How changing your morning routine can improve your happiness

My ‘morning routine’ used to consist roughly of the following: Alarm goes off. Wrestles with phone to find the right button on the side to hit snooze. Repeat x 3. With eyes barely open, anxiously reaches for phone. Opens Instagram to check notifications and scroll through feed.

Does this sound familiar to you?

Since the start of the year, I hit a wall with Instagram. I noticed just how much anxiety the mere act of grabbing my phone and opening the app was causing me each morning, not to mention the extreme TIME SUCK going through my feed had become. I felt like I was being robbed every morning—of my Zen and of my time—and I became resentful.

Checking social media first thing in the morning can cause anxiety

I wanted to have a better morning routine, and as part of the Happiness Project that I started this year, I knew I needed one. I started reading about the habits of highly successful people, and all things pointed to centering yourself when you wake up – to have “me” time and put your personal priorities before the priorities of everyone else. There were other common themes I found too: practicing gratitude, journaling, working out, meditating. Everything I read led to the same conclusion: if you establish a better morning routine, you can set the tone for the rest of your day. You can have a more positive, relaxed, and happy day just by controlling which activities you do or refrain from doing first thing in the morning.

An overview of my improved morning routine

I had to try a bunch of different things until landing on the 5 things that work for me. The order that I do these things in each day varies, but once they all form part of my morning, I’ve noticed such a huge change in my mood and attitude.

1. Waking up Early

Not a recent change I’ve made – I’m already an early riser (wasn’t always, though). I aim for between 5:30 and 6 a.m. I’m at my best first thing in the morning, can get so much more done, and feel so much more productive by midday. It’s like giving yourself a head start, cause if you’re anything like me, you have more than 60 things on that good old to-do list to tackle!

2. No Social Media

So, THIS IS THE BIG ONE. I made a rule a little while ago: no social media for at least the first hour after waking up. I leave my phone alone and won’t, for any reason, go on Instagram or Facebook.

Once I taught myself to stop caring about Instagram when I woke up (kinda hard for someone whose business is so connected to it), my stress levels were instantly reduced. I had to remind myself that I go on Instagram because I enjoy sharing with the world and want to be inspired. It’s such a waste of time to be scrolling through my never-ending feed (thanks, new algorithm!) or watching other people’s lives on Insta stories, when I could be living my own life! This has led to me using Instagram way less, in general, and it feels so liberating! That’s not to say I’ve turned my back on my community. When I do go on the app, I make it a point to respond to each and every comment and return the love to my friends.

3. Taking More Time with Skincare and Oral Hygiene

Brushing my teeth used to be the very last thing I’d do before leaving the house and my skincare routine was non-existent. This year, I wanted to start treating my skin better. So, after attending an event for the launch of the Oral-B Genius Pro 8000 rose gold electric toothbrush and Crest 3D White Whitening Therapy toothpaste, I’ve added 2 things to my morning routine that are now indispensable and help with my mood.

Changing How I Brush My Teeth

Truth be told, had I not attended the Crest & Oral-B event, I may never have made the switch to an electric toothbrush (something my husband’s been trying to get me to do for years!). It was helpful to have an explanation of the benefits; plus it’s rose gold, so, come on!

Oral-B Pro Genius 8000 rose gold electric toothbrush

The Genius Pro 8000 comes in a carrying case with a built-in charger, has an LED ring for visual feedback on brushing pressure and time, and there’s even a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone app that shows you how long to brush, tracks what part of your mouth you’re brushing in, so you don’t miss any areas, and will slow itself down to protect your gums if you brush too hard at any time.

Reflection of me in the mirror brushing my teeth

Using the Genius Pro 8000 has made me a lot more mindful of how I brush my teeth, rather than doing it in auto-pilot, like before. It’s another morning ritual that forces me to slow down and centre myself. I’m also so glad I made the switch because the Genius Pro 8000 is so much better for my oral hygiene than using a manual toothbrush. I’ve been using the Genius Pro 8000 with Crest’s 3D White Whitening Therapy toothpaste, which whitens and strengthens enamel at the same time. The active mineral complex helps remove stains, polishes teeth and replenishes enamel. I’ve been a loyal Crest customer for years, so I’m always keen to try their new products and I’m really glad they could be a part of my new morning routine.

Rolling my face

I may not have bought into the hype about crystals just yet, but I have jumped on the cold rolling bandwagon.

Rose quartz facial roller

This rose quartz facial roller helps with circulation, reducing the appearance of fine lines, lymphatic drainage, massaging the face, relaxation, and also helps your moisturizer or serum absorb into your skin. If you believe in crystals, rose quartz is said to lower stress, and bring more compassion, peace, tenderness and healing. I love the coolness on my face (which you can get from keeping it in the fridge overnight) and just having the extra few minutes of pampering time in the morning. It’s helped me to slow down and clear my mind.

4. Reading

I’ve replaced the time I’d otherwise spend on Instagram with reading (you know, like actual books, not scanning my Facebook newsfeed for the news). This must be accompanied by a warm drink (usually coffee, and sometimes tea). If I can, I try to have hot lemon water before my coffee because it’s so good for you and it really helps with my metabolism.

Adding reading to my morning routine

5. Working Out

I love doing my workouts in the morning because the effect on my mood is instant. I release stress, get energized, and get fit at the same time. I am most productive and have the clearest head on days when I work out first thing in the morning.

Those are the 5 things that have had a huge impact on my daily happiness, and they were all small changes I could make to my morning routine. What does your morning routine look like and what are some changes that have worked for your happiness?

5 simple changes to your morning routine that can improve happiness

This post was done in partnership with Crest & Oral-B. However, all opinions and thoughts are 100% my own.