How to Create an Essential Morning Routine to Combat Depression
Routines, some people love them and some people hate them. When you are suffering with any kind of mood problem, routines are critical! Let me explain...your adrenal glands which regulate your body's response to stress love a regular set schedule. Regular bed times, meal times and wake up times make our adrenal glands feel relaxed.
1. Get out of bed!
When it's time to get up, get out of your bed. Don't grab your phone and start scrolling. I know this may be tempting, but don't do it. Many people like to grab their phone's to check their work emails first thing in the morning but this is a bad habit as it puts your mind in a reactive state right off the hop.
Most people go straight for the coffee pot. Drink some water first. Your body has gone all night without any water so you'll need to rehydrate. This helps energize the body, boosts your metabolism and can help prevent sickness.
When we are depressed, we don't have the luxury of motivation so keep your goals small and attainable. Exercise in the morning can significantly improve emotional well-being. Ideally, taking the dog for a walk around the block or a 15-20 minute yoga routine on YouTube is fantastic. If you're really feeling unmotivated, some light stretching is a great place to start! Remember, something is better than nothing.
The next thing you want to do is wake up your mind! If you are into meditation, now would be the perfect time. If you haven't tried mediation but are interested, try a guided mediation.
You can also try journaling. In the morning, I do something called 'Morning Pages' where I will free write for 3 whole pages. Journaling allows you to document your realizations, insights and successes!
If those don't seem like they are for you, try reading a few pages to a chapter (depending on your time frame) of a personal development or self-help book. Read something that inspires you to enhance a particular area of your life!
5. Eat a Healthy Breakfast.
Skipping breakfast can increase your risk of depression by as much as 43%. Researchers have found that hunger releases adrenalin and causes a stress response in your body. If you're depressed, you may not have an appetite. Try to think of food as energy for your brain. Breakfast food are a good source of calcium, fibre, protein and b vitamins which can be important for your emotional health.
How do you help your mental health in the morning? I'd love to hear what works for you!
Author: Amanda Riley, M.A., OACCPP, Registered Psychotherapist