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6 Ways to Shake Up Your Morning Routine

Keeping your mornings consistent is a great way to boost productivity and reduce stress, but if your morning routine has left you feeling drab or unfulfilled lately, it may be time to shake things up.

You don’t have to ditch your routine altogether, but breaking from the usual every now and then isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Here are some morning routine ideas to add a little zest to your life.

When Your Routine Becomes Boring

Your morning sets the tone for the whole day. It’s true, mornings are a great time to plan the day and start working toward your professional goals, but don’t neglect yourself in the pursuit of your professional goals. You’re far less likely to stick with a routine that’s ultra-rigid.

Even if you’re the type of person who loves consistency and thrives in an unchanging environment, doing the same things every single morning can get boring. And apparently, this is totally normal.

Psychologists call our tendency to get used to things hedonic adaptation. This behavioral phenomenon is likened to a treadmill—as soon as we get comfortable with something enjoyable, we begin looking for ways to make it better. Eventually we become bored with, or even dissatisfied by, our once-exciting experiences.

Researchers have also found that variety is the secret weapon to easing any despair that comes with boredom. If you feel stuck in a morning routine rut, then it’s perfectly healthy to take a break from it and try something new.

Whether it’s big or small, do something that makes you feel good, and you may experience more lasting happiness.

Here are some ideas for adding more variety to your morning routine.

Spend Time in the Sun

Few things boost mood like time in the sun, and there’s a scientific explanation for it. Sunlight boosts serotonin and endorphin activity in the brain, which both help to stabilize mood and promote feelings of well-being.

Take advantage of sunny mornings. Drive to a beach or a quiet, scenic place and soak up some sun. Double up on happy hormones by working out in the sun—a leisurely hike or bike ride is enough to amplify endorphin activity. If you’d rather stay at home, enjoy a nutrient-dense snack or a cup of tea on the deck or in the garden.

Spend some time with your eyes closed and your face toward the sun and disconnect from everything for a bit. But don’t forget the SPF.

Find a Creative Outlet

If you’re bored with your routine, now is a perfect time to challenge yourself by trying something new. You don’t have to rank with Picasso to enjoy painting or drawing. Try creating abstract art. It’s completely subjective, so don’t worry about getting it right. If you’d like to get serious about a creative outlet, sign up for an online class—a lot of them are free.

Many experts agree that music is therapy. If creating tangible art isn’t your thing, consider learning an instrument. Playing an instrument is an excellent way to reduce stress and maintain cognitive function. Remember, it’s not about being an exceptional artist or musician. It’s about honing a new skill and feeling good about it. Art is an outlet.

Declutter Something

Channel your inner Marie Kondo, and declutter one space in the morning. Start with a small space. If you work from home, you might begin with your work area. Consider taking before and after photos to document (and show off) your tidying skills. For extra good vibes, donate any quality items you no longer need to a local nonprofit. There may be things you need to keep that don’t spark joy, in that case, store them out of sight, but somewhere you’ll remember.

Keep in sight the things that make you happy, like photos of your family or a souvenir that reminds you of your last vacation. If your spaces are tidy and clutter-free (lucky you!), declutter your digital spaces. Tidy up your desktop, organize your photo albums or sort through your music library.

Working from home and need a way to keep your workspace clean? Read our Guide to Morning Cleaning Routines.

Try a New Workout

Working out is one of the best things to do in the morning, but you might grow tired of your normal exercises. Try something new that’s energizing. Dance workouts are a fun way to get active, and they come in all skill levels. Whether you’re sedentary, an olympian or something in between, there’s a dance workout for you.

If you’re not into dancing, cardio boxing is a fantastic way to break a sweat and blow off some steam. The great thing about workouts like dancing and cardio boxing is that they don’t require any equipment, so it’s easy to get started. There are plenty of online classes available, and many of them offer a free week or month of trial classes, so there’s no need to commit right away.

Looking to change up your exercise routine? Read our Guide to the Best Morning Workouts.

Watch an Inspirational Video

The internet can be a drag sometimes. There’s no shortage of bad news or sad stories, but there are also plenty of uplifting, inspirational articles and videos.

Try to fill your web and social media time with positive influences. Run a video search for “inspirational story,” or seek out uplifting social media accounts by searching positive hashtags, like #positivity, #inspirational and #thankful.

News articles and programs are great informational resources, but they can be overwhelming. If you feel a little down after reading or listening to the news, and your daily life doesn’t hinge on what’s going on in the world, you may benefit from limiting your news exposure to certain parts of the day.

Read more about how to break your morning phone habits to reduce stress.

Give Back

Do good, feel good. You need to take care of yourself, but it’s nice to take care of others, too. Make a donation to a worthwhile cause (if you can), or volunteer your time. Animal shelters, veteran resource centers and other nonprofits are constantly searching for volunteers to take on a range of responsibilities. If there’s a cause that’s especially important to you, run a web search for nonprofits that support those causes. 

If you’d like to get involved on a more personal level, reach out to a senior or another vulnerable person in your community. They may appreciate help with errands or light yard work, or they may just want a friend to talk to. Either way, helping someone else is a sure way to have a perfect morning and break you out of a rut.

Variety Is the Spice of Life

Routines are important for working towards goals and providing us with stability. But it’s natural to grow tired of the mundane and seek out new experiences.

Since variety is the spice of life, don’t let your morning rituals become tired. Changing up your daily routine now and then can give you a fresh take on life.

Sources:

  1. https://positivepsychology.com/hedonic-treadmill/
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0146167212436400
  3. https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/the-science-success/201208/how-keep-happiness-fading
  4. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19381980.2016.1248325
  5. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0733464817751198 
  6. https://www.rd.com/home/cleaning-organizing/marie-kondo-one-condition-items-dont-spark-joy/
  7. https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/feeling-it/201307/5-ways-do-good-feel-good-fast-free-your-desk
  8. https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/08/09/what-to-do-in-the-morning_n_1761237.html