Trigger warning: this piece discusses themes of anxiety and depression.
One of the most valuable things that has helped me move from struggling with depression and anxiety to improving my well-being has been having a morning routine that I enjoy. To begin with, I didn't feel much joy, I kept to a routine, kept up exercising, meditating, dancing, and gradually my feelings lifted and my mood improved. I soon realised that if I have a routine that energises me in the morning. I will feel good and strong enough to tackle any tasks that come my way during the day.
My own routine involves setting an alarm at the same time daily. For me, it’s 6:20am and getting up and out of bed right away (this can make a big difference) even if you just pretend to be excited for the day and jump up, affirm today is a great day! I throw my hands in the air (haha this sounds funny writing it down, it works for me though)! I then listen to feel-good music and dance. It feels awesome to start the day with uplifting music. Even on days when I’m not feeling so good, I dance anyway and I do feel a lot better. I listen to a guided visualisation meditation - sound healing frequencies are amazing and healing too!
I pray, thank God for all the wonderful blessings in my life, read through uplifting affirmations, and say affirmations while looking in the mirror. I then do some yoga for 15 or 20 min approx and usually a morning jog for 20 mins or more, even for 10-15 mins can help lift my mood for the day. Otherwise, a gym class and strength training a couple of times a week is amazing for the body, mind, and self-confidence too.
Another important routine is giving thanks for all the wonderful blessings in my life. I do this as I get ready for the day and also write a list daily of what I’m grateful for. The Magic by Rhonda Bryne is an awesome book which can help with cultivating a gratitude practice, which I have found helps with creating a positive mindset. Giving thanks in advance for an awesome day ahead helps too. God/the universe loves gratitude and loves to bless us.
After moving my body, I have a warm shower for a few minutes and then a cold shower for at least a few minutes. Cold showers are incredible, they are great for my mind, energising and I feel more focused and uplifted. After a cold shower, I get dressed and get ready for the day, wearing clothes I love and feel good in.
Loving and appreciating my body has taken time. I have learnt ways of showing respect and love towards my body by fueling my body with foods that make me feel good. I feel more myself, focused and my mood is more steady rather than having highs and lows.
Taking hot baths to relax is a beautiful way to show self-appreciation and care, Epsom salts are amazing and lighting candles to create a relaxing atmosphere is great too! I also like to plan the evening before my day ahead. I’ll make a list of any tasks for the next day I’d like to accomplish and add these to my calendar, so they're scheduled for a particular time. Achieving tasks, even if it is something that seems small, can help to build self-esteem and confidence, and give a sense of achievement. Positive self-talk is also really important, being my own best friend and being kind and gentle with myself although also challenging myself because I want to grow and learn.
Being encouraging and kind to ourselves is so important. Don’t wait for a friend to encourage you, you can be your own biggest encourager and cheerleader. If you get into the habit of doing that, it will help you to feel good knowing that you have the power to actually encourage yourself if you're feeling down. If you are struggling, do ask for help though, you don’t have to do life alone. Connect, reach out, trust, and share how you’re feeling with someone you trust. Talking about how you’re feeling will help you to feel so much better and will be so freeing and empowering in expressing yourself. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small, congratulate yourself, cheer yourself on and appreciate yourself. If you have a challenging task ahead, plan to do something loving and kind for yourself afterwards, e.g. treat yourself to a hot bath, make a delicious meal, take a walk in nature, or anything you enjoy doing that shows appreciation, love and kindness to yourself.
I feel like creating a morning routine, including practices or tasks you enjoy that help you feel energised, is really valuable and powerful. Having a morning routine you love is a way of caring about yourself and filling your cup so that you can give to others.
Even if you don't notice any difference, keep going with your morning routine, try different things to see what works for you and adjust it. Having routine and structure can help with improving your mood, and give you activities to look forward to. If you’re more of a spontaneous person, having a few activities you like and choosing in the moment which might suit you each morning in the moment might work better.
Keep active, connect, and ask for help if you are struggling. You are not alone and people do care. We are all different and what works for one person may not work for someone else, so try different things and find what works for you. Whatever healthy habits help to lift your mood, try adding them into your daily morning routine, they could really help you to feel better, build resilience, emotional strength, and enjoy life! You deserve to feel joy, peace, and happiness! You are amazing and so so SO very worthy of a beautiful life! You are more powerful than you know, you are loved, you are incredible! God Bless
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