The Rise Ritual - How Morning Routines Optimise Your Day
Nourishing habits for your mind and body just hit differently in the morning. Why? It’s like opening up your laptop and there’s only one tab. It’s the ctrl, alt, delete effect. You have a fresh start each morning and so, the actions that you do first set you up for the rest of the day.
A morning where you roll over, pick up your phone, scroll or check your emails and then rush to get ready for work, leaving the house in a tailwind of chaos (we’ve all done it) gives you a completely different mindset to those days where you feel like you have purposefully chosen activities that fill your cup. It’s not just in your mind, it's physiological. Your actions create your mood.
The simple act of following the same habitual and familiar steps each morning sends a crucial message to your whole body; ‘I am safe’. Carving out even 20 minutes of your morning puts you in the driving seat and gives you a sense of control, even when your to-do list for the day is looking out of control.
A state of mind
Science tells us that for the first 20 minutes when we wake, our brain is in the ‘Alpha’ wave stage. This is a window of time in which your subconscious mind is the most impressionable, making it an extremely impactful moment in your day. How you fill these 20 minutes - what you expose yourself to or what actions you take - will set the tone for the rest of your day.
Whilst cortisol, our ‘stress hormone’, often gets a bad rep, you need a healthy cortisol rhythm to keep your natural sleep-wake cycle in check. When balanced, your cortisol levels should be highest in the morning to help you wake up, then to naturally fall over the course of the day and into night. This is all part of the hormone's circadian rhythm, a roughly 24-hour cycle.
Riding that cortisol high can be a great motivation to your day, unless you’re already pretty stressed or anxious. The cortisol awakening response (CAR) is a boost in cortisol levels peaking 30–45 minutes after awakening in the morning. Depending on your baseline, some people find calming activities in this window of time supportive, whilst others love to move their body and increase the effect.
Design your Rise Ritual
Choosing what to do in your own morning routine is highly personal, however try to pick a few rituals which cover some key bases; mindfulness, movement, nourishment, light.
This is your shot of calm, optimising those alpha waves during those first 20 minutes. This can include breathing, meditation, affirmations, gratitude practice or journaling. Choose something that will send your thoughts in a positive, grounding direction. You can also choose to ‘feed your mind’. Do something you love; listen to music, read a great book, learn something new for 10 minutes - become inspired.
Movement + Challenge:
Get your body moving. Whether it's a quick stretch to breathe some life and hydration into your fascia, an online yoga practice, a kitchen disco or a longer workout to prime your body (and tick that one off for the day), regular movement and exercise has been shown to improve mood, reduce depression and anxiety and help you live a longer, healthier life.
Stepping into the cold is another ritual everyone from Mirander Kerr to Fearne Cotton are adding to their morning routines. With benefits from improved immunity and circulation, stress resilience and enhanced mood, challenging your body in this way can also give you a much needed morning boost.
Whether you choose to fast or not, how your ‘break-your-fast’ is important. Adding nourishment into your morning routine provides your body with the key nutrients it needs to work optimally.
Another key part of the nourishment pillar in the morning should be hydration. Your body will be slightly dehydrated when you wake, so to enliven everything from your skin, mind and digestion, you want to be taking on water. However, proper hydration on a cellular level also requires electrolytes - adding in some True Hydration to a glass of fresh water is a simple and easy ritual with huge effects.
Our favourite way to add more nourishment and nutrients into your body is creating simple rituals with your first hot drink of the day too. Whether you opt for a strong coffee or a Matcha with Lions Mane mushroom (the perfect morning drink IMO), adding in little extras such as collagen peptides and MCT oil gives you a moment of mindfulness, some kitchen alchemy, followed by a nutritional powerhouse of a drink to kick start your system.
Viewing morning sunlight also increases morning cortisol levels, with some reports claiming up to a 50% rise. This increases your alertness (makes you feel less ‘what is life’ and more ‘let’s do this’) and also supports immune function. Getting daylight, even on overcast days, also “sets” a timer for you to fall asleep ~14-16 hours later. An easy way to do this is to drink your morning collagen cuppa by your window.
Whilst there may be days that your morning routine can be long and luxurious, many days it will need to fit practically into your life in order for you to continue doing it. Like anything else in a healthy life, consistency is key, so make it as simple as possible. The more you practise and adjust your morning routine, the more automatic and easy it will become.
Every day is different and we are cyclical beings, therefore it can be helpful to view your morning routine as ‘daily-ish’ habits. These are habits and rituals that you try to do daily, whenever possible, but you also have compassion for yourself if you don’t get it perfect every time. Have some smaller rituals within your routine that set a foundation. These are things you can complete even on the busiest of days eg.;
- Drinking a glass of electrolyte rich water as soon as you wake up
- A quick stretch as you get out of bed
- A positive affirmation
- A no-phones boundary for the first 30mins of the day
Other days you can create morning rituals based on what works best for you. If you can take 30 minutes to complete your whole routine, you can split this easily into 3 ten minute rituals of your choice.
Morning rituals are a powerful tool that can change your life by putting you in an empowering, thrive state that carries through your day.