Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.
What does the ideal morning look like?
In a perfect world, we’re all waking up from a restful sleep with no alarm… luxuriating for an hour with an invigorating yoga practice, some journaling and more than enough time to make a delicious home-cooked breakfast.
Yet more often than not we find ourselves rushing out of the house, scrambling for enough time to grab a bagel and brew coffee.
Observing the morning rituals of ultra successful coaches, nutritionists and entrepreneurs is one of my greatest fascinations. Having looked so deeply into this topic, I noticed so many common themes among those from all walks of life and different professions. I compiled these strategies below as the most valuable and time tested additions to help improve your morning hours!
Do you ever wonder how certain people seem capable of simply doing more, when we all technically have the same number of hours in a day?
It’s a simple matter of getting clear on our priorities, which is intricately connected to how we choose to begin each day.
The beauty here is that every new day is a fresh chance to start cultivating the perfect morning routine.
Truthfully – it won’t come together overnight.
Real, sustained progress happens bit by bit. As much as we are conditioned to crave instant satisfaction, this is actually a good thing. Consistency is what changes our lives for real, long term.
My advice? Pick one or two items from this list and stick with ’em. You can always add to your routine later, but start by being realistic with yourself.
Let’s dive into the best ways to start off your day with a mindful morning…
Try to avoid email and social media for at least one hour. This gives our brain a chance to wake up and make sense of the world, without automatically shifting into the ultra-aware mindset of answering emails and planning what to post later that day.
Have a nice big dose of pure filtered water first thing upon waking!
Pretty obvious right? In all my years as a nutritionist this is one seemingly tiny thing that so many of us overlook.
The morning, especially if we have fully digested our food from the day before, is the best time to hydrate the system. Water is assimilated much slower after we’ve started eating so it’s key to take this time for a few big glasses.
This will likely mean something different for everyone. It could be a sweaty HIIT workout, a simple yoga flow or going for a walk in the fresh air.
There’s an interesting phenomenon often discussed by anatomy experts of a mysterious ‘fuzz’ substance that builds up on the muscles overnight when they’re not in use. The theory states that if we don’t stretch and move the body every morning to help disperse it, over time the fuzz can accumulate and getting rid of it can take much more than simple stretching.
That’s why even taking a few moments to stretch, roll around on the floor (or dancing around the living room to the Spice Girls) is way better than no movement at all!
Gratitude is perhaps one of the most integral items on this list. The more we cultivate a state of gratitude for the blessings we’ve been given, the more readily we can receive what it is that we want to call in. The first step in this direction is making gratitude a part of your lifestyle.
Write down three new things every day that you’re grateful for. Return to these gratitudes at the end of the day, and think about them while going through your evening routine.
The Five Minute Journal is another amazing, and beautifully presented, option to help you cultivate this practice.
Figuring out what meditation might mean for you is a uniquely individual journey. Think you have no time? Well, often what we resist is what we need most, and meditation is no exception.
Start out with an app such as Headspace if you are new to this practice. Also be realistic – you’re not likely to sit there for an hour if you’re brand new! The key is to start small and stay consistent. Try three to five minutes of silence and build up from there.
Links to learn more
As enticing as that aromatic cup of coffee is first thing in the morning, stimulants are actually best consumed an hour or two after waking. Our bodies have an innate cycle of waking gradually, so by consuming caffeine right away we’re jolting the system into action.
Nothing is written in stone here, and of course the timing of everyone’s morning will always be slightly different. Taking the time for the rest of your morning ritual before having a morning beverage is a welcome change of pace, and has the added effect of giving us a little something to look forward to.
There is no shortage of opinions out there about this meal;
Most important meal of the day!
Make sure you eat X grams of protein.
You’ll keel over if you don’t eat something!
I’ve developed a few key guidelines over the years, but the most important thing is to listen to your body;
Keep it light: Save the big greasy breakfast for that weekend hangover! Eating a large meal too early in the day can rob us of necessary vital energy, which makes us more likely to reach for that extra cup of coffee.
Focus on hydrating foods: melon, oranges, fresh fruit and vegetable juices/smoothies are all high in water content, plant fibre and enzymes which support your body in quelling inflammation and the proper digestion of nutrients.
Include a source of bio-available protein: Not just a myth but the focus here is way more about quality than quantity. Having a source of easily absorbed amino acids is a great idea to start our day. A scoop of organic greens powder that includes Spirulina and Chlorella, raw nut butter, a farm raised egg or wild omega-3 rich fish like salmon are a great starting point!
I hope this guide has shed some light on a few new additions to your morning routine!
Having a solid foundation of self-care in the morning issues a powerful ripple effect over the rest of our lives. Ultimately, we are what we do most of the time – so by harnessing the power of daily ritual, the results will speak for themselves.