There are many benefits of creating and maintaining a mindful morning routine. For many of us, in our ‘always on’ society, this can bring with it higher levels of stress so it’s important to take these extra minutes of the day for self-care.
And for those with anxiety and depression, early rituals can help with mental wellbeing throughout the day. By having something to look forward to – whether it be a short meditation, a calming herbal tea or your favourite song – morning routines encourage presence and grounded living.
According to a new study[i], the current climate has triggered a rise in health anxiety and global uncertainty continues to significantly impact our mental health. One of the biggest challenges has been the change to your routines – both during lockdown and again now restrictions are easing.
Jo Webber, Ayurvedic Practitioner and Head of Herbal Education at Pukka Herbs says: ‘Our lives have seen a huge shift in recent months. Whatever your situation, disruption to our day-to-day routines can cause a lack of motivation. Previously our normal routines provided a rhythm to our daily lives.
‘Focusing on establishing a new routine in our changed circumstances can help to keep up balanced and can also be beneficial for both our body and mind. In Ayurveda – the ancient Indian system of healing – we are encouraged to live in sync with the world around us. In practice this means following what is known as Dinacharya – a daily routine that is structured around the rhythm of the Earth.’
Here, Jo shares her favourite steps to include in a mindful routine:
Create a daily schedule
Start by writing a plan for your day with the things you can still do at home. If you’re in work, perhaps you could check-in with your to-do list and prioritise your workload for regained focus. Try to build a variety into your day to keep yourself energised. Having a rhythm to centre your day around brings much needed support for the mind and body.
Focus on the present
None of us know what’s around the corner but keeping mindful and focusing on the present moment can help us to avoid fearing the future or reliving past stresses. While Ayurveda encompasses all aspects of life, it all boils down to listening to what’s going on with your body. Take time in your day to tune in and slow down your thought processes and activities rather than jumping from one reactive task to another. Try to focus on the present and the things you can control. This combined with a structured daily routine, will help to maintain your wellbeing.
For those who have been furloughed or are struggling to stay motivated while working from home, setting achievable goals can really help. Perhaps there’s a course you always wanted to finish or there’s an email that’s been sat in your inbox for a while? No matter how big or small your goal is it can help to offer a sense of control and add purpose to your day.
Avoid falling into bad habits
It’s easy to find yourself settling down for a day in your dressing gown, with no real motivation to get dressed or even shower, but our physical self has a big impact on how we feel. At times like these it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns that end up making you feel worse. Try to eat healthy, drink enough water and exercise regularly. Don’t be too strict on yourself either a weekly yoga practice or run can be enough to get those endorphins flowing.
Keep to the same sleep schedule
It’s all too tempting to go to bed later and wake up later now that, for many of us, we’re still not travelling very much but try not to give into too many late nights. Your circadian rhythm works best when you have regular sleep habits. Waking up around the same time each day, even if you’ve had a later night than planned can be helpful. At the end of the day, give yourself time to rest. Minimise the time spent on your screen, enjoy a relaxing tea such as Pukka’s Three Chamomile and reduce stimulants including alcohol, coffee and even chocolate. I promise you’ll feel better for it the next day.
[i]Telegraph article - Rise in cases of health anxiety triggered by coronavirus, study finds