Morning Rituals for Mental Health - Justin Lioi, LCSW - Brooklyn, NY

Do you have a morning ritual? Do you think a morning ritual for mental health is real or is it just a catchy blog post title (or not so catchy)?

I love setting up my day. I like that it starts early and it can be more productive because there are so fewer distractions at that time. Many of the men I work with speak about habits they’d like to make, but struggle with breaking old ones to make time for new ones.

Self-judgment is one of the most soul killing thing we do and I find that when I don’t do things I set out to do, the self-judgment comes up pretty strong. Morning rituals have helped with this because I put all those things I say I want to do at the start of the day. Then, no matter what craziness my day brings, I can still go to sleep that night knowing that I accomplished the stuff that I promised myself I’d be better at getting done.

Finding Time

Now, this is different for everyone. I know that I wanted to make more time for reading, I wanted to journal more often, and I wanted to find some time for mindfulness. (Have you heard the saying, “If you’re busy meditate for a half hour a day; if you’re too busy to meditate, do it for an hour.” Ha!)

Well, these can fit into an hour/hour and a half easily, and this means I’m finding that time in the morning.

Ok, I’m lucky, I’m a morning person and I like being up before others. If you’re not so “lucky” investigate whether there is time for your day to start later?

Having kids, a job, etc. all of this can make finding this time more difficult, but I still say it’s worth it.

Morning Rituals—for Mental Health???

How’s this connected to mental health?

Have you felt stuck? In a rut? Or that you’re losing “you” as you prioritize what everyone else wants? Well, finding some time for just you, doing just what you want, can remind you of who you are. It can model–if you have children–that we all benefit from our own time (bonus points if your morning rituals for mental health don’t include screens and your children know that dad can spend time without an electronic device). And if you start forming the habits for doing what you’ve wanted to do more of you are going to feel a sense of accomplishment. If you have other goals, nothing makes you feel like you’re more able to achieve them than “being on a role” and starting with some success.

Oh, and start small. Maybe 15 minutes earlier to do some pushups. Maybe 5 minutes earlier in order to take 10 deep breaths. Build up slowly and watch how you feel more competent as time goes by.

And share! In the comments below let me know what changes you’re making and if your morning rituals for mental health are helping.

As always, if you’ve been considering treatment and want to talk more about that specifically, please get in contact and we can schedule your 15 minute free consultation.

Justin Lioi, LCSW is a men’s mental health and relationship expert based in Brooklyn, NY (and online throughout New York State and internationally.) He received his degree from New York University and has been working in family and men’s counseling for over 10 years. Justin is on the Board of the National Association of Social Workers and writes a weekly column for the Good Men Project called Unmasking Masculinity. He can be found on local and national podcasts talking about assertiveness, anger, self-compassion, all with the goal of becoming the man you want to be.