7 Ways To Change Your Morning Routine That Can Drastically Boost Your Mood
It doesn't matter if you leap out of bed with the greatest of ease, or if you need a few hits of the ol' snooze button before you can truly wake up — there are all sorts of ways to improve your mood in the morning, and thus feel better for the rest of the day.
And, just so you know, this often starts the night before, by getting to bed at a reasonable hour (whenever possible) and snagging those recommended seven to nine hours of sleep. If you can do so regularly, you'll have a far easier time waking up. And, of course, you'll have more energy.
But other simple tweaks can make a big difference, too. "What you do to start your day will have a profound impact on your mood, and possibly even your health," author and lifestyle expert Jaya Jaya Myra tells Bustle. "And when you have a consistent routine, it will be even more powerful to help you easily get into and stay in a good mood in the morning and throughout the day."
So regardless of what you're doing currently, do consider making a few tweaks, and adding in a few simple tips and tricks, to truly make the most of your morning — and improve your mood for the rest of the day.
1. Stay In Bed Ten Minutes Longer
Instead of springing out of bed the moment your alarm goes off — or worse, hitting snooze and falling back asleep — give yourself 10 minutes to simply lie there and tune into your surroundings. "Stretch out on your back and be mindful of the present moment, allowing yourself to start the day with a clear head," mental health therapist Jessica Tappana MSW, LCSW tells Bustle. "Try focusing on your breathing, noticing any areas of tension in your body and relaxing those or even just becoming aware of the sensations surrounding you — temperature of the air, feel of the sheets, etc."
Then, set your intention for the day by choosing one or two areas you'd like to focus on. "Regardless of how big or small the anticipated activity may be, you are practicing focusing your mind on something positive from the start," she says. And that can greatly improve your mood.
2. Actually Make Your Bed
Once you do get up, turn right around and make your bed. And do it properly, even though you might be tempted to just yank your sheets up. Instead, pull everything back into place, fluff your pillows, smooth out your comforter — and then get on with your day.
As motivational blogger Amy Ogden tells Bustle, "I made a resolution this year to make my bed every day and it's amazing how much better I feel all day long knowing my home feels put together in this small, but significant way. It takes me less than a minute to make the bed and the rewards last all day and night."
Because really, what's better than returning home to a tidy bed, or crawling into crisp sheets? Pretty much nothing. And some research has even suggested that making your bed can help improve your mental health.
3. Back Away From Your Phone (Laptop, TV, Etc.)
As difficult as it may seem to someone who's used to reaching for their phone first thing (hello, me), going tech-free for a few moments in the morning can almost guarantee a better mood. That's because it allows you time to wake up and marinate in your own thoughts for a while, and start your day without stress.
"Waking up and being flooded with sensationalized news stories and other people's news feeds can be a mood-killer," certified personal trainer Trinity S. Perkins, MSEd tells Bustle. "Start the day by spending time with your own thoughts before the world dumps all of theirs on you."
If you think it might be difficult, there are ways to make it easier. "Charge your phone outside your bedroom the night before to prep for a stress-free morning ... and don't check it until you've completed your morning routine," Perkins says. "You can start small by not checking it until after you've washed your face or fed the dog." And you can increase or decrease the time from there, until you figure out what works best for you.
4. Get Your Blood Flowing
Getting your blood flowing with a few light stretches and yoga poses can do wonders for your mood, and get you ready for the day. "This helps to loosen those stiff muscles," functional health and wellness coach Korie Leigh, PhD, LMHC tells Bustle. "If you are feeling under the weather, gentle movement helps to get your lymphatic system working efficiently, which in turns helps to optimize those infection fighting white blood cells."
5. Wait As Long As You Can To Have Coffee
If you're used to stumbling into the kitchen to drink coffee the moment your eyelids peel apart, try something new and wait just a little bit longer. "Delay your coffee intake for an hour or two after you wake up and stick to one cup before noon," functional diagnostic nutritional practitioner Kylene Terhune, CPT, tells Bustle. "It sounds counterintuitive, but delaying your morning coffee will allow you to use your body's natural cortisol production, which is at it's peak the first hour after you wake up. It also has a long half-life, meaning the caffeine stays circulating in your system for a long time before being out in half and then half again until finally eliminated. Timing your intake can boost your morning and provide energy all day!"
6. Create A Few Positive Associations
If you often feel groggy or "blah" in the morning, you can change that by tricking your brain into happiness with a few positive associations.
The first trick? Aromatherapy. "Spray two full sprays —one on your pillow and one in the air away from your face," board-certified chiropractor Dr. Rubina Tahir, DC, tells Bustle. "What you are doing is activating your senses, which will help you wake up faster. In addition you are associating a pleasant smell with the morning time. This will create a happy morning routine and you will focus on a positive stimulus, as opposed to stressing about getting 10 more minutes of sleep." She recommends scents like citrus (lime, orange, grapefruit) or sandalwood, all of which can boost your mood.
The second trick: upping your breakfast game. You might consider making an easy (but delicious) egg recipe, a homemade acai bowl, or even just a simple smoothie. And top it all off with a really great brand of coffee or tea (but of course, do not drink it as soon as you wake up). "If you usually buy a cheaper brand of coffee to save money, consider splurging just a little in this area so that you look forward to that first cup a little more," Tappana says. "As you savor that first sip, you'll be starting the day off on a positive note."
7. Drink Water, Drink Water, Drink Water
The sooner you can drink a big glass of water, the better off you'll be. "Hydration is key for brain function, energy, mobility, and so much more," naturopathic physician Dr. Michelle Winchell, ND, MSAOM, LAc tells Bustle. "Having a large glass of water with lemon in the morning helps stimulate digestion, detoxification, and helps to alkalinize our body. All of these things help to decrease inflammation, which can be a game-changer for brain fog."
It might also help to go a bit overboard with the lemon. As Myra says, "Sour foods have the unique ability to boost your willpower and make you feel like you can conquer anything. A slice of lemon in some morning tea is a great way to get that added mood boosting effect!"
And really, that's all it takes. A slice of lemon here, a spray of aromatherapy there, and just like that, you'll be in a better mood and ready to take on the day.