Healthy Morning Routines for 2024

8 Min Read | By Nat Took

Last Modified 29 December 2023   First Added 4 January 2022

This article was written and reviewed in line with our editorial policy.

It’s that time of year when many of us vow to change our lives and finally get fit and healthy.

For all too many of us, however, the good intentions that dominate our thinking at the start of a year only burn bright for a matter of weeks until we fall back into our old ways. This is because it’s our habits, and not our motivation (which can be fickle), that will actually change our behaviour for the long-term.

With this in mind, here’s an information-packed guide into how you can turn your good intentions into permanent lifestyle changes – simply by following the same morning routine to set off your day, each and every day.

good morning written on chalkboard

The benefits of a healthy morning routine

There are lots of little changes you can make to kickstart your routine in the morning. The benefits that can be achieved are dramatic and can:

1. Give you control

Starting the day in the way you want to, allows you to feel in control. If you wake up and feel overwhelmed, a morning routine can allow you to sit back and take stock of the day ahead. In time, if you stick to a healthy morning routine, this will allow you to feel in control every day, reducing that overwhelming feeling that can paralyse you.

2. Prepare you for the day ahead

If you start your morning feeling rushed, that feeling will follow you around all day, similarly, if you start your day feeling sluggish, it can be hard to build up your energy.

Having a morning routine allows you to get your ducks in order and puts you in the right frame of mind for the day.

3. Increase your productivity

You’re also more likely to be productive throughout the day. You won’t feel rushed or overwhelmed, so you can give every task the attention it needs. Then at the end of the day, you know you’ve done all that you can in a day, so you can relax easily.

4. Reduce stress

If you feel overwhelmed this can cause you to become stressed. Having a morning routine allows you to feel in control and can reduce this stress. If you stick to the routine this will keep your stress levels down.

As stress can negatively affect your physical and emotional health, reducing it can have a positive effect in the long run.

5. Boost energy

Finally, if you’re not letting yourself laze around in the morning, you’re much less likely to laze around during the day. You can ensure you have more energy in the morning by including an activity, such as a workout to boost your energy.

How to get into healthy morning habits

‘Habits make change possible by freeing us from decision-making and from using self-control, because they become a natural part of your lifestyle,’ according to Gretchen Rubin, author of Better Than Before: Mastering The Habits Of Our Everyday Lives.

You don’t have to make big changes to have a healthy morning routine, just as long as what you do you can do every day.

Here are 10 morning routine ideas that you can turn into long-term habits:

alarm clock on top of books

1. Set an alarm and don't snooze

Having consistency in your routine is vital, so that means keeping both your bedtime and waking time the same. So, invest in a good alarm clock to make sure you are up at the same time each day. This will also help to reset your body clock, which will make it easier to get up the longer you do this. In turn, this can help with the quality of your sleep, and so help your health overall.

Make sure your times allow you to get enough sleep (adults need 6 to 9 hours of sleep a night). Also, make sure you are getting up with enough time to complete your morning routine and not rush through it, or your routine will be counterproductive. To do this, work back from your first engagement and figure out how early you need to wake up to fit everything in.

Another important point here is to not press snooze when your alarm goes off. This is essentially a “false start” which puts you on the wrong footing for the day.

If you find it hard not to press snooze, position your alarm clock on the other side of the room, so you have to physically get out of bed to turn it off.

2. Avoid your phone

If you find yourself reaching for your phone first thing in the morning and scrolling social media, simply kicking this habit makes for a healthier morning routine.

The passive activity of scrolling can reduce your productivity. Not only that, but your phone (and especially social media) has the potential to stress you out. Notifications demand our attention and can add to that feeling of being overwhelmed.

So instead, don’t use your phone as an alarm and keep it outside of the bedroom. Go and get it only when you need it and once you have finished your morning routine.

woman splashing face with water over sink

3. Wash your face

Skincare can be an important self-care tool, so including it in your morning routine can have a positive effect on your mental health. This doesn’t have to be complicated, and simply washing your face in the morning can have this positive effect.

Splashing your face with cool water can also refresh tired eyes and help to wake you up if you feel groggy in the morning.

4. Make the bed

It may seem like a chore, but simply making your bed can really prepare you to start the day. Achieving a task as soon as you get up will give you a positive feeling that you will take with you for the rest of the day. Starting it off with this little task is great for your motivation.

5. Drink some water

We all know the importance of staying hydrated, so beginning the day with some water rather than tea or coffee can help you start your day healthily. You don’t drink when you sleep, so starting out replenishing your water can only be good for you.

If you find it hard to remember, pop a glass of water next to the bed, ready for when you wake. This also means you won’t accidentally go for hours without a drop of water.

blueberries and banana french toast

6. Have a nutritional breakfast

Many people don’t leave the time for a good breakfast in the morning, a bad habit to get into. Get up that little bit earlier to ensure you have the time for some food.

Having a nutritious breakfast gives your body some fuel for the rest of the day. Ensure you have protein and fibre to satisfy your hunger and set you up for the day. Try to include whole, unprocessed foods like grains, fruit and vegetables.

woman stretching whilst sat down

7. Stretch

Stretching is an easy way to get the blood flowing. Stretching will also help to relieve any muscle tightness and leave you feeling more alert and ready for the day ahead.

You don’t need to complete a full yoga routine to benefit from this, just some gentle stretches can help you to wake up. Make sure you stretch your entire body to feel the full benefits.

You could go one step further and have a full morning exercise routine to really get the blood flowing. Exercise in the morning has also been linked to improved memory, attention span and decision making.

8. Make a to-do list

Making a to-do list as part of your morning routine can really help. Jot down essential tasks, and tick off each task as you complete it. This will give you a sense of achievement as you work through your list.

Another benefit of this is it allows you to prioritise your tasks. You can see which tasks have to be done that day, and which can be left, planning your day around what you need to complete. This makes your workload more manageable and keeps the feeling of being overwhelmed at bay.

Having this list is also a great way to remind yourself of your tasks throughout the day, so nothing slips your mind, and you stay in control.

close up of meditating with candles in foreground

9. Meditate

Meditation can have benefits at any time of the day but starting off with this practice can allow you to clear your mind and set clear intentions. Meditating can also reduce stress, so if you find you often wake up worrying about the day ahead, starting your morning with ten minutes of meditation to help to reduce this.

woman reading a book

10. Do something you enjoy

Days can be so busy, with work, kids and other commitments, it can be hard to find time for yourself. So, fitting something you enjoy into your morning routine can have a positive impact on your day. This can also help you to get up in the morning as you have something to anticipate first thing.

This could be morning yoga, or a hobby, reading or even playing a computer game. It doesn’t have to be something productive or preparing you for the day, just find something that you find fun.

Creating your healthy morning routine

The most important part of a morning routine is having enough time in the morning to do all that you need to do. So, if you only pick one of the above suggestions, be sure you get up with your alarm and don’t snooze.

You can start with just that and build upon it or try several at once. It’s important to find what works for you when it comes to a healthy morning routine, so it may be a bit of trial and error. But once you find that routine, stick to it to reap the benefits.

If you’re not sure what your morning routine should include, check out our morning routine cheat sheet and our guide to entrepreneurs’ morning routines.

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