It’s been a couple of years now since I’ve moved back to the busy life of a big city and London has not been kind. The weather is cold most of the year, the people on public transport are gloomy and avoid all eye contact and everything is always rushed…or at least it was before lockdown! Needless to say, my morning routine and any kind of mindful routine, for that matter, went out the window.

I’ve got to admit, I’ve actually forgotten what I used to do to make myself happy in the morning until I found this half-written blog with a list of things I used to do almost every day as my morning routine. They may seem simple, but the way you start your day makes a massive difference to how the rest of your day and your week goes. So here’s my list and promise to do at least one of these this every day from now on, will you join me?

My cat Milo yawning, sleepy, cute

Be grateful

See if you can program your mind to immediately think about something you’re grateful for the moment you wake up. Some people make lists of things they’re grateful for, but I find it sufficient to simply say, “thank you, thank you, thank you” to nothing and about nothing in particular. It may take a few mornings to really get yourself into that habit, but I found it to be an invaluable one, and even if I don’t do anything else on this list – this one is always my number one.

I’ve had a period of my life where things were very stressful and I would feel anxious the moment I woke up. I had had enough of that and changed my morning routine to wake up with gratitude. Then I caught myself waking up at 4am with my heart beating out of my chest and immediately, without thinking, my thoughts took me to something positive and I drifted off to sleep again within seconds.

Meditate

“If you have the time, meditate for 20 minutes. If you don’t have time, meditate for an hour.” I really like that saying.

Whatever way you meditate, try doing it upon waking up. Whether it’s sitting up and just breathing or if you prefer an active meditation, do whatever feels right for you. Once you make it into a habit, it will become easier and it won’t feel forced.

Though personally I much prefer to have my longer meditations in the evening (I’m generally not a morning person at all), I like to take even a few minutes before getting out of bed to set my intentions for the day and start it off in a calm and mindful way.

Stay silent for a while

During the course of our day, we talk, talk and talk. Take this time to really be with yourself and listen to your inner voice, without getting distracted by conversation.

When I was a kid and even into my twenties, I would actually often wake up and not want to talk at all for a while. I couldn’t explain it to anyone and thought it was weird, but its like my mouth just refused to open and I needed to stay silent for sometimes up to 30 mins upon waking up. But even at a young age I subconsciously felt it was necessary for me to do that to have a good start to the day.

Drink water with lemon or with bicarbonate soda

Take care of your body and it will love you back! Having some water first thing in the morning is a great addition to your morning routine.

I like to alternate between drinking warm water with about half a lemon to warm water with 1/4 tsp – 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda. Both are amazing at alkalising the body and I remember reading somewhere that lemon water helps you wake up better than coffee – and without the comedown!

Have a healthy breakfast

Raw vegan banana crepe with strawberries and coconut cream, by Anya Andreeva

Can’t have a successful morning routine without a good breakfast, right? “Healthy” means something different to everyone, so eat whatever makes you feel the best, whether that’s a raw vegan banana crepe or a poached egg on avocado toast.

Need some inspiration? I’ve got you covered with 121 healthy recipes in my raw food book!

Don’t eat breakfast at all? I’ve had a phase like that for a few years so I totally get it – don’t force yourself and just ignore this point 🙂

Don’t turn on your phone or laptop for the first hour

This is something that I feel is very important for a healthy morning routine. Your phone and your emails will still be there after an hour, but during that first hour, allow yourself some “me-time”. You don’t need to go into work-mode just yet. Plus, it’s very irritating if you’re lying in bed with your partner and they’re on their phone, I’m sure you know the feeling.

If you feel like you can’t live without your phone, just charge it overnight in another room. I’ve been doing this for a long time and feel it makes a big difference to my morning. I also switch off my phone at least 30 mins before I actually go to sleep.

Do some yoga or whatever form of physical or energetic exercise you like

Personally, I can’t exercise to save my life in the morning, my body just feels all stiff and lazy, which is why I do qi gong (sometimes… when I feel motivated) or I dance. And I really feel a massive difference when I miss a few days, I feel more tired during the day and less content.

If you’re not a morning person like me, try some gentler forms of exercise – you’ll be much more likely to stick to them than if you suddenly start jogging or going to cross fit.

If you live with your partner, do something nice for them

couple in bed together cuddling, love, hug

Make them breakfast, make the bed, give them a cute morning cuddle (or more!) or just tell them how much you love them. By starting the day making someone else happy, you will become happier yourself. Share your smile and see how good it feels!

I actually spoke to an ex-boyfriend of mine a while back and he made a comment about me always being grumpy in the morning, and it was then that I realised that I actually haven’t been this way since I got together with my current boyfriend. His morning routine consists of waking up way before me, doing his own thing for a few hours, then when it’s time for me to wake up, he will gently start massaging my feet or stroking my hair or some other lovely thing to wake me up gently. And because of that I always wake up smiling and happy and he says it makes his day to do something nice for me – win-win.

Have a hot and cold shower

Follow your normal shower with a cold shower. It feels great and will get you used to the cold, which is especially helpful if you live somewhere like the UK… It’s got plenty of other health benefits too, from boosting your immune system and relieving stress to giving you more energy and helping you deal with depression.

Have you ever heard of Wim Hoff (the Iceman)? If you’d like to know more about this (it’s not just cold showers though, there are also breathing techniques that you do, as well as ice baths), I highly recommend you check him out.

Self-massage

It doesn’t have to take long, but it feels so nice to give your body a quick squeeze all around and wake it up as part of your morning routine. Bonus points if you say “I love you” to every part of your body as you’re touching it! For many years this was the only thing I used to do in the morning and I always feel so much better when I do.

You could also enjoy some self-pleasure during the morning – nothing like an orgasm to start the day, right?

So, what’s your morning routine like? What else would you add to this list?