Good Mornings Mean Good Days: The Importance of Morning Routines

Not everyone is a morning person. Many of us find ourselves hitting the snooze button one too many times before rushing to work without having a proper breakfast or feeling fully ready for the day. Hasty mornings can take their toll on one’s mental health and productivity.

A healthy morning routine varies from person to person depending on their needs and the demands of their day. We asked two of our therapists at the Sydney Anxiety Clinic some questions about how they begin their day. Anna Kellerman, our resident Art Therapist, and Linda Hayes, Clinical Psychologist and Parent-Infant Therapist, shared their morning routines:

1. What time do you wake up in the morning?

Anna: I'm an early riser. I love waking up to the sunrise and when everyone else is asleep and the world is still silent. My natural body clock wakes me up between 5.30  and 7.00 am, but between 6.15 and 6.30 am would be typical for me and 5.00 am if I really want to get some work finished.

Linda: I wake up at roughly 7.00 am each day.

2. Describe for us your morning routine

Anna: I have a young child and a kitten so it can be hard to have a routine as my morning often depends on their needs.

My ideal way to start the day is to go for a 45 minute walk or jog to the beach. I find it clears my mind and helps me set my intention for the day. I also enjoy a good sweat to get my circulation going.

If I’m not exercising in the morning, I’m spending time with my daughter, doing some work or household chores done (ie putting on the washing or preparing meals). I find the morning is a great time for me to focus because my mind is much more sharp and I have great energy.

If I don’t get outdoors for my walk first thing, it can impact my energy levels, so I always try and fit in at least 30 minutes of exercise at some point in the day.

Linda:  My cat wakes me by tapping at my face for cuddles. I start the day by feeding her and sitting out on the sunny deck with a herbal tea.

I then meditate 30-60 minutes, go for a swim or a walk. Lucky for me, I start my work day later than most so I can fit a relaxed morning routine in before work.

3. What do you like to have for breakfast to set you up for the day?

Anna: I like to eat real food combinations, not anything already prepared or blended. Generally I have worked up a bit of an appetite after my walk so I like to have a combination plate of scrambled eggs with fresh tomato, bocconcini, avocado or smoked trout with fresh baby spinach or rocket. If I'm less hungry I might have fresh papaya with muesli and plain yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon. I really love a morning cup of herbal tea. I don't drink any coffee, black or green tea as I have a bad reaction to caffeine.

Linda: I have a “fizzy stick” Arbonne brand supplement and caffeine replacement with a smoothie (either veggie or berry). Some days my partner cooks us a delicious breakfast of eggs, tomato, mushrooms & avocado for breakfast.

While Anna and Linda’s morning routines differ it is apparent that neither of them rush through their morning. Morning routines set the tone for the rest of the day. A healthy breakfast, some kind of physical activity, taking even 10 minutes to breathe or meditate, and other positive self-care habits are the foundations of a productive day and healthy mind.

How did you start your day?