Morning and Evening Routines | Simple Life-changing PractisesPosted by Josh Gape on
Having a morning and evening routine is something that has massively helped me across many aspects of my life. The most noticeable benefits have been to my energy levels, sleep, stress management and presence throughout the day. By taking time first thing in the morning to check in with myself before checking in with the world, I find that I'm a lot more conscious during the rest of the day. My mind is clearest first thing, fresh from sleep and yet to be clouded by the noise of every day life. I take advantage of this state to set my intentions for the day, remind myself who I want to be and what I want to achieve. This may sound like a strange practice but in my experience reminding myself of the characteristics I want to embody has moved the needle furthest in helping me reach my goals and work towards my dream.
Too often people pick up their phones and start scrolling through messages or social media before they have even got out of bed. This fries your dopamine receptors, decreasing your ability to concentrate later in the day.
I have listed my current morning routine below, which I use to set the tone for each day.
- Drink 750ml of filtered water with the juice from half a lemon and 1 gram of rock salt. This hydrates and mineralises the body whilst also getting in a decent dose of vitamin C, which is especially important as we go into the winter months to enhance immunity.
- Go for a ten to twenty minute walk in nature and without any technology. This is great for cultivating presence and burning fat whilst also exposing me to early morning light. Having your eyes and skin come into contact with the sun in the first hour or so after it has risen helps set your biological clock for the day. It will not only help you feel more awake and alert but will also begin the countdown for melatonin to be released later in the day. Melatonin is a hormone released by the pineal gland at night, which helps us sleep. When the weather allows I'll do my walk barefoot on grass. This is known as grounding and transfers free electrons into your body, which helps to reduce inflammation and stress.
- Breath-work - I use the 'State' app to do 5-15 minutes of controlled breathing focused on creating calm, presence and alertness.
At the end of a busy day, having an evening routine has been crucial for me. It holds the same premise as the morning, facilitating the practise of checking in with myself and unwinding, so that I can connect with my internal balance once more. It’s the time to switch from sympathetic mode, which is great for work and training, into a parasympathetic state. This means the body goes into rest and digest, allowing for relaxation, recovery and deep sleep. Learning how to switch my mind off from business and future tasks helps me unwind and show up energised, focused and determined the following day.
- The last activity I do at the end of my working day is writing my key to-do list for the following day. This sign-off process really helps me switch off from work in the evening as I'm not wondering what I have to do the following morning.
- Digital sunset at 8.30pm. This involves switching off blue light emitting devices like TV's and laptops. I also switch my phone onto red light and aeroplane mode at this time.
- Working-in practises. For me these vary quite a lot and I just go with what I feel each evening as a guide some typical activities I'll do are; stretching, reading, mediation, gentle breath-work, contemplation, journaling.
My morning and evening routines have been honed over a long period and the above is just what works best for me right now. These are both subject to change in the future as I don't like to be dogmatic about anything. That said, although the details may change, having this time to check in with myself without the distraction of the modern world has been so impactful, I can't imagine a scenario in which they won't exist in my life in some form.
Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. Also if you'd like to share some of your own practises so that myself and other readers can benefit from them, that would be greatly appreciated.