A healthy morning routine can do wonders for your mental health. What you do in the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day and spending it wisely can prepare you to take on your daily challenges with confidence.

Constructing a mental health morning routine that works for you can be difficult at first, but it’s often worth the effort. Here are a few simple tips to get you started until you find what works for you.

1. Understand Your Energy and Motivation Reserves

One of the first steps to building a better mental health morning routine is understanding that the amount of energy and motivation you have each day is limited. When you wake up in the morning, you have the most energy and motivation available – make sure to spend it wisely.

Findings from neuroscience have affirmed that this is true down to the molecules within the brain. Dopamine, the brain’s reward and motivation neurotransmitter, is typically at its highest levels in the morning and falls to its lowest levels in the evening.

Capitalizing on this period of high motivation and energy can be one of the most important parts of a healthy morning routine.

2. Avoid Smartphones and Social Media

Recognizing that you have the largest reserve of motivation and energy in the morning, don’t make the mistake of spending it all at once on social media or your smartphone. In today’s technological world, checking your phone first thing in the morning can become a daily routine that ultimately saps the motivation to do anything else in the day.

Many of the most popular smartphone applications are designed to be as rewarding and addictive as possible. They want to capture your attention, keep you coming back for more, and spend as much screen time as possible on their platform.

Additionally, they often share many similarities with slot machines, making a pleasant notification tone every time you get a new like, share, or follow.

When you see that your latest post on Instagram has been liked hundreds of times overnight, it releases a surge of dopamine within your brain, encouraging you to check your phone again and again and to make a new post as soon as possible.

But remember that your motivation reserves are limited throughout the day. If you have other important tasks you need to get done during the day, you may not have the motivation to do them if you’ve already spent your morning hours on social media.

3. Start With Productivity

Instead, capitalize on your motivation and energy reserves by starting your morning routine with productivity. Most people have a host of things that need to be accomplished each day, and getting started with them in the morning is often the best way to get it done efficiently.

Of course, what this means for you could vary by day, but common examples include:

  • Doing your most important work in the morning
  • Going grocery shopping
  • Cleaning your home
  • Washing the dishes
  • Starting your laundry

Getting to work first thing in the morning may not be the most pleasurable part of your day. But when you get your important tasks handled in the morning, you start your day with a sense of accomplishment. You may find you have more time in the afternoon and evening for pursuing things you enjoy or working on your mental health in other ways.

4. Consider Starting a Morning Exercise Routine

Decades of research have shown that a regular exercise routine can have both physical and mental health benefits. Among countless other positive effects, exercise has been shown to:

  • Reduce anxiety
  • Decrease depressive symptoms
  • Improve sleep
  • Help with focus
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Prevent a number of physical health challenges

Scheduling your exercise as part of a morning routine is often the most effective way of making it a habit. Getting moving in the morning is often much easier than it is in the evening, when energy and motivation levels begin to dissipate.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you need to engage in vigorous, intense workouts to reap the benefits. While going for a run or lifting weights is fantastic, you can get the vast majority of mental health benefits from simply taking a walk or doing light yoga.

5. Get Outside

Getting outside has a number of mental health benefits. There have been several scientific studies showing how exposure to nature can help soothe the mind. Specifically, getting daylight on your skin and into your eyes can dramatically improve mood and energy levels.

Nature exposure is a growing field of academic research. In one recent review, researchers found that a large body of evidence has consistently shown that higher levels of exposure to nature and green spaces are associated with a number of mental health benefits, including:

  • Improved cognitive function
  • Increased physical activity levels
  • Lower levels of stress, depression, and anxiety

Starting your day in these green spaces — whether it be a local park, a trail, or just around your neighborhood — is a great way of building this nature exposure into your morning routine.

But there are several other ways that starting your day outside can be beneficial. For one, it exposes your skin to the sun, which is essential for your body’s production of vitamin D.

Decades of research have shown that people living with depression have significantly lower vitamin D levels and that supplementing vitamin D — or increasing your exposure to sunlight — can alleviate several of your symptoms.

Finally, the morning light plays a key role in regulating your circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is your body’s internal clock and provides an indicator of when to be active, when to rest, and when to sleep. Starting your day with sunlight helps “set” your clock, helping you get better sleep and feel more motivated throughout the day.

6. Meditate

If you don’t already have a meditation practice, building one into your morning routine can be extremely beneficial for your mental health. Meditation and mindfulness practices have been practiced for thousands of years, but only recently has this ancient practice been investigated by researchers in the West.

