By Page Grossman
A little bit of structure can go a long way in helping you reach your goals. So when you're trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle, creating a wellness routine can make it easier to stay on track.
A wellness routine is a daily schedule that incorporates all of your healthy habits — like your meal plan, your workout routine, your self-care activities, and a solid night's sleep. The perfect wellness routine will support you on the tough days and give you an extra boost on the best days.
Not sure where to start? Mix and match ideas from the list below to create a customized wellness routine that fits your goals and your schedule. You can always make adjustments until you figure out exactly what works best for you!
Morning Wellness Routine Ideas
These healthy habits can help you start your day off right.
Before you hop out of bed, try this good morning stretch: Reach your arms above your head, stretch your legs out as straight as you can, and expand your rib cage with a deep inhalation. As you exhale, relax. Give your wrists and ankles a roll, and then get out of bed.
Want to make sure you're drinking enough water each day? Drink a tall glass of water as soon as you get out of bed. This simple habit can make it easier to hit your hydration goals.
Even just a few minutes of meditation each day can benefit your overall health, so this definitely deserves a spot in your wellness routine. Try a guided meditation app — like our new Sound Meditation series in the Openfit app — to help you calm your mind and body and feel more balanced.
Get a workout in.
Not only can a morning workout set a healthy tone for the whole day, but it may also improve attention and decision-making skills, which can boost your productivity. You're more likely to stick with exercise that you enjoy, so schedule a workout you'll actually look forward to. That might be:
- a trainer-led workout
- a cycle class
- a barre class
- a brisk walk around the neighborhood
- a yoga class
- a short blast of high-intensity cardio
Not a morning person? No worries — this is your wellness routine, so schedule your workout whenever you can make it happen.
When you head to the fridge in the morning, it can be tempting to grab the first thing you can get into your stomach. Instead, choose a healthy breakfast with a balance of protein, healthy fat, and complex carbohydrates to keep you energized until lunch.
Afternoon Wellness Routine Ideas
Combat the midday slump with these tips for nourishing your mind and body throughout the day.
Your workout shouldn't be the only activity you get during the day. Schedule short movement breaks throughout the day: Walk a few laps around the house, do a few squats at your desk, replace your desk chair with a stability ball, or stream a 15-minute live fitness class.
Supplement your nutrition.
If supplements fit into your nutrition plan, be sure to add them to your wellness routine. Whether it's a Ladder post-workout shake, a Ladder Pre-Workout mix, or Openfit Plant-Based Protein Shake, the right supplements can help your reach your goals more efficiently.
Don't skip lunch.
When your day gets hectic, it can be tempting to work right through lunch. But skipping a meal just means you'll be more likely to raid the pantry for snacks later. Your body will be happier if you stop and eat a well-rounded meal, so try these healthy meal prep lunch ideas and stave off the midday munchies.
Schedule in mini-breaks.
Sure, you could work for 10 hours straight and get up only to use the bathroom or refill your coffee mug. But is that truly healthy for your mind and your body? When creating your personalized wellness routine, build in short breaks throughout the day to increase productivity and creativity. Make a specific plan for how you'll spend your downtime — one study found that engaging in physical activity or relaxation exercises during your break seems to offer a more effective energy boost than an unstructured break (or no break at all). And another study found that walking, in particular, has a positive effect on creative thinking.
When the 3 p.m. slump hits, it can be tempting to go straight to the carbs or sugar. Make sure your wellness routine includes a plan for a mid-afternoon energy boost. That can include:
- a short nap
- a cup of tea of cold brew coffee
- a quick series of stretches you can do at your desk
- an easy yoga inversion, like downward dog or legs up a wall
- a big glass of water — mild dehydration has been linked to fatigue
If there's a scent you love, incorporate it throughout the day. Light a candle in the afternoon when you need a boost. Sprinkle some lavender oil on your sheets before climbing into bed. Take a big whiff of coffee in the morning to wake yourself up. Scent gives you the excuse to take a moment for yourself and be mindful, so stop and smell the roses (or the pumpkin spice, or the lemon verbena).
Create an anxiety-reducing strategy.
If you find yourself feeling anxious during the day (thanks, endless Zoom meetings!) have a few techniques on hand to help you reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Add some of these techniques to your wellness routine when you need to de-stress:
- 60-Second Relaxation Techniques
- 14 Calming Techniques
- 10 Yoga Moves for Anxiety and Depression
- 7 of the Most Effective Stress Management Techniques
End-of-Day Wellness Routine Ideas
Your evening routine should include self-care strategies to help you unwind after a long day.
The blue light emitted by phone, computer, and TV screens can disrupt your body's natural sleep-wake cycle. Your wind-down routine is all about preparing your mind and body for sleep, so schedule a time in your wellness routine to shut down your devices for the night.
A gratitude practice is a great way to celebrate your accomplishments from the day and refocus your mind on happiness. For example, you might make it a habit to write down three things you're grateful for in a gratitude journal before you fall asleep.
Get a solid night's sleep.
Sleep is one of the pillars of good health. And when you don't get enough zzz's, it'll be harder to accomplish the rest of your wellness goals — so make it a priority in your wellness routine. (Try these sleep hygiene tips to get a better night's sleep.)