After hitting the snooze button one too many times, the morning descends into a frantic rush, with family members shouting at each other while looking for misplaced items; shovelling down breakfast or begging children to tear themselves away from the TV or tablet to finish eating and get ready.
If this chaotic scene sounds like the average morning in your house, it’s time to consider adopting some healthy morning habits to get the day started right.
“More and more, research is showing how important a healthy morning routine is to get the mind in the right space for a more productive, rewarding day,” commented Candice Sessions, Laager Rooibos Marketing Manager. “The way your morning starts sets the tone for the day and shapes the mindset that you take into the rest of the day”.
“In days gone by, sitting around the table with the family, enjoying a morning cup of tea and a healthy breakfast was a common tradition, ensuring connection as a family and a positive start to the day. But in many cases, this has been replaced by disconnection as a result of busy lifestyles and technology, leading to overstimulated young minds, anxiety for adults, and feelings of disconnection.”
goals during the day. But when a routine is disrupted, what was previously automated requires conscious thought.” –
London School of Economics
Somewhat ironically, the best way to get into a good morning routine is to get started before the morning even arrives! Take whatever steps you can the night before to make the start of the day as smooth as possible. Pack your bag and set out your clothes for work. For those with school-going children, packing school lunches ahead of time and ensuring homework and sports kit are ready for the next day will ease a lot of unnecessary stress.
Tip 2: Wake up at the same time daily
Human bodies follow a circadian rhythm, which is the physical, mental, and behavioural changes over a 24-hour day. This rhythm relies on consistency for optimum mental and physical function. What this means is that humans should be waking up at the same time every day – and ideally going to bed at the same time. For a good start to the day, it’s important to get into a routine of waking at the same time, and not hitting that ‘snooze’ button! Sleep expert, Dr Neil Stanley, explains that the alarm clock triggers a ‘fight or flight response’. Pressing the ‘snooze’ button repeats this process, which is not a good way to start the day. Getting into the habit of a regular wake-up time will reduce the need for alarms and create a more positive mind space.
Tip 3: Move the body
One of the first things everyone does upon waking is stretch. The reason for this is that the body has been (mostly) sedentary for around eight hours and now craves some movement. This is a good time to get the body and mind active with a bit of exercise. This doesn’t have to be a run or gym session, but just a few minutes dedicated to yoga, Pilates, or a walk around the garden.
Tip 4: Skip out the coffee for a cup of tea
Too often, people wake up and reach for the caffeine as an extra kickstart to the day. However, research conducted by Stephen Miller, a PhD candidate at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, indicated that cortisol levels peak between 8am and 9am, with coffee consumption actually blunting the natural effects of this. Cortisol is a hormone which makes people feel alert and awake, so rather replace the coffee with a cup of Laager Rooibos tea. This caffeine-free beverage comes with health benefits like lowering the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, while boosting antioxidants, and is ideal for the whole family to drink.
Tip 5: Enjoy a healthy breakfast
Breakfast is called the ‘most important meal of the day’ for a reason. After eight hours of ‘fasting’, the body needs to refuel as a way to support the physical and mental requirements ahead. According to the University of Washington, eating breakfast has been associated with improved academic performance in children, and a decreased risk of obesity. Avoid sugar-laden snacks and cereals, and opt for a more nutritious breakfast that includes unprocessed foods from each of the five food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy.
Tip 6: Connect while disconnecting
Too often, the morning involves checking the cellphone first thing, followed by the TV blaring with bad news, and children lost in their tablets or cartoons. This is not a good way to start the day! A French study has found that screens before school can negatively impact a child’s language ability – and it’s not better for adults either. An NPJ Mental Health Research piece indicates that “…the ubiquitous availability of digital devices and the high levels of engagement and social expectation to always be available may impact both physical and mental health”. Ditch the devices, and rather spend some time together as a family enjoying that morning cup of tea and breakfast around the table. Starting the day with family bonding time will help the whole family start the day in a positive headspace.