As care partners, having a mental health morning routine can make all the difference. Over the years I have developed a routine for myself that has helped me during stressful times, and avoid caregiver burnout. Let me walk you through my morning routine, and perhaps you will pick up a few tips and start developing a healthful routine of your own.
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We are all creatures of habit, and these can be good habits or bad habits. Having developed a mental health morning routine over the years has been, without a doubt, one of the most important habits of my day.
My morning routine has changed and fluctuated over the years but I think I now have a routine that sticks. My routine takes anywhere from 15 minutes up to an hour, depending on how I feel but you can make it as long or as short as you wish, depending on how you feel or how much time you have in the morning.
Benefits Of A Morning Routine
Taking time in the morning and creating a consistent morning routine, is beneficial to our mental health. The American Psychological Association states that daily routines can ease the symptoms of bipolar disorder, and the American Addiction Centers state routine and structure prevents substance abuse.
Developing a habit takes time and you want to set yourself up for success right from the beginning. So when it comes to developing your mental health morning routine, here are a few things to consider.
Mental Health Morning Routine – Things To Consider
- Time – consider how much time you have, or would like to spend, on your mental health morning routine. Really work at being consistent – every single day. So if this means spending a shorter amount of time in your routine, then so be it. I would rather see you spend 15 minutes everyday on your morning routine versus 30 minutes twice a week. Doing it daily creates the habit.
- Location – consider where in your home you want to spend your morning routine time. What area of your home feels good, and calming, and quiet? For me, I sit in the same chair, overlooking my backyard, upstairs in my bedroom.
- Supplies – consider what supplies you need while doing your mental health morning routine. Do you want to burn a nice smelling candle or diffuse essential oils? What books will inspire you – the Bible, a devotional, poetry etc. Think about what will make you feel centered, calm, and focused.
Now that I’ve got you thinking about what might work well for you, let me share with you more specifically what I do during my mental health morning routine, and what works well for me.
My Mental Health Morning Routine
Before I even begin my morning routine, I get up and make my bed. I get up at the same time everyday, even on the weekends. I’ve written extensively on sleep, and why getting up at the same time daily is so important for your health. You can read about that here: Feeling Exhausted? Why Lack of Sleep is the New Smoking
Next I go downstairs, take out my dog Morris, and then I make a cup of coffee to bring upstairs to my quiet place, which is in my bedroom, in a comfy chair looking out at the woods in our back yard.
Smell is a powerful sense
Once I’ve taken the dog out, and made my morning coffee, this is when my mental health morning routine truly begins. The first thing I do is light a candle or diffuse essential oils.
Using your sense of smell is a powerful way to set the mood for your morning. It can bring us back to moments in time, emotions and feelings, good or bad. I highly recommend you get in touch with what appeals to you in a positive and comforting manner, smells and aromas that will set the tone for your morning.
I’ve experimented with quite a few different candle companies, and these are by far my favorite. I’m pretty picky when it comes to what I burn in my house, and these are clean, quality candles, run by women who are forward thinking, professional, and care about the environment.
- Light & Gale Candle Co. – use code DAWN20 and get 20% off your first order – Yayy!
- Made By Kippen – use code DAWN15 and get 15% off your first order – whoop!
- P.F. Candle Co. – give “Los Angeles” or “Amber Moss” a try – LOVE!
You have options…
If you are reluctant to use a burning candle around the loved ones you are caring for, consider giving essential oils a try. I have diffusers in almost every room of my home, and I use essentials oils often to help lift and brighten my mood.
Quality oils are a must however, as you do not want to be diffusing toxic chemicals into your home air. There are a lot of essential oil companies out there but not all are of good quality – in fact in my opinion, most aren’t.
Here is my favorite essential oil (and herb) company, as well as some of the diffusers I like.
- Favorite Essential Oils
- Favorite Diffusers
- Ink Painting Ultrasonic Diffuser (the one similar to mine in the essential oil video).
- Stone Diffuser – these are beautiful. The white is more of an off-white.
- Elena Glow Diffuser – just gorgeous but there are a lot to choose from with this company. 😉
I did a deep dive into how to choose essential oils, and use them properly, in a previous blog post. I also made a video on how to diffuse essential oils. You can find them here.
Devotional that is right for you
After lighting a candle, I read a daily devotional. There are plenty of devotional books out there, and I used to mix it up quite a bit. Now I find I consistently use only one or two books. You will have to find what resonates with you but to get you started, these are the books I am currently using.
- Jesus Listens: Daily Devotional Prayers of Peace, Joy, and Hope
- Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence
Reading a devotional helps to calm and center me. Devotionals are usually brief and their focus in on one specific topic. I like this. It helps bring all of my attention to what is on the page, and I slowly forget the clutter that is swirling around in my head.
Journal writing as part of your mental health morning routine
After reading a devotional, I write in my journal. Journal writing is probably one of the most effective tools you can use to help fight anxiety, depression, and more. I strongly believe writing in my journal has helped me through many stressful low points in my life.
There are different ways to write in a journal, and over time you will discover what works for you. You can write, doodle, or draw. You can make lists, and bullet points, or you can do a combination of all of these. There are no rules, just what makes you feel good.
Personally, I just write. I write and write, pouring out all of my thoughts and fears until I can write no more. Until I have nothing else to say, and my mind is blank. I do not worry about what I am writing or how I am writing it, and I definitely do not worry about spelling or being grammatically correct.
All I care about is getting everything I am thinking and feeling out of my head and onto the page. It is this cleansing and purging of the mind that I feel is so powerful. And after I have written everything I have to say, my mind is calm, my body is calm, and I then feel ready to start my day.
preserve or not to preserve
Some people hang onto their journals, and they have years and years of journal writing. Me personally…I do not. My journals are so full of personal thoughts and emotions, and I have no desire to save them once I’ve purged all of my thoughts onto the page. So instead…I burn them!
I literally burn my journals when I am done, or shred them. And believe it or not, this ritual of burning and getting rid of all those thoughts and emotions on the page I find to be very therapeutic. It is all part of the process, and I enjoy every minute of it. Only to start a brand new journal afresh.
Bible reading to close out my mental health morning routine
Finally, I read the Bible to close out my mental health morning routine. I was raised Catholic and now practice my faith in a non-denominational church. Over the years I have read the Bible through and through, and this year a group of friends in my church and I are reading the Bible in chronological order. Very interesting to gain a better historical context understanding.
After reading scripture, I will sit for a few minutes to ponder what I’ve read, gather my strength and my thoughts for the day, and then I blow out my candle and I’m off. Ready to begin the day with a bright new positive perspective.
Find Your Own Morning Routine
Morning routines are an excellent way to start your day, and I really hope you take the time to find a routine that works for you.
As care partners, we have busy schedules helping those we love, and we cannot properly take care of others unless we properly take care of ourselves. How do you pull from an empty well?
Maintaining a consistent mental health morning routine will help start your day on the right track, with vibrancy, and a calm energy that is difficult to describe.
So are you ready to give it a try? Are you ready to be more consistent with your journal writing? Let me know your thoughts, or how you are doing in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.
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Video: Mental Health Morning Routines for Care Partners
Incorporate this ritual into your mental health morning routine. Check out this post.
How To Use Essential Oils To Reduce Caregiver Stress
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I hope you found this information helpful, and you are able to put it to use in your life as a care partner. Please let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.
You can also follow me and my life on Cape Cod on my Instagram page @dawndunkin
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