Starting your day with a consistent morning routine is essential to a successful day. How you go about your morning will affect your energy levels, hormone production, digestion, and overall well being throughout the day.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to the best way to start your day, we’ll share some of our favorite morning behaviors that you can try implementing into your routine.
1. Wake up at a consistent time
If you take one thing away from the blog, let it be introducing consistency to your wake time. An uninterrupted 7-8 hours of sleep per night is essential for acuity, performance, and health, but to get the best quality for your time spent in bed it’s important to make your sleep and wake times consistent. This means not only setting an alarm to wake up at the same time each morning, but also getting into bed and falling asleep at the same time each night (even on weekends!).
Skeptical? Try it for a month (10pm to 6am works well for many of our clients) and notice how it affects your energy, mood, digestion, etc. We bet you’ll feel like a new person. For more tips on sleep quality read this blog.
2. Drink water
It’s not a secret that water is essential to life and your body’s internal functions. Drinking 12-16 ounces of H2O first thing in the morning is a good kickstart to daily hydration. Aim to follow it up by drinking half your body weight in ounces of water throughout the day. Adding a pinch of Himalayan salt and a squeeze of lemon may be a nice addition to this morning ritual. Read more about how to hydrate and why it’s important in this blog.
3. Eat a balanced breakfast
We’re not going to get into the benefits of breakfast versus fasting. If you are starting your day with a morning meal, then you need to make sure it’s setting you up for stable blood sugar, satiety, and energy for the rest of the day.
In practice, this means making sure you have a good source of protein, some healthy fats, and some fruit or veggies for micronutrients. If you train in the morning then an additional starchy carb may help support your goals too. Examples of a well-balanced breakfast include scrambled eggs, avocado, peppers and onions, or a smoothie with whey protein, nut butter, berries, and spinach.
Rather than checking your emails and scrolling social media first thing, try to use a little bit of quiet time in the morning to read or listen to an audiobook or podcast. Starting the day by feeding your mind with some fiction or nonfiction, even for just 10 minutes, is a joyful and productive way to relax in the morning.
5. Practice mindfulness
If you’ve been thinking about implementing a mindfulness practice such as meditation or journaling but just haven’t followed through, we’d argue there’s no better time than first thing in the morning before the daily excuses start piling up. Morning meditation may help you reduce stress and anxiety, improve your emotional health, and help you start the day with a positive mindset.
6. Move your body
We love all the behaviors on this list, but morning movement may just be our favorite. This doesn’t have to be training in the gym (though studies show that exercise compliance is higher among those who train in the morning).
Heading outdoors for an unplugged walk either solo or with family, jumping on your bike for an early morning ride, or spending 15 minutes stretching are all great ways to promote blood flow, ramp up your metabolism, and get some endorphins flowing for the day ahead. This morning movement may even double as mindfulness, especially if you can enjoy some reflection in nature.
7. Set your daily intent
Life may be busy, but taking time to reflect on your intentions for the day is a good way to introduce some calm and control to your morning. Take 5 minutes to jot down your intentions for the day—to be kind to your spouse, to be productive at work, or to avoid stressing over the actions of others. Set the tone for your day and the behaviors you want to be mindful of.
8. Plan specific goals
As well as overarching daily intentions, setting specific goals and to-dos for the day will help you be efficient and organized. This may include assigning time blocks on your calendar to work on certain projects at work, writing a list of tasks you need to complete, and assigning priorities to each task. You can also take a moment to reflect on your long-term goals and how your actions for the day are aligned to them. If something feels off, now’s your chance to recalibrate.
This list of behaviors is just a starting point for you to brainstorm on how you can best set your morning routine up to serve you. If right now your mornings are chaotic and inconsistent, then start with just one item from the list above and only introduce the next behavior once the first one has become a habit.
For support designing not only your morning routine, but also your behaviors for the day, contact us. OPEX Morgantown aligns exercise with holistic lifestyle and nutrition programs, to make sure every facet of your life supports your fitness goals.