I mentioned in my post about Mental Health Awareness Week that I’d share some things I do to help manage my anxiety and improve my wellbeing. It makes sense to begin with my morning routine.
The first couple of hours of the day can be pivotal to how the rest of it turns out. In this article, I’d like to explain how I take control of my phone as a tool in my morning routine, rather than letting it control me.
With so many of us using our phone as an alarm, it’s usually the first thing we put our hands on (after that other thing…) before we’ve barely opened our eyes. With a tired mind it’s easy to fall in to the social media wormhole. This is actually one of the reasons I don’t use my phone as an alarm but I’ll discuss that in more detail with another article.
My Morning Routine Before Breakfast
As soon as my feet hit the floor, I’m reaching for my joggers, a t-shirt and heading towards the front door. The dog knows what this means and goes from dormant dog to crazy canine in 0.7 seconds. I throw on the dogs lead (on the dog, not me) and put my ear phones in (in me, not the dog). Here’s where the apps on my phone enter my morning routine.
The type of book I’m listening to on Audible can depend on the mood I’m in at the time. Whatever it may be, I try to make it something mentally stimulating. It gets the old grey matter churning and wakes up my brain.
At the moment, I’m listening to The Chimp Paradox, written and narrated by Steve Peters. I’m only five chapters in (out of eighteen) and it’s changed my life. I highly recommend it to anyone that is experiencing difficulties with mental health or has an interest in the inner workings of the human mind.
There are two main reasons I like to use my Fitbit app in the morning.
- To see how far I’ve walked when I get home. The release of endorphins I’ve experienced during my walk are amplified by the sense of achievement I get when I see how far I’ve gone. It’s no hike, but I’ve been out in the fresh air and walked before breakfast. That’s the important thing to focus my mind on.
- It removes the two main excuses I give myself for not working out. These excuses are time and being too lazy to think up a routine. There are pre-designed workouts in the guidance section of the Fitbit app. They provide short, sharp exercises I can do at home and I don’t need any expensive equipment.
The main feature for Calm is centred around guided meditation but also offers breathing exercises and help with improving your sleep.
Meditating in the morning is scientifically proven to have many benefits. These can include feeling more energised, less stressed and increased concentration, to name a few.
Calm is free to download but I highly recommend unlocking paid premium options which you can read more about on their website. It’s had a huge benefit on my daily life and costs less than a cup of coffee per month.
Part 2 of my morning routine consists of a healthy breakfast, usually involving eggs that my wife lovingly prepares for me while I shower. I’ll also take this time to be active on social media (usually Twitter and Instagram) and engage with anything that strikes a chord. I set a timer on my phone to five minutes which helps me to be mindful of how much time I’m spending on social media. I then set out to plan the rest of my day.
While browsing social media, there’s likely to be the odd article that I’ll want to read later. I save these articles to my Pocket app so that they are easy to find.
This productivity app makes it easy to enter tasks as I think of them, whatever time of day it is. I can then dedicate time in the morning to organising and prioritising these tasks. The free version gives me everything I need. Which includes Gmail integration allowing me to add emails as tasks at the click of a button. The task even becomes a link to the original email in Todoist. Winning!
Over to you
What apps do you like and use in the morning, or throughout your day, and what benefit does it give to you?