By Christa Harness, LBSW
For some, it is easy to get up in the morning and for others … well, that snooze button gets pushed a few more times. Whichever person you are, a good morning routine can set you up for a less stressed day. It doesn’t matter what time you get up, what matters is having a routine for the first hour you are awake. There are multiple benefits of establishing a morning routine. It helps avoid decision fatigue, increases energy and generates momentum for your brain.
Decision fatigue is described as feeling exhausted from making too many decisions or choices. Establishing a morning routine allows you to not think too much about what needs to happen before your workday, thereby freeing up brain power to focus on other daily tasks and responsibilities.
When we incorporate certain items into our morning routine, such as light stretching or short yoga movements, we increase blood flow to the body and the brain. When you arrive to work, park in the furthest parking spot so you can incorporate some exercise. Along with a healthy snack and lots of water, these things give your body the energy it needs to start your day with success and your mind the momentum to be at peak performance for cognitive work, which is late morning.
Of course, our mornings are not just for us, so take into consideration what works for your family to make the morning routine more streamlined and less stressful. Enlist the help of the kids in making their lunches the night before, have everyone pick out their clothes for the next day and put the things everyone needs to take with them the next day by the door. A morning routine helps ensure the whole family has the energy needed for a successful day. Remember, our emotional state and body language help our children regulate emotions and feel safe. By controlling our own emotions, we help our children remain calm and have the brain power to be successful at school.
We all know mornings can be difficult. Give yourself and your family grace and implement routine changes gradually. Add one change each week or whatever works for you. Don’t expect your mornings to be sunshine and rainbows every day. Realistically, someone (even you) is not going to be cooperative or in a good mood. On those mornings, take a deep breath and say aloud, “This is not failure. There is always tomorrow.”