Morning rituals to help kick-start your day.

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Kick-start your day with these simple habits

Waking up in the morning can be difficult, but having ritual of some kind could help you start your day with more energy.

By Boitumelo Mmakou

Your alarm clock goes off and you immediately feel the troubles of the day pile up. Suddenly you’re overwhelmed with all the work that seems impossible to get done. Having a morning ritual can be helpful to your mental health. Clinical psychologist from the South African Depression and Anxiety Group, Dr Colinda Linde recommends these five morning routines to help you get through the day.

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Be alarmed. Make sure you set your alarm clock the night before, or set it to repeat if you wake up at the same time; it will help you get out of bed if you usually struggle. Your body can get used to waking up at a certain time, and in the long run, you may not even need to use your alarm.

Prep the night before. Before going to bed at night, write down what you wish to get done the next day. Plan everything – what you will eat for breakfast, the routes you will take to work and your tasks for that day. This should put less pressure on you when you wake up. Read the plan in the morning and try to follow it as it is written.

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Meditation. A five-year study done by psychiatrist John Denninger at Harvard Medical School shows eight weeks of 12 to 20 minutes meditation a day produces a significant 43% increase in telomerase which has enzymes that slow down the aging of your cells. So start with a breathing exercise, yoga or prayer, you will have less stress when starting the day.

Eat your breakfast. Breakfast is likely to improve mental function related to memory. By eating a healthy breakfast every morning, you can help yourself have a productive day, think clearer and smarter.

Exercise. Studies by the South African Heart Association show that moderate exercise, such as taking a walk, reduces risk of stroke by 20% in moderately active people and by 27% in those who are highly active. It’s recommended that you start your day with a 30-minute exercise or activity five days a week. This will be good for both your mental well-being and fitness.