A good morning routine sets the tone for the entire day. This is especially true in seniors. Why did we change our morning routine when we retired?  Did we all of the sudden get lazy?  Or is it because we have all of this extra time on our hands? Creating a morning routine that sets your physical and mental well-being as a priority, will make sure your mornings start off on the right foot. We are creatures of habit after all, so why not have a structured morning routine that promotes health and wellness. Routines have more than a few benefits for seniors and can be critical in their behavior, sleep habits, appetite, health, mood, and overall well-being. Here is a little cheat sheet to help you get started. 

Benefits of a morning routine for a senior.

Having a routine can reduce stress and anxiety with seniors.  Seniors that no longer have control of their lives can feel stress and anxiety and may become disoriented or unsure about what happens next.  This is especially true if someone has Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, or other health conditions that have caused the cognitive or physical decline.

For seniors, a predictable routine reduces stress and anxiety.  They know when and what will be happening next.  They know who will be helping them accomplish their daily task and how things are going to be done.  A consistent routine will become part of their body memory and they have to consciously think about what is coming next.

Having a routine will help seniors feel safe and secure in the morning. Most people don’t like surprises, constant change, and uncertainty. Having a routine will allow your seniors to plan and predict their day. This will help make them feel safe. Seniors that have memory and cognitive issues will find comfort and serenity in knowing that everything else is known and predictable.

Ideas for healthy morning habits for seniors.

Stop hitting your snooze button. This can be a hard habit to crack, especially if you have been hitting that snooze button for years. It takes a lot of willpower when you first wake up to not lay in bed just a little while longer. Once you are retired and no longer have a job to make it to in the morning it can also be hard to beat the mindset that you can sleep as long as you want now. You will reap many benefits from getting to bed early to get a full night’s sleep and then getting up and getting started with your day as soon as your alarm goes off.

 

Exercise and move your body. Exercise is a scientifically proven mood-booster, so why not start your day with it? It’s good for your brain and body. Once you wake up you also have the most willpower and energy in the morning, so jumping right in and getting your exercising done for the day right off the bat.

 

Get straight to work. Getting straight to work on anything important and meaningful to you that you need to accomplish that day right after you get ready in the morning can help you be your most creative and productive. Dr. Kay from the University of California states that “When it comes to doing cognitive work, most adults perform best in the morning.” This is why you hear a lot of people mention trying to work on your hardest projects or tasks early in the morning to be the most efficient. For seniors, this can mean working on something creative, trying to complete a step towards a goal they have, or accomplishing a task or chore that takes a lot of energy.

 

 

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I can’t stress this one enough. So many successful people and self help books even talk about the importance of simply drinking a large glass of water before any other substance in the morning. Here are a few reasons why this is so important:

  • It replenishes your body with the water that it lost overnight. 
  • It kick-starts your metabolism for the day.
  • It flushes out toxins and is good for healthy skin.

 

 

Fuel your body with a healthy breakfast. It is important at any age to eat breakfast in the morning to kick start your day, but it is even more important for seniors who are at a higher risk of fatigue and malnutrition. Eating a nutritious breakfast can help boost your energy levels, regulate metabolism, and due to additional nutrients can even help boost your immune system

 

 

If you are physically able, make your bed! Some of the best self-help books and life coaches give this advice. Making your bed when you wake up in the morning will mentally prepare your brain to be more productive and organized throughout your day. Gretchen Rubin, in her book The Happiness Project, stated “One of the most common simple changes that led to happiness was learning to make the bed each morning.” The habit of making your bed is a small step that you slowly build on until eventually, you have an amazing and productive morning routine that has you living your best life. You would be amazing and how much a difference small steps can make in the long run.

 

 

Practice meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises. Practicing these things can help improve your overall help as well as help with alertness, self-awareness, stress and anxiety management, improvement in quality of life, and promotes better sleep quality. As stated by the Mayo Clinic meditation can help people manage symptoms for conditions such as:

  • Asthma 
  • Heart Disease
  • Cancer 
  • Chronic pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Tension headaches
  • IBS

 

Start journaling in the morning. When you think of journaling the first thing you probably think about is a teenage girl scribbling in her diary about her new crush and how she is worried about her history test on Friday. While yes, many teen girls are known to keep journals, there are some serious benefits that come along with keeping a journal for your thoughts. As humans, we all have a lot of thoughts that float around in our heads. When you journal it gives you an outlet to put those thoughts on paper and organize and understand them. Some known benefits of journaling include:

  • Reducing stress, depression, and anxiety.
  • Get to know yourself better (self-discovery).
  • Helps with problem-solving.
  • Thought clarity.
  • Helps problem solve.

 

It is important when you begin journaling to remember this is private and for your eyes only so there is no need to be worried about what you decide to write down. You also need to remember that there are no rules to this style of writing. There is no need to be concerned with incorrect grammar and punctuation, just scribble down your thoughts and let things flow, and see where it takes you. The faster you let yourself write the better, you have less time to second guess yourself or your thoughts before you get them on the paper. 

 

 

Pick one micro-step to accomplish a goal every day. As you get ready in the morning make sure you let your thoughts flow and wonder about some of the most exciting goals that you have set for yourself. Allow yourself to get super excited about them, then pick one tiny micro-goal that you could accomplish today to get you one step closer to that goal. Then, make it a priority to get that one micro-goal accomplished.

 

 

 

 

Don't give up.

Obviously, it is not realistic to think that you will get all of these good habits worked into your morning routine but it is something to refer back to when you are trying to improve yourself by re-creating your morning routine. I hope that you have found them helpful and insightful and will share these with people you know. Working on building new habits is always more fun when you can work on it with a friend. When trying to establish your new habits try to remember the 66-day rule. Studies have shown that it takes on average about 66 days to build a habit, and sometimes longer for more difficult habits. So stick to this and even if you miss a day, don’t give up, fall forward and try again tomorrow! 

Dwell at Home is here to help.

Dwell at Home is bringing in-home senior care into the palm of your hand with a mobile application that values convenience, personalized mentorship, and trust.  You can download the app in the Apple App store today by clicking here!

Dwell at Home is not a licensed medical professional and all information provided is provided “as is” with no warranties. You should consult a licensed physician for any questions related to your health.  Dwell at Home makes no guarantee about any application or third party web site mentioned in any article on this web site.