mental Health
- Don’t look in the mirror: do not let your first thought in the morning to be some criticism or shame about your body, looks or anything else. Giving attention to your features can trigger insecurities if you have them. And honestly, we all do.
- Don’t talk to anyone: don’t return calls or socialise, especially if you have social anxiety or if socialising stresses you out. Take that morning time for you and yourself only.
- Don’t pick up your phone: the moment you pick your phone up, you add people to your bubble of consciousness by giving attention to what people are up, reading people’s opinions about things, etc. That’s too much people and too much distraction too early in the morning.
- Journal: journal your thoughts. Having anxiety and depression comes with a flood of not very nice thoughts and emotions. Starting your day on a negative note means ending it on a negative note as well. Let it all out.
Tips for journaling: Write what you’re thinking and how you are feeling. Write down your daily goals along with all the excuses you may think of. Whether you think you’re not good enough, it’s too hard, you’re not smart, there’s no time, there’s no point, whatever it is write it until you can’t think of anymore. Explain them. Write why you’re feeling what you’re feeling and what you’re actually afraid of.
If you let it all out there won’t be any more to haunt you during the day.
I recommend bullet journaling! Read about the benefits of bullet journaling to see what it could do to help you!
You’ll have a clearer head to work with on your goals and since you’ve also let your fears out, there won’t be anything holding you back
How To Get up and Feel Refreshed
Did you know that the minty breath after brushing our teeth makes it easy for us to brush our teeth daily? It’s because tiny rewards like fresh breath, no matter how small or insignificant make a big effect on our brains. That’s a tick that you’ve achieved something, and your brain will want more. So, start small:
Small Habits To Include In Your Morning Routine For Mental Health
- Brush your teeth
- Take a shower
- Comb your hair
- Dress up
- Open the windows and inhale the fresh air
- Eat a banana
- Eat a nutritious breakfast – I don’t have to tell you how bad food affects your health but being depressed and anxious makes you more vulnerable. That frozen pizza at breakfast will not give you the extra energy boost you need but rather will make it harder for you to wake up. You don’t have to eat salad or drink a kale smoothie to eat right.
- Work early – most morning routines end with preparation to start your day. Your morning routine should include it. Work early.
With all the steps above, you should be feeling better, clearheaded, refreshed and motivated. By this time, people are either still sleeping or just getting up. If you work from home this will be much easier but try as hard as you can to get work done. For an hour or two. Just work on your daily tasks.
- Practice self-care – drink more water, exercise, meditate, read a comic book. Whatever you do to relax. Waking up early is hard work and you will feel a bit tired physically and especially mentally. You need to relax.
- Tell someone about it – by the time you’re done the real world is awake and you’ve achieved so much already. Call someone and tell them about it. Share how you feel with someone. A family member or a friend, someone that will be happy for you, who you can be accountable to. Despite how you might feel, you still need human interaction. (Feel free to DM me here)
- Go on about your day as usual – sometimes I sleep by this time. An afternoon power nap! But that depends on your schedule. You can also go on social media, read, sleep, go to work, go to school or go to the dentist, whatever your daily routine looks like.
This morning routine will help set the tone for your day especially of you are depressed or anxious. I know sometimes even the bare minimum seems daunting, but you have to try.
It’s the small changes that make the biggest difference.
P.S. Some days I haven’t been able to follow this routine but on the days I did it felt amazing. You deserve to do something, to feel something instead of fear and helplessness. Help yourself take better care of yourself.
Thank you to Ilham Usman for writing this weeks post on morning routines for mental health! You can find even more inspirational posts about confidence, mental health and self improvement over at Finding Beautiful! Connect with Ilham on twitter @IlhamU_blog!
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Thank you for reading,