Mornings can be challenging for some people. Depending on what is going on with your work life, personal life, or even what you had before you went to bed, can affect your morning. No matter what is happening in your life, you can make your mornings more productive, enjoyable, or at least help you get your day started in a more positive way. Many entrepreneurs and top executives all have morning habits or routines they know make them better leaders, healthier and more productive. Check out this Inc article on The Morning Rituals of the Most Successful Entrepreneurs. You’ll see that Richard Branson starts his day with exercise and time with his family and Arianna Huffington starts her day with meditation. Here are five morning habits for a healthier you that you can start doing today.
In my last post I wrote about the importance of stretching. I think many of us stretch unconsciously when we wake up, it’s something that we naturally do. But when I learned how important stretching is and the impact it has on our health, I took it to another level.
When you first wake up in the morning, you always feel a little foggy. You’re just starting to become conscious and it’s the beginning of a new day. Sometimes you need a minute to lay there and let yourself become more awake. This is when you should start stretching.
- Stretch your arms out in front of you and above your head
- Roll a little bit from side to side with your arms above your head
- Then roll to the side in which you will be getting out of bed
- While sitting on the side of your bed, raise one arm up and over to your right side, then your left side
- Stretch your legs out in front of you and circle your feet
- Roll your head from side to side
Now you’re ready to get out of bed.
Recently I also wrote about how you can start meditating today. I know meditation seems like the new cool kid on the block, but there’s a reason why, both from a scientific perspective and from a day-to-day life perspective. In my opinion, the world in which we live today has us working long hours, living a sedentary lifestyle and consuming way too much social media. And if you’re a parent, you are naturally juggling a lot of responsibilities on top of everything else. So when do you have time for yourself? Almost never.
This is when meditation comes in. As I mentioned in my post, it took my a long time with a very skeptical attitude to ever take mediating seriously. Eventually I started doing it a couple of nights a week, but felt it wasn’t effective enough, because many times I would fall asleep.
Then during my yoga teacher training, which was ten days straight, we meditated every morning. It made such a difference, because before anything started, before the day got underway or any yoga began, we quietly meditated.
Now I meditate every morning from Monday to Friday, sometimes adding a Saturday or Sunday. I only do ten minutes, but I love it. Most of the meditation sessions I find on Youtube, but there’s also a few great apps out there like Headspace.
Taking even five minutes in the morning when you first wake up to meditate, will make such a difference. Start adding it as a morning habit, even if you just sit in bed and do it.
Drink a quart of water
It’s been years that we’ve been told to drink eight, eight ounce glasses of water a day. I don’t know about you, but it was always a struggle for me to drink enough water. Finally after learning about the health benefits, I tried my best to drink eight glasses of water, but I still struggled.
Then I read about the benefits of drinking between 16 to 32 ounces of water in the morning. I know it sounds like a lot and believe me to go from barely three to four glasses a day to an entire quart in the morning seemed like a huge leap. What helped me was buying quart-size mason jars. I fill one up before I go to bed and when I wake up and have a good stretch, I drink the whole thing. Sometimes I’ll meditate first, then I’ll drink the quart.
The best part about it is, you get half of the amount of daily water intake in one shot!
Move your body
Whether it’s yoga, pilates, cross-fit, high-intensity interval training, a run or even just a walk, try and move your body in the morning. I know sometimes exercise seems daunting in the morning, but it shouldn’t be. You don’t need to go to a gym for an hour in order to get the body moving, a fifteen to twenty minute workout, run or walk can be just as good.
I know there’s been a lot of discussion about morning versus afternoon or evening workout sessions, but I believe morning exercise is the way to go. Check out Makeyoubodywork.com’s article on the benefits of morning exercise.
After I meditate, I do yoga. I used to go down to my gym to get a workout in, but I started to focus more on yoga and it’s been great. So, it could be yoga, or a brisk morning walk with your dog, or a quick HIIT workout with Bodyrock.tv. There are a ton of great ways to move your body in the morning. Choose one or rotate a couple, and try and do it three times a week.
Stay off your phone
This is probably the most difficult thing to do in the morning. I know many successful people do look at their emails as part of their morning habits. I say don’t do it. If you wake up early enough, it should take you only 30-minutes to get a stretch, meditation session and some exercise in. Then you can look at your phone, check your emails and social media.
When you look at your phone first-thing in the morning, it either consumes unnecessary time or it can cause stress. It’s just not the most positive way to start your day. We spend so much time in front of a screen each and every day, that 30 to 40 minutes in the morning is not a lot to sacrifice for better health and a better day.
Starting tomorrow morning, take a few minutes and add morning habits to your routine. Maybe you start with stretching and water, then slowly incorporate some exercise. See how you feel after a week. I know how much my life, mental and overall health has changed and I know you will feel the same.
How do you start your day? Share your tips and ideas in the comments below.