The purpose and benefits of morning routines will make or break your mojo for the day. What you do every morning will predict how you will feel, which subsequently will predict how you perform. Most of us get stuck in a routine and we are so married to it that we feel there’s no other choice or not enough time to do anything differently. We have to shower, curl our hair, iron your pants, grab a quick breakfast, brew the coffee, sit in traffic and so on. Now, if you have kids, it’s an even different story because you also have to be a drill sergeant first thing in the morning which already gets your cortisol pumping.
But what if you ironed your clothes the night before? What if you pre-packed a healthy breakfast and didn’t have to worry about it? What if you woke up a smidge earlier than usual, before everyone else in the house, and had your coffee or tea in silence? What would you do with that silence? Even if for thirty minutes you could do one thing, maybe two, maybe three things that would alter your entire day for the better? Here’s a list of things you can add to your morning routine that take anywhere from five minutes to thirty minutes.
1. Drink A Glass of Warm Water
Before anything else, drink a warm glass of water with lemon. Warm lemon water increases liver performance, thus detoxification process which aids in eliminating everything your body processed while you slept! It also improves digestion, can reduce your blood pressure by up to 10%, and re-alkalize your body! Starting your day by eliminating the toxins your liver processed from the previous day is like getting a clean slate! You will feel refreshed, renewed and ready for the day! Bring it!
2. Dry Brush
Dry brush for a few minutes, directing circulation towards the heart. If this is done after drinking your warm lemon water, even better to help move those toxins out of the body more efficiently. Dry brushing can also reduce the appearance of cellulite, increase circulation, thus provide a sense of well-being and energy, as well as release endorphins which enhance the mood significantly.
(photos courtesy of the C.H.E.K Institute)
4. Watch the Sunrise!
Watch the sunrise (outside, barefoot even!) This is known as “grounding”, and is great for resetting your bio-rhythms and giving you an energy boost while lowering stress and anxiety. No really, it gives you energy by relaxing you! Imagine that. Have you heard of sun-gazing? Well to put it simply, the sun is responsible for keeping everything alive through photosynthesis. So if we’re inside all day, whether home or office, and never see the sun, then how do you think we’ll feel? Probably more dead than alive. So wake up a smidge early, go outside and sit next to a tree (without your shoes) and do some sun-gazing while you’re grounding. Then enjoy feeling alive for the rest of the day! P.S. Sun-gazing is known to reduce stress hormones, stimulate the pineal gland, reduce hunger, improve eyesight and increase energy. Just sayin’.
Write in a journal, set your intentions for the day or week, write down what you’re grateful for (even if you don’t have it yet!), and make a list of what you need to do today. “A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War Veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11” – Forbes
Listen to music while you shower, or better yet turn on the “Modern Comedy” station on Pandora! Replace the news with either of these things and notice your mood transition for the entire day! The news, no matter how you receive it (radio, paper, tv) can provoke cynicism and lower your mood, which carries over into everything else you do during the day. Music can enhance the mood and we all know that laughing decreases stress hormones and releases endorphins which boost the immune system and even relieve pain! Watching the news makes you want to punch people. So… take your pick.
Listen to a guided meditation for 5-10 minutes (free on youtube or spotify). You don’t have to live with monks in order to learn meditation. There’s no right or wrong way, nor such a thing as perfection when it comes to meditation. Do you pray? That’s a form of meditation. Do you like to sing or hum while you’re doing something? That’s a form of meditation. But sometimes it’s important to be intentional with it. If you know what you need, that’s information for setting an intention around your meditation. You can search and access hundreds of great, guided meditations on youtube or spotify that range anywhere from 3 minutes to 20 minutes. Turn one one while you’re taking a shower, or better yet, while you’re sun-gazing!
8. Go outside and walk
Go for a walk outside and count how many sounds you hear. Set a timer for 20 minutes and simply walk while tuning all of your senses into the environment. By counting how many sounds you hear, you are shutting off all other stimulation that cause stress. For a few minutes you are able to block that voice inside of you that is enticing you to go back to bed, or to use your free time to beat some traffic, or to remember to switch loads in the laundry room before you leave, or send the check for the school fundraiser with your son today. Shut it all off! Count the sounds, and everyday see if you can get a higher number than the morning before. Birds chirping, garbage truck brakes, school bus, people talking, car horn, dogs barking, a child laughing, someone opening their garage…. etc. Really listen in. You’ll even add some of those sounds to your journal because you are grateful for how they make you feel!
9. Enjoy a Healthy Breakfast
Eat a healthy breakfast, and use all of your senses to enjoy it. We often feel so rushed that breakfast, widely known as the most important meal of the day, gets reduced to some protein or cereal bar you mindlessly crunch on in the car. You can prepare your breakfast the night before and heat it up in the morning (or have some healthy options ready in the freezer). And when you eat, pay attention to the food. What does it feel like and taste like? Does the flavor change as you chew? After you swallow? How does it make you feel after you’ve finished it? Do you feel energized and satiated, or do you feel bloated and lethargic? Our bodies tell us a lot about what we eat, so pay attention because we do become every morsel of food we consume. If we eat more food that is dead (bars, cereals, waffles, pastries, crackers, chips etc) than food that is alive (vital proteins, eggs, plants and fruits), then we’ll likely feel dead.