Sensing a decline in mental health can lead to feeling like everything is out of order. Ironically, a lack of order may also lead to lower mental health. Establishing a morning routine can regain a sense of structure and improve mental health.
Having a consistent morning routine can not only properly start the day, but it can also improve mental health throughout the day and overtime. Setting aside time in the morning allows one to plan time to focus on their mental health.
Routines can help people create healthy habits. There have been multiple studies that prove daily routines lead to the development of many healthy habits, which can help people navigate through life better.
Morning routines can provide a sense of accomplishment and allow time for a self check-in. Seemingly insignificant habits in a morning routine, like showering and getting dressed, are important when it comes to feeling one’s best. Lounging around in pajamas or sweats for extended periods of time may result in a sluggish feeling, but a consistent morning routine can help people break this habit and feel energetic.
Resisting the urge to hit snooze and instead jumping into a morning routine triggers a response in the brain, making one feel well-prepared. This feeling of preparation leads to less stress and leaves the impression that there is plenty of time to get other tasks done.
Managing a sleep schedule and putting aside time in the morning to focus strictly on themselves helps alleviate anxiety. Coping with anxiety requires sitting down, identifying personal worries and addressing any concerns. Mentally giving yourself predictable scenarios by creating habits allows your mind to calmy adjust and know what to expect. Thus, anxiety over the unknown becomes less of an issue and having a predictable routine every morning serves as a great mental health booster.
Waking up earlier and adding more items on the to-do list seems counterintuitive and overwhelming. As college students, it does not seem possible to get enough sleep and exercise, eat regularly, maintain a job and a high GPA in a healthy manner.
It’s true, morning routines can initially be difficult to start. However, not doing what is healthy for one’s overall well-being should not be an excuse. Rather than get discouraged, people should add and subtract things from their routines to see what works best.
According to a 2020 article from the Journal of Global Health, there are two types of daily routines to consider: primary and secondary.
Primary routines are behaviors that are necessary, addressing physical needs like hygiene, sleep and eating. Secondary routines deal with individual circumstances and preferences, including elements like exercising, leisure activities and meeting goals.
To sustain daily routines, it is suggested to prioritize primary routines rather than secondary routines. This should be considered when creating a morning routine. Think about what is absolutely essential to the routine and what can come second. This will eliminate the initial feeling of being overwhelmed by providing a place to start.
Eventually, the repetitive morning routine may begin to feel old, no matter how beneficial it had been up until that point. Some warning signs that indicate that a morning routine needs to be adjusted are: feeling drained, on auto-pilot or unmotivated.
It is OK to move around aspects of the routine. It’s also important to recognize it as a work in progress, and open to reconsideration of one’s preferences. If one prefers starting the morning with an enjoyable activity, like “me time,” moving a primary routine action, like showering, after a secondary routine action, like listening to a podcast, will solve that issue.
Self-awareness, as well as trial and error, are factors of creating a morning routine to support your mental health.