The way you start your day sets the tone for the rest of your waking hours. Starting your day “on the right foot” and not “on the wrong side of the bed” are phrases we commonly throw around but are actually essential for your overall wellbeing. Even if you’re not a naturally inclined “morning person,” you can make small incremental shifts to make your mornings more calm and nourishing and set the groundwork for a successful day (and life!)
Consider these two options:
Scenario A: You wake up to a loud, obnoxious-sounding alarm clock, exhausted, and press snooze over and over until the last possible minute that gives you just enough time to get frantically get ready for work and drink an instant coffee during your stressful, rushed drive to the office.
Scenario B: You wake up to a peaceful-sounding (but loud enough to wake you) alarm clock, refreshed and ready to wake up and start the day. You make a fresh cup of coffee and scramble some eggs and sit down to savour each bite. You get dressed, and leave the house with plenty of time to make it to work, parking a few blocks away to get a brisk morning stroll in before you arrive at the office.
What sounds better?
Now, we understand that attaining scenario B requires some forethought and preparation, and it’s not realistic to sustainably shift from A to B overnight. But you can create an ideal morning routine vision for yourself, and make small daily shifts to implement these habits.
Here are six practices to consider adding to your morning routine to set yourself up for a wonderful day:
- Develop a morning ritual that you genuinely look forward to. For most of us, this ritual is coffee. Even if you’re already a coffee drinker, can you make this act more intentional? Really savour the experience of grinding the beans, pouring the hot water, taking the first sip. Be present to it and honour the experience. If you can be present during your cup of coffee, you are developing the skills to be present in other aspects of your life as well.
- Meditate. Sit cross-legged on a cushion or in a comfortable chair and focus on your breath for 15 minutes (or even two minutes). Meditation is about noticing your thoughts as they pass through your mind, and coming back to your breath, over and over. Try these 20 practical meditation tips for beginners to help get you going.
- Move your body. Whether it’s going to the gym for a full workout (which feels great first thing in the AM!) or just giving yourself 3 extra minutes to do some simple stretches in bed first thing, moving your body is essential upon waking, especially if you’re going to be sitting at a desk all day.
- Hydrate. First thing, drink a big glass of water. The body becomes dehydrated overnight and we must combat this in the morning and replenish our system. Better yet, drink a big glass of warm water with fresh lemon juice squeezed into it.
- Eat a balanced breakfast. If you want to have a productive and joyful day, what you put into your body first thing is paramount. Consider trying some of these 39 healthy breakfasts for busy mornings recipes, rather than feeling rushed and reaching for a sugar-packed granola bar. If you’re not someone who gets hungry first thing in the morning, don’t rush it. Proponents of intermittent fasting would suggest holding off eating until your body tells you it’s hungry.
- Get to bed earlier. Whatever rituals and activities you want to add to your morning routine, this step is crucial. Realistically, you’re not going to get out of bed if you haven’t caught enough Z’s. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and try to not eat for a couple of hours prior to bedtime to allow your body to start to shut down for rest and relaxation.
Lastly, make this a commitment. Once you make the choice to rise earlier and engage in a more intentional morning, your body will follow suit and it will all unfold easily. Try it out for a few weeks, see how your days start to shift, and let us know how it goes!