The best part about an effective morning routine is when it becomes just that: a routine that you don’t have to think about in order to do daily. But for any morning routine to become a habit, you want to make sure that you have the right ingredients to feel the benefits.
While it typically takes time to look and feel better, the effort will be worth it as the benefits last for a long time.
Let’s look at some essentials that you will want to incorporate into your morning routine to get you started strong every morning.
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Step 1: Make the most of your clear head
When you first wake up, your mind is at its best. Early morning is a time when you can make the most of a clear head to sit quietly and craft your day in your mind. What do you want to accomplish most today? What is the one thing that would make you feel great if you got it done today?
You can also run through the day’s schedule, but remember to do so mindfully and without judgment.
You could think about positive actions you want to take throughout the day: who do you want to do something for or contribute to? How do you want to feel today? Make it fun!
Step 2: Hydrate
Drink 1-2 glasses of lemon water to hydrate your body. During sleep, your body spends a lot of time working hard to absorb nutrients that you’ve taken in during the day and evening, so make sure you hydrate to help with the morning cleansing process.
Drinking water not only benefits your body but can help improve your mood and have a calming effect. Research shows that being dehydrated can impact your mood negatively.
Adding that little bit of lemon to your water provides many extra benefits, including:
- Lemon gives you a burst of vitamin C
- Lemon can help improve your skin tone
- Lemon can aid in digestion and help avoid constipation
- The antioxidants in lemon juice can improve heart health and fat metabolism.
Step 3: Get moving
Exercise is essential for overall well-being, and working out on an empty stomach in the morning can help you burn up to 20% more body fat than if you were to do the same amount of exercise later in the day after having eaten. An excellent reason to get moving!
By choosing to work out first thing in the morning, you’ll be able to enjoy extra energy for the day ahead. And if you usually feel tired in the morning and consider yourself more of a night owl, the good news is that your body becomes used to morning exercise when you do it regularly. It’s just a question of perseverance and finding the right workout for you.
Another way to help you wake up if you are typically sleepy in the morning is to do your workout outdoors. Studies show that exposing yourself to sunlight first thing in the morning helps set your body’s natural circadian rhythm by literally letting it know that it’s morning and, therefore, time to be awake!
The most effective exercise first thing in the morning incorporates 30 minutes of cardio. You can do cardio workouts at home using your body weight very effectively, so you don’t need to go out to the gym unless you want to!
Cardio doesn’t have to involve lots of jumping. You can get your heart pumping by doing alternating lunges, pushups, mountain climbers, and various other exercises.
There are many workouts online that you can try. Here are some suggestions for using your body weight, some without equipment, and some using a resistance band. All of them can be done at home, so no excuses!
Step 4: Brew your coffee (but don’t drink it yet)
If you are a coffee drinker, brew your coffee while you go on to step five. Let it brew for a while, but don’t drink it right away.
Why? Because while we’re awake for the first hour, our bodies manufacture a kind of natural caffeine called cortisol (a hormone).
Drinking coffee during that time can lessen the effects of cortisol, so you’re working against yourself. Wait for an hour so that your cortisol levels have already peaked before you drink your morning brew.
Step 5: Prepare a good breakfast… or not
A good breakfast should contain protein, fiber, and healthy fats – rather than unrefined carbs, which most of us ingest in our bagels, muffins, cereal, and pancakes. Try eggs with fresh tomato salsa and avocado, or some Greek yogurt (make sure it doesn’t contain sugar) with nuts, a green juice (with dark green leaves for protein), or a smoothie.
If you enjoy fruit smoothies, you can prioritize low carb fruits such as berries, and blend them with protein powder (vegan, if you wish) and your favorite nut milk – your healthy fat. Add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed, and you’ve got your fiber. You can take this with you if you like to have breakfast on the go. Sorted!
Some people prefer intermittent fasting rather than eating first thing in the morning. If this is you, help yourself to a soothing and energizing drink such as green tea, and then eat from 12 noon till 7 pm.
Most people who do an intermittent fast eat up until 8 pm, but ideally, you don’t want to eat any later than 7 pm to give your body plenty of time to digest food before going to bed.
Intermittent fasting can be just as beneficial for weight loss as traditional diets since you are giving your body a rest in the morning when it is cleansing itself. Studies in animals have also shown other benefits, such as prolonging life and reducing the risk of some forms of cancer. However, these studies have not been done with humans yet.
Step 6: Find ways to be kind to yourself
Throughout the morning – and the rest of the day – find ways to be kind to yourself. Any effective morning routine should be undertaken out of love for yourself rather than any desire to lose weight or look different. Studies have found that women succeed best at morning wellness routines when doing it for quality of life reasons rather than just aesthetic ones.
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Know, however, that your morning routine will have you glowing in no time!