The results have been incredibly positive, showing that regular meditation can lead to results such as:

  • Lowered anxiety
  • Enhanced focus and concentration
  • Better mood regulation
  • Reduced depressive symptoms
  • Chronic pain relief
  • Reduced cravings in people with substance use disorders

These results have quickly led to mindfulness becoming a core component of multiple new styles of therapy. The so-called “third-wave therapies,” including dialectical behavior therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and mindfulness-based therapy, all include some type of mindfulness practice

These new styles of therapy have proven to be just as or more effective for the most common mental health disorders, and some have even shown dramatic improvements in conditions that were formerly thought of as untreatable.

Mindfulness has more benefits than just symptom relief. Engaging in meditation regularly can provide a number of improvements in well-being and happiness, and it’s as simple as adding ten minutes into your morning routine to sit in meditation.

If you haven’t tried meditation before, here’s a simple form of mindfulness meditation that can help get you started:

  1. Find a comfortable seat
  2. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose
  3. As you exhale, focus your entire attention on the sensations of the breath — from your nose to your chest to your stomach
  4. Try to maintain your focus on just the breath to the exclusion of everything else
  5. If your mind starts to wander, simply refocus your attention on the breath

Try this practice for about ten minutes a day. The benefits of meditation may not show up all at once, but the evidence supports this activity for long-lasting mental health benefits.

As you get more comfortable with mindfulness practice, you can start to apply it in every aspect of your life. Meditation is training for the real world, helping you approach situations completely in the present moment and not let racing thoughts or stressors dictate your actions.

7. Find Professional Help

A morning routine is just one part of a holistic plan for mental health. If you’ve tried several of these tips already and just don’t see the improvement you’d like, consider reaching out to a mental health professional to get more targeted treatment and intervention options.

Modern mental health treatment techniques include a wide range of technologies, techniques, medications, and lifestyle changes that can help support your mental health for years to come. Several common approaches help people with mental health challenges.

Individual Therapy

Working one-on-one with an individual therapist provides the most depth of any treatment intervention. Your therapist can help you dig into the underlying causes of your mental health troubles, provide you with actionable strategies to overcome your symptoms, and be there to support you along every step of your recovery journey.

There are several different therapeutic styles, including:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing
  • Motivational interviewing

Therapy has a long track record of helping people break free from mental health challenges, and it can help you, too.

Medication Management

Several medication options can help people overcome common mental health challenges. But simply getting a prescription often isn’t enough for people to achieve their goals as people’s needs, preferences, and challenges can change over time.

Medication management solves this problem by pairing you with a psychiatrist for you to work with for a more extended period. They can provide you with several medication options, track your progress, and adjust or change your medication as needed.

Ketamine-Assisted Healing

Ketamine is a dissociative psychedelic that has quickly risen to prominence as an effective mental health treatment. Ketamine-assisted healing uses this powerful medicine in conjunction with an extended therapy session, which can lead to rapid breakthroughs in treatment and long-lasting symptom relief.

Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS) uses targeted electromagnetic impulses sent deep into the brain to help alleviate the symptoms of mental health disorders. dTMS is a completely non-invasive, outpatient procedure with minimal side effects and can be used to treat several common mental health challenges.

Stellate Ganglion Blocks

The stellate ganglion is a bundle of nerves located in the upper chest, which serves as a highway for sympathetic nervous system signals.

By having a small dose of local anesthetic applied to these nerves, people living with post-traumatic stress or anxiety disorders can experience rapid relief of their physical symptoms that can last for an exceptionally long time.

Get Started at Plus by APN

If you’re ready to take the next steps toward a lasting mental health recovery, call the team at Plus by APN at 424.644.6486 for a free consultation. Alternatively, you can speak to one of our representatives using the live chat function on our website or by filling out our confidential online contact form.


  • Anglin, Rebecca E. S., et al. “Vitamin D Deficiency and Depression in Adults: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis: The British Journal of Psychiatry.” Cambridge Core, Cambridge University Press, 2 Jan. 2018, www.cambridge.org/core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry/article/vitamin-d-deficiency-and-depression-in-adults-systematic-review-and-metaanalysis/F4E7DFBE5A7B99C9E6430AF472286860.
  • Castañeda TR, de Prado BM, Prieto D, Mora F. Circadian rhythms of dopamine, glutamate and GABA in the striatum and nucleus accumbens of the awake rat: modulation by light. J Pineal Res. 2004 Apr;36(3):177-85. doi: 10.1046/j.1600-079x.2003.00114.x. PMID: 15009508.