How to improve mornings

I’ve been wanting to change my morning routine for ages! Once I am up and out of bed, I consider myself a morning person – it’s when I’m at my most productive at work.

But getting out of bed is the problem. I often wake up naturally before my alarm then fall back to sleep. When my alarm goes and I press snooze three or four times, leaving myself just enough time to rush around getting ready before going to work.

Every morning I wish I’d gotten up earlier and think about how much nicer it would be to start my day in a more relaxed way. My current habits definitely don’t help the anxiety that is often present in my belly as soon as I wake up and open my eyes in the morning.

I’ve read a few articles about improving mornings so here are some of the things I think I might find helpful:

  • Put my alarm clock on the other side of the room so I have to get up. Or decide to only press snooze once if I think I can handle the temptation of having the alarm clock next to my bed.
  • Drink a cup of hot water with lemon. I don’t usually make myself hot drinks so this feels quite indulgent and a nice thing to do for myself in the morning.
  • Take five minutes to eat breakfast at home in my comfy chair in the lounge – I usually eat it when I get to work. I always have oats with skimmed milk, 0% fat Greek yoghurt, fruit and sprinkle of cinnamon.
  • Meditate – even if it’s five minutes.
  • Read something positive – like a blog post. I really enjoy reading Mind Body Green.
  • Don’t look at my phone first thing – shower and clean my teeth first. I also don’t need to check the news first thing in the morning.
  • Tidy up – even something small – start the day with a sense of satisfaction.
  • Open the blinds and let sunlight in.
  • Stretch
  • Send someone a nice message – maybe not everyday but this is a nice idea to brighten up someone else’s morning.

It feels like an important time of year to work on this as the dark mornings and evenings definitely make the comfort and warmth of my bed more appealing.

I’m going to try some of these things this week – not all of them everyday – that would be unrealistic and I’m trying to be aware of my all-or-nothing thinking! Doing a few of these things two or three times this week would be a good start.


Things I wish I’d told myself last week

Last week was really difficult – I was feeling hopeless, questioning everything in my life, having lots of horrible thoughts.

I’ve had the most amazing therapist for the last year who I’ve learnt so much from. So why is it so difficult to remember when I need it the most?

That’s why I write this blog, so I can look back and remind myself of the things that I’ve learnt and things that I’ve found helpful.

So last week, this is what I could have done with remembering. It would have been more useful than fantasising about how I’d cope financially if I can’t cope with my job, what I’d do if I give everything up and disappear for a year, or various ways to hurt myself and end my life.

  • Plan one thing at a time so I feel like I’ve achieved something. I don’t have to do it all.
  • Lower my expectations – when things are difficult I won’t meet my food and exercise goals for the week, but that’s ok. Give myself a break.
  • Do something creative instead of spending hours watching TV.
  • Less screen time and news – it helps me to slow down when everything feels like it’s going to fast and I’m getting overwhelmed.
  • Plan small things to look forward to.
  • Ask ‘Is there anything constructive I can do?’
  • Ask ‘What is this thinking giving me? Is it leasing anywhere constructive or useful?’
  • Can I address my worry by doing anything useful? If not, park the worry.
  • Change my environment, move around, do some art in response to negative thoughts.
  • Distress is inevitable. I need to learn how to cope with it.
  • Challenge my thoughts – I can cope. I have before and I will again.
  • Plan ahead food and exercise ahead in detail. That seems to work for me.
  • Set a date to review the bigger life changes.
  • Focus on small changes. I just need to move forward in the right direction.

Planning, ruminating and finding fulfilment


Planning things in detail seems to work for me:

  • Plan meals, when I will shop and when I will prepare food.
  • Plan exercise – what classes or groups I will go to throughout the week.
  • Plan what time I’ll go to bed and what time I’ll wake up.
  • Put the alarm clock on the other side of the room so I have to get up to turn it off.
  • Set a time to start getting ready for bed – phone away, clean teeth etc. Try doing this early in the evening when I’m not so tired then all I have to do is  to get into bad. When your depressed, why does cleaning your teeth feel like such a  mammoth and relentless task?!


Things I can do when I’m ruminating on things that aren’t helpful – like how bad things were and my time in hospital. I think some of the reason that comes back up though is because I haven’t really spoken to anyone about it properly – there are things that I need to say, that weren’t said or seen then. I will write about it here one day soon. In the meantime here’s what I need to try:

  • Meditate.
  • Practice moving my attention around my body or the room.
  • Get up and move – change the environment.
  • Play some music.
  • Get outside.
  • Exercise.

Finding fulfilment

I seem to constantly struggle with the meaning of life – what it’s all about, why I am here, what am I doing with my life?

  • Deal with it practically – thinking about these big questions on a daily basis won’t help.
  • Think of it like a flow chart – do I have the money to do the things I want to do? If the answer is no, then I can either accept that and make the most of what I have, look for meaning in other ways etc or I can decide to save and make plans for a point in time when I will have the resources.
  • Plan to check-in at a particular time frame e.g. in six months or one year. Postpone the worrying. Ask myself – am I happy? Am I fulfilled? What am I missing?
  • Keep planning regular treats and rewards – don’t give them up to start saving – need balance and compromise.

I like the idea of postponing things until a more useful time – it works well for me with anxiety. Sometimes a thought pops-up and I can decide not to give it any attention right not but to park it for a specific time – it seems to work!

The main thing to remember when I am stuck and ruminating is to focus on the small changes that I can make right now – sleep, food, exercise and routine.

Falling off the wagon

Again, it’s been a few weeks since I written. I really want to start writing more regularly again though as I find it really helpful – both to get things out and also knowing that others people have seen or heard me.

It’s not been the easiest few weeks. I’ve landed back from the summer holidays with a bit of a bump. All the routines I worked so hard to create seem to have gone out the window – food, exercise and self care.

My eating habits are the thing that I give myself the hardest time about which is why I’m writing this list to remind me what I need to do.

  • Plan my food for the week – what meals I will make, when I will shop, when I will cook and prepare. I’m much more successful if I’ve planned in advance. I’m loving  the Deliciously Ella Everyday cookbook as all the recipes in there are really healthy and easy to make. I’ve also started batch cooking and freezing things for winter so I have healthy options on hand.
  • Shop at my local small supermarket once a week. If I shop at the larger one or stop to top-up throughout the week, I end up with things I really don’t need in my basket.
  • Make the decision in advance not to indulge in treats at work – it requires less willpower to say no if I’ve already made the decision.
  • Don’t set such big goals for myself. Don’t focus on numbers on the scales, distance for exercise or the number of days that I am doing things. I just need to move forward in the right direction – it doesn’t matter how big the step is.
  • Leave my bank card at home and only carry enough cash for what I actually need. My therapist has been telling me this for ages – but I think it’s finally sunk in this week. It’s too tempting to stop on the way home from work and buy unhealthy food when I have money on hand. Once I’m home I’m unlikely to make the effort to go back out especially.
  • Save shopping for new winter clothes as a reward for when I feel better about myself or have lost a few pounds, rather than when I’m beating myself up and constantly giving myself a hard time about my body.
  • Make plans for the future – things I’d like to do in a years time. It feels good to plan and I don’t feel so stuck which makes me unhappy and leads to more comfort eating.