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Mental Health

Morning routines: this 5-step method could help you to build a routine that sticks

Looking for a new morning routine to introduce into your life as we move into 2022? The SHINE method could be exactly what you’re looking for.

It’s a well-known fact that the morning is one of the most important times of the day. Not only does it mark the transition from sleeping to being awake, but the activities you do in the morning – from the type of breakfast you eat to how many times you snooze your alarm – can have ramifications for how you feel for the rest of the day.

The only problem? Over the last couple of years, the idea of what constitutes a ‘good’ morning routine has become rather warped – thanks in no small part to social media

These days, it’s not unusual to see influencers shouting about a routine in which they get up at 4am and do hours of exercise and meditation before they start work.

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While following that kind of routine isn’t necessarily harmful, it’s also not realistic for the majority of us – and having such an unrealistic expectation of what a morning routine ‘should’ look like can make the idea of building one feel overwhelming. 

But routines don’t need to be complicated, time-consuming and extreme to be beneficial – and that’s where the SHINE method comes in. 

The method – outlined by psychologist Kate Oliver and therapist Toby Oliver in their new book Rise And Shine: How To Transform Your Life, Morning By Morning – stands for the five key ingredients that are integral to any morning routine: silence, happiness, intention, nourishment and exercise.  

Rise And Shine: How To Transform Your Life, Morning By Morning cover
Rise And Shine: How To Transform Your Life, Morning By Morning by Kate Oliver and Toby Oliver.

“We came up with SHINE because we both found that taking charge of our mornings helped us to take charge of our lives and turn things around when we were struggling,” Toby explains. “Transforming our mornings helped us to feel happier and experience a greater sense of wellbeing, as well as achieve more of the things we wanted to do.”

The key premise behind the SHINE method is simplicity. There are multiple ways to practice each aspect of the SHINE method – for example, happiness could involve doing anything that helps to boost your mood – allowing readers to put together a morning routine that suits them and their circumstances.

“The idea when writing the book was to create a menu of things that people could choose from, so it wasn’t one size fits all,” Kate says. “In fact, in one of the chapters of the book, we help people to think about particular challenges that they might have in their lives and what particular combination of practices would work for them.” 

The five key aspects of the SHINE method

Silence: finding a way to create space for stillness, reflection peace and solitude before the day begins

Happiness: doing something that’ll boost your mood and put you in a positive mindset

Intention: being purposeful about what you want the day to look like and what’s important

Nourishment: feeding your body and mind for energy and focus

Exercise: moving your body to warm up for the day

How to incorporate the SHINE method into your life 

While the book goes into more detail about the ways in which you can incorporate the SHINE method into your life, Kate says her number one tip for people who want to get started would be to start small and build your routine gradually.

“It can be really daunting to tell yourself you need to do loads of things different and completely change your mornings, but if you tell yourself to put five minutes aside and do one thing differently, that’s a lot more doable,” she explains. 

“Then, you might start to notice the difference it makes, which will give you the motivation to change something else further down the line.” 

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Toby also recommends remembering why you wanted to build a new morning routine in the first place – do you want to feel more positive, energised or motivated, for example?

“We all have a morning routine – even those people who don’t say they have a morning routine have to get ready for the day and build habits that they might do every morning, like snoozing their alarm or jumping in the shower 10 minutes late,” he says.

“However, if you consciously choose your routine, then you’re consciously choosing to prime your body, mind and emotions for the rest of the day. It’s like putting on the right clothes – if we set ourselves up right, we can give ourselves the best chance of having a successful 24 hours and a positive mindset which will grow and amplify as we move through the day.” 

Rise And Shine: How To Transform Your Life, Morning By Morning is out now

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Images: Getty/Piatkus