The best morning routine is one that prepares you both mentally and physically for the day ahead.
Fear not! Achieving this goal is simpler than it sounds...
Waking Up Well
What is the first thing you do after you wake up? Hint: It shouldn’t be checking your phone! Picking up tech as soon as you open your eyes leads to increased stress and anxiety, hijacks your time and attention at a crucial time of day and primes your brain for distraction.
Instead, you should probably be reaching over to grab a big glass of water – preferably with some added lemon juice or coconut water. After being asleep for *hopefully* 6-8 hours, your body can become quite dehydrated. Gulping down a big glass of H2O with some added minerals such as those found in lemon juice or coconut water will help you to get ahead of your hydration needs. Proper hydration is vital to ensure sustained energy levels, focus and good health in general.
If you share your bed with a partner and wake up before them, why not make their morning extra special with a kiss, a tickle or some affectionate whispers? This is great way to stimulate endorphins, strengthen your bond and most importantly – it’s a heck of a lot better than an alarm clock! You might also soon find that you are receiving more of these romantic wake-up calls yourself.
Creating Healthy Habits
While drinking water is almost certainly the best first thing you can do each day, the next steps are far more customisable. Do some trial and error to see what works best for you.
If you have kids that love waking you up early, you can integrate them into your morning routine. This will help them to learn good habits from an early age and make it substantially easier for you to start your day off in whatever way makes you feel great.
One popular and highly effective practice is starting your day with a cold shower (or at least starting your shower cold). A daily dose of cold water has been proven to increase alertness, reduce stress and even aid with weight loss!
Most of us scoff at this idea, as if it something only a lunatic would do. It’s certainly true that the first few days will be a shock to the system, but that’s the whole point. Many people who try this method soon become addicted to the rush of alertness that washes over you almost as quickly as the water. Besides, the hot tap is only an arms length away.
Breathing, Movement and Meditation
Learning a few breathing techniques can also be an amazing help in the morning and throughout the day. This can include something as simple as just closing your eyes and focusing on the rhythm of your breath. Conscious breathing and meditation are surefire ways to reduce stress, increase focus and promote a feeling of general well-being. Taking a few moments to close your eyes and breathe is also a great opportunity to visualize yourself completing important tasks or overcoming challenges that lay ahead.
Stretching, yoga or any form of light to moderate exercise will provide similar benefits. Just a simple Child’s pose, a couple of Sun Salutations or a short walk is more than enough. If you prefer something a little more intense or have a flexible schedule, try signing up for a class, sports team or the gym. Getting involved in team sports or activities will help you to build a sense of camaraderie and belonging. There is just as much benefit in going it alone. Individual sports are great for developing discipline, confidence and self-reliance. It’s hard to go wrong with this step. Get creative or simply enjoy whatever exercises feel right for you.
The Importance of Breakfast
Try to finish off your morning routine with a healthy breakfast. Once again, you can decide what works best for you. Try to avoid ‘heavy’ foods such as meat and bread. Smoothies, whole grain cereals and fruits are all great ways to get lasting energy and are also easy on the digestive system.
It’s best to stick to small or moderate portions when eating early in the day. This is because the digestive system, like the rest of your body, takes some time to get up to full speed. If you burn a lot of calories during your morning workout, be sure to replace them with a healthy meal that gives your body and mind the fuel they need to power you to success.
Maintaining a Healthy Morning Routine
Making a list that you can stick on your wall or roof will help you to take these ideas from dream to routine. Seeing your goals every day as you wake up is the best way to stay motivated as you build new habits.
Forming (or breaking) a habit usually takes around 60 days. This means that you will need to be extra conscious for the first couple of months as you build your new routine. The good news is that you will soon find that these good habits have become just as ingrained as any of the bad ones you once struggled to shake.
Finally, always remember that the best morning routine is the one that works for
you in the moment you need it. Life is in constant flux. If you can find
the balance between building a healthy routine while still being open
to change, good days await.