When I lived in London my morning routine consisted of smashing the snooze button until I had to get out of bed!
But since moving to Australia the biggest game changer for my mental and physical health was when I started to get up really early in the morning.
And when I say really early, I’m talking 4am – 5am.
Yeah. Super early!
But by getting up that early I gave myself more time for my morning routine to work on my mind and body.
Because I just couldn’t do it in the evening. By the time I finished work all I wanted to do was to get home and head straight to my sofa for an evening in front of the TV.
So the morning became the time for me when I could look after my mind and body during the working week.
And since the move Down Under I’ve experimented with different things in my morning routine to improve my mental and physical health.
I’ve had a consistent morning routine for years where I do what I like to call my mind and movement work.
But I keep it flexible and mix things up because I don’t enjoy sticking to a rigid structure or regime.
Some days you have different needs depending on how you feel and what time you need to get to work.
So I have a variety of different practices and different tools that I’ll use in my morning routine to get me in the best shape to tackle my day and my life.
So here’s a few practices from my toolbox that I use most days.
MY TOP 5 MORNING ROUTINE PRACTICES
Meditation has been my go to tool in my morning routine that I’ve been using for over 10 years. It’s what has had the biggest impact on my mental health.
While I do generally practice as soon as I get out of bed in the morning, doing anything from 20 minutes to 1 hour. I’ll also use it at various points throughout my day, as and when I feel like it/have time.
I might squeeze in a quick practice when I’m waiting to see the doctor or dentist; travelling on public transport or just hanging out in nature.
Meditation doesn’t have to be this formal practice that you do for 20+ minutes everyday first thing in the morning.
It’s available to you at any point throughout your day and the beauty is that you can do it wherever and whenever you want to.
As long as you have somewhere to sit that’s relatively quiet. You just close your eyes and focus us on the breath. And away you go!
And doing just a 5-minute practice can be really beneficial for you.
But starting your days off with a meditation practice, whether it’s 5 minutes, 20 minutes or an hour is a great way to kickstart your day.
It gets your mind prepped and ready for the challenges of the day.
Not that I’m ranking my practices in this list, but if I had to, meditation would be number one.
2. the Wim hof Method
I first came across Wim Hof, known as ‘The Iceman’, back in 2009 when he was on an amazing documentary series in the UK called Daredevils. I’d highly recommend you check it out.
VICE also did a great documentary with him in 2015 which is also well worth a watch.
He’s broken all sorts of world records for cold exposure and now travels the world teaching his breathing technique.
I went to one of his events in Sydney in 2017 and I can tell you ice baths are not much fun, but fuck do you feel amazing afterwards.
If you want to find out more about him and the technique he teaches, he has an awesome free app which I use. You can do guided sessions making it really easy to do.
It’s a pretty simple breathing technique. I usually do 3 -4 rounds of the technique which can take about 10 -20 minutes to complete.
I won’t go into the details of it as Wim will do a much better job of explaining it, plus it’s always better to learn by doing in my opinion.
So give it go and see how you feel.
It’ll definitely wake you up and give you an extra spring in your step. I often feel supercharged afterwards, especially when you follow it up with a cold shower.
I’ve found doing both together is a great hangover cure.
So if I’ve had a few drinks the night before I’ll use this the Wim Hof Method and jump in a cold shower.
So have a play and give it a go.
Either download the app.
Or head here for tips on how to do it safely.
And here if you want to practice without the app.
3. Cold Shower
If you give the Wim Hof Method a go you’ll also want to give cold showers a go.
The breathing technique Wim teaches was developed to go hand in hand with them.
But even if you don’t do the breathing technique, having a cold shower is fucking awesome.
Well…maybe not the cold shower itself. It does take some getting used to, but the way you feel afterwards is worth it.
When I first started trying them I couldn’t go more than about 30 seconds before I had to stop.
Damn it was cold.
But eventually, you’ll get used to the cold and you’ll be able to relax in to the experience a lot more rather than feeling like you’re just counting down the seconds till you can get out.
For me it feels like bolts of electricity shooting through my body, like I’m being connected to a power source.
I can’t remember the last time I had cold shower and didn’t come away from it with a smile on my face.
Since starting them a few years ago I have one most days.
And always on hangover days!
Usually for a few minutes at least. Sometimes longer.
But in the beginning it was hard, so to help me get through it I created a playlist of songs that I could sing a long too to get me through it.
This worked well as it helped me take my mind off the intensity of the cold water.
Once I got used to the cold water I stopped using the playlist.
There’s a long list of benefits a cold shower gives you. But for me I just tried it for the experience and it felt amazing so I keep on doing it.
4. Spinal Wave
This is a recent movement I’ve started adding in to my morning routine and it’s been incredible for opening up my back which is stiff as a brick from years of playing rugby.
It looks like you’re humping the wall. So if you embarrass easily maybe stick to doing it at home rather than at the gym.
I learnt the spinal wave from Ido Portal who is a master of movement.
He recommends doing it 1-3 times a day for 5 -10 minutes.
I usually do this after my meditation practice before going to the gym or for a walk in the morning.
It’s great for waking the body up so will definitely kickstart your day. I feel much better on the days that I do it.
To learn more and to see how it’s done, check out the video below from the master himself Ido Portal.
Make sure you check out the description in the video as it tells you about the benefits and how to practice.
EXPERIMENT AND PLAY WITH YOUR MORNING ROUTINE
This might be quite a lot to fit into your morning routine, so experiment and play and see what you like and what you have time for.
At the very least you’ll have some more tools to stick in your toolbox of mind and movement practices that you can use to kickstart your day.