15 Minute Morning Routine to Start Your Day Off Right

The purpose of a morning routine is to set a positive tone for the day and promote overall well-being.

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15 Minute Morning Routine to Start Your Day Off Right

Are you a rise-and-shine type of person or a hit-snooze-for-the-10th-time type of person? If you answered with the latter, then most mornings probably involve you dragging yourself out of bed, eyes sealed shut while you shower, and contemplating the meaning of life as you stare into the abyss of your coffee mug. We get it. Mornings can be tough and mastering the art of an efficient morning routine can feel impossible.

However, the way you commence your mornings can profoundly influence your daily productivity, increase your energy, boost your mood, and positively affect cognition.(1) So, what is a morning routine and how does it work? A morning routine is a set of activities or tasks that an individual regularly engages in upon waking up in the morning. It's a structured way to start the day and can vary widely from person to person based on personal preferences, lifestyle, and goals. The purpose of a morning routine is to set a positive tone for the day and promote overall well-being.

This 15-minute morning routine will kick-start your day and have you conquering the world. Well, at least conquering the world of your living room. Baby steps, right?

 

Early Rise

Start your morning routine by waking up 15 minutes earlier than usual. This extra time allows for a calm and unrushed start to your day, setting a positive tone for the hours ahead.

 

Intentional Bed Olympics (3 minutes)

Start your day with a gold medal-worthy stretch. You can even do this in bed! Pretend you're a cat, a gymnast, or an interpretative dancer – whatever floats your boat. The point is that you start by gently moving your body. Targeted stretches can “alleviate any stiffness from sleep and promote flexibility, aiding in improved posture and preventing long-term musculoskeletal issues.”(2) You can even incorporate a brief session of mindful breathing exercises to oxygenate your brain and enhance focus while stretching. Some possible in-bed stretches may include child’s pose, cat-cow, knee to chest stretch, lying spinal twist, or happy baby stretch.

 

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

 

Cat/Cow (Marjaryasana/Bitilasana)

 

Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)

 

Toothbrush Tango and Hydrate Like a Cactus (2 minute)

Brushing your teeth is obviously a non-negotiable and one that is (hopefully) already built into your routine. Hello, minty-fresh breath! After your teeth are sparkling, chug a glass of water. Your body has been in sleep mode for hours, and it's thirsty. Think of it as giving your internal organs a refreshing morning shower. Splash, splash! In fact, this small act can lead to other health-promoting behaviors.(3) BONUS: Push open the blinds and let the light shine on that beautiful face while you brush! Impaired sleep and disrupted circadian rhythm has been linked to various health problems including anxiety, depression, cognitive impairment, and metabolic disorders.(4) Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can help your internal clock. Exposing yourself to sunlight first thing has been found to improve sleep patterns, boost vitamin D, strengthen the immune system, reduce stress, and support mental health.(5)

 

Mindful Consumption of Morning Beverages & Breakfast (5 minutes)

Whether it's coffee, tea, or a protein shake, use this time to mindfully savor your morning beverage. This brief pause allows you to appreciate the sensory experience and mentally prepare for the work ahead. Follow this with a nutritious breakfast, ensuring your body receives essential nutrients for sustained energy throughout the day. Even if it is a quick breakfast, slow yourself down enough to taste the food, feel the texture in your mouth, and appreciate your sense of taste and smell. Mindfulness can be built into any activity, but studies have found that mindful eating can lead to “greater psychological wellbeing, increased pleasure, and body satisfaction”.(6)

 

Mindset Reset (2 minute)

Cultivate a positive mindset by briefly reflecting on personal or professional achievements. This moment of gratitude and self-reflection can fortify your mental resilience, contributing to a more successful and focused workday. Take a moment to be present. Breathe in, breathe out. Think about the day ahead and set your intentions. BONUS: Add a Mirror Pep Talk to the mix. Look yourself in the mirror and deliver a motivational speech. "Today, I will be kind to myself. I am capable of handling whatever comes at me. Today is going to be a good day!"

 

Focused Visualization (2 minute)

Immediately following your Mindset Reset move into a focused visualization of your day. Envision yourself tackling challenges with ease and accomplishing your goals. This mental exercise reinforces a positive outlook and primes your mind for peak performance. In fact, visualization has been shown to increase optimism and other positive emotions.(7) Studies have also found that it can help reduce anxiety and regulate negative emotions.(8) Did you know that the SunnyFit® app offers guided meditations and visualization exercises? If you’re looking for an easy way to get started with visualizations, pop over to the app and check out our various topics.

