Deciding to be healthy requires serious commitment, but not to the extent that you feel burdened. If nothing has been working for you up until now, you need to realize where you’re going wrong. A small change like adopting a healthy morning ritual can transform and pace your day and, in the long run, even your life. This is especially useful for those with tight schedules (read: everyone), those suffering from erratic sleep patterns, or even those who consistently have nightmares.
Do you need to follow a sequence? Let’s walk through this together.
More of a night owl? Not really a morning person?
The main problem lies in the time crunch between the time you wake up and the time you start doing your daily tasks. There’s an easy solution. Just wake up early.
Easier said than done, especially for naturally late risers. (You’ve been hitting snooze a hundred times since college, haven’t you?) Don’t even attempt convincing yourself to sleep early so that you rise early. We both know that is not going to happen (targeted at late risers only). Try it the other way round. Install and use a Walk Me Up! alarm clock app or rely on an early riser (think friend or sibling) to pull you out of bed (and bear the brunt of it willingly). Train your mind and body into waking up at the same time everyday, at least 2 hours before you need to work. Your newly tuned circadian clock will make it easier for you.
Don’t reach for your phone, not yet. Don’t you dare.
While you may feel the vital need to check Facebook or your e-mails as soon as you open one eye, it’s in your best interest that you resist this overrated millennial temptation. Checking your phone may sidetrack you from your morning ritual. You may need to instantly reply to a message or perform a work-related task. In this case, ignorance is bliss. It’s important you stick to your morning ritual as each day will demand different things from you, but you must never compromise this self-time. If you do, you will find yourself more often than not overwhelmed and ill.
Yoga yourself out of bed. (15 minutes)
Do some yoga stretches in bed. It gets your blood pumping, warms up your muscles, and mobilizes your well-rested, fixated spine. Give your feet some extra TLC. They help transport you as you progress through the day. You’re allowed to be a little lazy and relax, but ensure you stick to proper alignment of each pose so that you don’t injure yourself. Keeping a belt on your bedside table will come handy.
Overdose on air. (5 minutes)
Open up a window or balcony door. The gust of fresh air will get rid of the grogginess and clean up your lungs (good news for smokers), while pushing your bed hair off your face.
When life throws you lemons, why be an unnecessary rebel? (10 minutes)
Now that you feel a little more awake, wobble to the kitchen. Drink a glass of warm lemon water on an empty stomach. The warmth helps increase your body temperature and, hence, metabolism. Don’t boil the water as it will destroy the minerals and nutrients in lemon. Lemon water will instantly freshen your morning breath and fire up your digestive system. Add some honey if the lemon is too tart for your taste.
Make yourself shower worthy. Get moving. (30 minutes)
Walk your dog.
Who would have thought that spending that little extra quality time with your cuddly pooch could reduce your risks of heart disease, breast and colon cancers, obesity, and diabetes? It is fun and calorie-burning. Needless to say, a great stress buster.
No dog? Cat person? No pet?
Jog or brisk walk in the streets of your neighborhood or in the local park. A good 30 minutes of cardio including quick sprints, jumping rope, aerobics, dancing, or even yoga keeps you fit and gets your endorphin levels (happy hormones) so high, you’ll be smiling all day. (A good habit even if you have a dog.) The importance of daily exercise cannot be emphasized enough.
Take the shower you earned… (15 minutes)
Cold not hot. (Don’t cringe.) A cold shower helps “shock” your body awake, amps up your blood circulation, and relieves you of fatigue. Unlike a hot shower, a cold shower will not dry out your skin and hair.
Now would be a good time to visualize your day. Something like a test drive, but only in your head. It’s no wonder 72% people get their best ideas in the shower. Relaxing alone time unshackles your cluttered mind and allows you to think clearer. The shower space provides the perfect setup for prioritizing tasks for the day. Focus on only five most important things to be done.
Focus on your food while eating breakfast. (20 minutes)
Relish the flavors and textures by chewing slowly. You will feel fuller quicker and will become more aware of what your body needs. Berries, oats, fruit, and bread are a must. Don’t forget to include organic tea for a quick detox. Tea has just the right amount of caffeine to give your gray matter a jump start.
Do whatever makes you happy. (15 minutes)
You are responsible for your own mood. A happier you is a more productive you. Listen to music, read a book, meditate, or just be. A couple of minutes of this can do you a lot of good.
Dress according to your mood. (10 minutes)
Don’t overthink. Don’t spend too much time deciding what to wear, especially since this time can be spent doing something more productive. Making these decisions the previous night is a good practice.
Before you leave home, smile at yourself in the mirror for 30 seconds. This is bound to give your confidence at instant boost.
Your two hours are up. You’re good to go!
Do you need to incorporate these habits in the morning itself? Can’t you do them before you sleep?
Bummer, but no. Not really. The earlier you do them, the more of your day is benefited – dull mornings make dull days and extraordinary ones extraordinary days. And since morning rituals intend to set the tone for the rest of your day, it’s best you allocate self time in the morning itself. Get your self care over and done with. It helps you not stress over your to-do list. Also, unwinding at the end of the day is a different story all together!
Better time management and a little self-loving is all you need for a great start every day.