Most of us wake up in the morning and immediately look at our phones. Checking emails or texts. Interacting with kids, spouses, or roommates immediately. We feel rushed, stressed and approach the day reactively. However, taking the time to start your day right will help you complete your day proactively, productively, and with purpose.
It is possible to gain some sanity and balance by adding just a few intentional practices to your day. Check out my top 10 ideas below, practice them all or just add one or two and experience the change in your own life, today!
1) Set an Alarm Across the Room
As annoying as this is, it can sometimes be the act of just forcing yourself out of bed, that’s all you need to be up and at ’em! Get up turn your alarm off, and go do something- get a glass of water, go to the bathroom. It will make it all the easier once you’re up to stay up, rather than just hit ignore on your alarm 5 million times.
2) Unplug for 60 mins
Rather than starting your day scrolling through the news, social media, emails, texts- take some time away from your phone. Instead of responding to other people right away, and reacting to the day, take this time to unplug. Focus on yourself and recenter on your goals for the day. This will help you be more productive and proactive during your day, and make space to accomplish what’s important to you.
3) Journal for 2-15 mins
Journaling is an awesome practice. It’s a time to get in contact with your own thoughts. What’s on your mind, what are your worries for the day, and how do you plan and hope to approach them?
An easy journaling practice that can take as little as 2 minutes to accomplish, is simply writing down your top 3 goals for the day. Your goals may include what you’d like to accomplish during your day, something you’d like to practice as a habit, an attitude adjustment, or writing down big long-term goals. Taking time to focus on the big picture, will help orient your mind to take the actions necessary to get you there.
4) Meditate or Pray for 2-10 mins
If you want to refocus your energy positively, depending on your preference, both meditation or prayer are great ways to do so.
Many people think that meditation is clearing your mind of all thoughts, but there are many ways to practice meditation. Meditation can be about getting clear on what you want, finding peace and more. Both meditation and prayer are practices that get your brain firing, connecting with higher thoughts, hopes, and dreams, as well as considering those around you.
5) Exercise for 10-45 mins
Get up, and get your blood pumping! Exercise is such an important part of a balanced lifestyle. Working out in the AM will free up your evening. Plus accomplishing something big in the morning will make you feel motivated and able to accomplish more throughout the rest of your day.
If you don’t have time for a full workout- just 10 minutes of exercise can make a difference and start accruing benefits. Check out this quick 10 Minute Full Body Blast to help start your day off right!
6) Set Aside 30 mins for Yourself
Do you have a big goal or passion project you’d like to spend time on? The early morning is a great time to find space and a quiet place to work on something big! Plus focusing on your project you’d like to achieve will give you excitement, passion, and warmth that will carry you throughout your day with purpose.
7) Consume a Balanced Breakfast
Beginning your day with a meal that will power your body and brain will help you have the best day possible. A balanced breakfast is proven to improve concentration, memory and cognitive performance. Preparing you to attack your goals with your brain working at it’s highest capacity. Aim for a meal with low GI Carbs and protein.
Low GI Carbs provide a slow releasing energy that lasts longer, with fiber that keeps you feeling full. Try whole grains like oats, buckwheat, or rye, as well as fruits and vegetables. Protein releases a hormone that keeps you feeling full and will fuel your cells. Some great sources of protein for breakfast include eggs, nuts, seeds, yogurt (Trader Joes Icelandic has a huge amount of protein with no added sugars- your welcome), smoked salmon, nut butter, etc.
8) Take a Cold Shower
Okay, for most of us taking our whole shower in the cold sounds absolutely miserable. But there’s something about a cold shower that does really awaken the senses. Try taking your shower as usual but shifting the water to cold for the last 30-60 seconds. Take slow deep breaths, and splash your face with a little cool water. You might hate it, or you might love the way it makes you feel- worth a shot. I personally enjoy it, especially on these hot summer days.
9) Drink 1-2 Cups of Water
After sleeping for the night, we often wake up dehydrated. Start the day with a few cups of water. It’s important to be intentional about hydrating throughout the day. You should be drinking at least 8 cups of water a day for proper hydration. Plus, with exercise or on especially hot days, you’ll need even more. Starting your day with water will and leave your body and skin feeling rejuvenated and set the tone for your day.
10) Listen to Inspiring Podcasts or Music While Getting Ready
You have to get ready for your day either way- might as well enjoy and make use of that time by listening to some music or inspiring podcasts. As for podcasts, everyone has their own taste but there’s something out there to make any and everyone think outside of the box.
If you don’t know where to start, just open up the Podcast app, and browse the top charts! Look for things that interest you. On my phone right now I’m subscribed to a few different podcasts- the Podcast from my favorite church in Portland called Bridgetown Audio Podcast, NPR How I Built This, Armchair Expert with Dax Shepherd, RISE Podcast, My Favorite Murder- guys there is stuff for everyone if you dig through lists of podcasts. Find out what people are saying about your passions! It’s cool to hear and it inspires your thoughts, gets you thinking creatively or differently.
I hope you guys enjoy these recommendations for improving your morning routine. I personally love mornings- whether I’m up early for a workout, to focus on something I’m currently passionate about, or just taking time to rejuvenate and recharge before I attack the day- making time for myself in the morning has drastically improved my mental health and happiness in my own life. Sure, it’s hard to drag myself out of bed some days, but it’s worth it!