 

Expressive Writing (1 minute)

Capture your morning thoughts in a journal. Whether it's gratitude, goals, or just a poetic reflection on the abyss of your coffee mug, let the pen be your morning confidant. It's a therapeutic exercise that sets a positive tone for the day. Various studies have shown the positive psychological and emotional effects of journaling. One study found that journaling can help mitigate mental distress, increase well-being, and even influence interpersonal interactions.(9)

No matter how you decide to structure your morning routine, researchers have discovered that ditching digital devices first thing in the morning can be beneficial. Resist the urge to dive headfirst into empty void of emails and social media. Your mind deserves a moment of peace before the digital deluge. In an interview for the Harvard Business Review, Psychologist Ron Friedman explains that many people start their day by checking email, responding to texts, and answering the needs of others.(10) This can not only be a cognitive suck, placing you in a reactive mindset, but often shoots your cortisol through the roof, so you’re in fight-or-flight before work has officially started.(11)

The best part about a morning routine is that it can be specifically tailored to align with your personal goals and preferences. The key is to create a routine that sets a positive tone for the day, helps you feel focused and prepared, and is simple, so that you don’t abandon the routine after a few days.

 

1. Greenstein, L. (2017, August 9). The Power of a Morning Routine. National Alliance on Mental Illness. https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/August-2017/The-Power-of-a-Morning-Routine. Accessed 2 January 2024.
2. Kleine, H. and Rufer, K. (2022, June 30). Benefits of Stretching. South Dekota State Univeristy Extension.
https://extension.sdstate.edu/benefits-stretching#:~:text=Stretching%20first%20thing%20in%20the%20morning%20can%20relieve%20any%20tension,waking%20up%20with%20more%20pain. Accessed 2 January 2024.
3. Walsh, K. (2022, July 20). Should You Be Drinking a Glass of Water When You Wake Up? Here's What Health Experts Say. EatingWell.
https://www.eatingwell.com/article/7988280/should-you-be-drinking-water-first-thing-in-the-morning/#:~:text=%22Drinking%20water%20regularly%2C%20beginning%20in,the%20day%20progresses%22%20Cardel%20says. Accessed 2 January 2024.
4. Gregory D. M. Potter, Debra J. Skene, Josephine Arendt, Janet E. Cade, Peter J. Grant, Laura J. Hardie, Circadian Rhythm and Sleep Disruption: Causes, Metabolic Consequences, and Countermeasures, Endocrine Reviews, Volume 37, Issue 6, 1 December 2016, Pages 584–608, https://doi.org/10.1210/er.2016-1083. Accessed 2 January 2024.
5. Ridenour, E. (2023, November 14). 5 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Morning Sunlight for Sleep-Wake Cycle. Amerisleep.
https://amerisleep.com/blog/benefits-of-morning-sunlight-for-sleep/#:~:text=In%20addition%20to%20improving%20sleep,hormone%20production%20and%20sleep%20cycles. Accessed 2 January 2024.
6. Harvard T. H. Chan. (2020, September). Mindful Eating. Harvard T. H. Chan.
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/mindful-eating/#:~:text=Research%20has%20shown%20that%20mindful,when%20eating%2C%20and%20body%20satisfaction. Accessed 2 January 2024.
7. Murphy, S. E., O’Donoghue, M. C., Drazich, E. H., Blackwell, S. E., Nobre, A. C., & Holmes, E. A. (2015). Imagining a brighter future: the effect of positive imagery training on mood, prospective mental imagery and emotional bias in older adults. Psychiatry Research, 230(1), 36-43. Accessed 2 January 2024.
8. Blackwell, S. E. (2019). Mental imagery: From basic research to clinical practice. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 29(3), 235. Accessed 2 January 2024.
9. Smyth, J. M., Johnson, J. A., Auer, B. J., Lehman, E., Talamo, G., & Sciamanna, C. N. (2018). Online Positive Affect Journaling in the Improvement of Mental Distress and Well-Being in General Medical Patients With Elevated Anxiety Symptoms: A Preliminary Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR mental health, 5(4), e11290. https://doi.org/10.2196/11290. Accessed 2 January 2024.
10. Green, S. (Host). Your Brain’s Ideal Schedule. (Audio podcast). HBR IdeaCast. https://hbr.org/podcast/2015/03/your-brains-ideal-schedule.html. Accessed 2 January 2024.
11. Nakshine, V. S., Thute, P., Khatib, M. N., & Sarkar, B. (2022). Increased Screen Time as a Cause of Declining Physical, Psychological Health, and Sleep Patterns: A Literary Review. Cureus, 14(10), e30051. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.30051. Accessed 2 January 2024.

 

15 Minute Morning Routine to Start Your Day Off Right Infographic

15 Minute Morning Routine to Start Your Day Off Right Infographic

 

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