Healthy Morning Routines for Busy People
How you spend your first minutes of the day determines the quality of your day and if you make it a habit, it determines the quality of your life.
If you wake up late, dress hurriedly, miss breakfast and the bus, you are bound to have a bad day. You get to work late, then your manager becomes angry at you and you just can’t get shake off the thought of how badly your colleagues think of you.
On the flip side, if you have a good structured morning routine you will have so much time (and with no need for rushing) to do everything you need to before actually starting your day. And if you make it a habit, you will reap generously the long run benefits such as decreased anxiety levels because your heart is not racing every morning you are late.
Believe it or not everyone has a routine they follow consciously or sub-consciously. When you wake up do you head to the bathroom first or brush your teeth or dive straight into breakfast? All that is a routine your brain follows subconsciously. If you don’t believe me try tracking everything you have done for the past week since you got up from bed.
Unfortunately having a routine is not enough, it needs to be functional. A routine that sets the pace for the day ahead. The best part is that it does not need to start with the big stuff, it can be the little things such as making your bed.
Naval Admiral William McRaven, the commander of U.S. Special Operations. In a 2014 commencement speech at University of Texas at Austin, said “If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another,” he said. “By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”
Though everyone has divided opinions on whether a bed should be made immediately after waking up or if the bed should be aired, the main idea is that to stay and finish well, you have to start well. To have a successful productive day ahead, you need to start by completing tasks that will put you in a better position and mood to achieve more.
If you are not sure where to start, here are some suggestions you can incorporate in your morning routine.
1. Eat breakfast like a king
Everyone knows the most important meal of the day is breakfast. There is a reason behind that statement. Most people sleep and are supposed to sleep around 8 hours. During those hours you are not taking anything, i.e fasting, and the body is hard at work completing all of the phases needed for muscle repair, memory consolidation and release of hormones regulating growth and appetite. Good quality sleep is important and so is replenishing energy hence the need to break the fast with a good quality breakfast.
Therefore eat healthy balanced breakfast like a king and you can be sure that the energy boost you are giving your body will go towards supporting your productive tasks of the day.
A large percentage of people do not exercise their bodies on a regular, they have a pattern that is wake up — eat — work — break to eat more — work some more — eat some more — then sleep. That is not a healthy routine especially for those working in an office set-up staring at a computer for 6+ hours.
Something that you need to know is that our bodies were not designed to sit still in one place for an extended period of time. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to add weight or feel lethargic or eat more or less by sitting in one place for long?
A quick way to improve your mood, feel energized and have fun is by sparing a few minutes to move your beautiful body. But that is not all the benefits of working out; by working out you can manage or lose weight, have better sleep quality and combat health conditions such as anxiety, diabetes and high blood pressure among others.
As if working out does not have enough benefits, it also triggers the release of endorphins. These are chemicals released by your body when you exercise. They interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain and trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, also known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.
Spare about 30 minutes daily to exercise and you will see and experience desirable results. Of course you can do this at a convenient time during your day but I prefer a morning workout. Getting it out of my mind during the day in addition to the release of the endorphin makes it easy for me to focus on other things and still be in a good mood.
If you are not sure what exercise routine is right for you, you can join a gym and speak to an instructor or try out different apps such as BodBot which customizes your exercise plan according to your needs. You can also try a 30 day challenge to get you into the habit.
3. Learn something you are genuinely interested in
We are so lucky to be living at a time where you can learn from the best universities at the comfort of your home, car or office. There are so many sites that provide courses at discounted rates such as Coursera, Udemy, Alison and EdX. While not everyone has the patience to learn a full degree online, it is doable even with short courses.
I am a staunch believer in constantly growing and learning is a huge part of growth. Think about it upskilling yourself and learning new skills does not look too bad on your CV or for your business or current/future employer. Does it? The world is ever evolving and so should you and your skills.
Twenty years ago, 1999, not many people knew how to operate a computer let alone access the internet. Today, there are so many opportunities that exist in the digital platform, people whose main job is digital marketing. Today advertising in the digital space is way cheaper, more effective and more appealing to customers and advertisers.
If you do not take advantage of opportunities in your space and learn new skills in your field or in your interest, you will be stuck in 1999 while the world is in 2019.
By sparing 30 minutes everyday to learn a new skill or honing your current skills you will have invested 168 hours in yourself by the end of the year. Can you imagine the impact of those hours? And the number of certifications you can get. For most MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses), the average time to complete a course is 16–20 hours depending on how fast a learner is. Divide that by the 168 hours, those are 8–10 completed courses which is really great.
The best thing with learning is that you are investing in yourself and the risk factors are low as compared to investing in other items such as land, shares e.t.c. Another benefit is that you will reap the benefits of your investments longer than other investment types. For instance if you are interested in investing in the capital market, and you decide to invest your time in learning about it you will not only save costs (hiring financial advisers, investing blindly e.t.c) but forever have that knowledge which will lead you to make better investments hence more profits.
There are so many benefits to learning and if you have a busy schedule, the best way to be productive while still developing yourself is to set aside 30 minutes or even an hour in your morning routine. It is easy, doable and with a lot of great benefits. But be warned this can only work well if it something you find interesting and enjoyable otherwise it will become like hard labor to actually learn.
4. Work on your passion and side hustles
We all have ambitions and passions that we desire to pursue. It could be music related or marketing or whatever you're gifted at. Very few people are brave enough to leave their comfort and pursue them professionally or start a legit main hustle for it. That does not mean that the rest are not that into their passion and do not want to earn from it.
Far from it, most people are looking for ways to supplement their source of income. Something that you enjoy and can make some extra cash sounds like a fun and attractive deal hence the rise of so many people having side hustles.
While you spend nearly a third of your day at work and the other half asleep, you need to spend the other third wisely. But most times it is crowded with other equally important demand tasks like spending time with your family, friends, colleagues, relaxing, cooking, eating e.t.c. While you can’t cut off social relations to pursue your passion (it will get very lonely), you can create time for your passions and side hustle.
And what time is better than in the morning when your mind is still fresh (assuming you had a proper night rest). You can create one hour daily for this or even more depending on your schedule. You can do so much with those few extra minutes. Give it a try, your passion and side hustles are definitely worth it.
If you don’t know what your passion is, this is the best chance to experiment with a couple before finding yours.
While I know that this may not be applicable to everybody, especially those with busy schedules, I believe everyone deserves a healthy balanced life. With a balanced life you are able to achieve more and be fulfilled in you personal life as well as in your career. So give one item or a few from this list a try and share your experiences with me. I would also love to hear your views and thoughts.