How you start the day feeds the momentum, mood, and productivity of the rest of your day. And over time, that energy in the morning starts to mirror the energy of your life.
These are 7 healthy morning habits to start the day on the right foot and carry positive and healthy energy through the rest of your day. I partnered with Adidas to share my strategies for staying mentally and physically fit with daily movement, even in quarantine.
Who doesn't want that!?
1) Wake up with enough time that you don't have to stress
There's nothing worse than a hectic morning rush that turns into a frantic day.
You can prevent that by planning ahead and giving yourself just a little extra time in the morning to make sure you are ready on time and stress-free.
Turn Snoozing into Meditation
If you're a snoozer, give yourself 5 -10 minutes of peaceful meditation to slowly arise. This doesn't have to be fancy. You can just close your eyes and focus on your breath. Not only will it increase dopamine, but you'll also feel more centered and able to tackle stressful situations.
Add in some thoughts of gratitude to up-level the experience and bring more calm to your day!
If you instantly jump out of bed at the alarm, try sitting on the floor for a few minutes to center yourself, focusing on the rise and fall of your breath and bringing a sense of calm to body and mind.
2) Take 5 minutes to set intentions
The goal of setting your intentions is to make sure you are perfectly clear on what would make today great.
This could include those personal things you want to accomplish to fill your cup, like a morning walk, hitting the gym, or unwinding with friends at the end of the night.
It must also include those hard-to-do tasks that you just need to get done!
Visualize what ending the perfect day looks like
Identifying your goals each morning helps to make sure you know what you need to do and how to structure your day.
It also sets you up for success for that glorious moment at the end of the day where you say, man, that was a good day and I got everything I needed to complete done! I feel good!
Sometimes that "good" feeling at the end of the day requires some pre-planning.
3) Tackle the hardest thing first
What's that thing you know you need to do today that you just don't want to do? That thing that hangs over your head like a cloud, making you feel guilty about other tasks because you know you should be doing that less-fun thing?
Do that thing now! Get it over with.
That task is exactly what you should do first.
Or at least initiate!
Take one step to move it forward and you are guaranteed to feel more relieved throughout the day and accomplished at the end of the day. Just as importantly, it won't be hanging over your head so you'll enter the other activities with less stress and more pleasure.
4) Get Moving!
No matter what level of fitness you are at, it's important to get the blood flowing. The mind-body connection is strong and exercising our muscles can help liven up the brain.
This is especially important in our new normal where work and home-life blur together for a lot of us. And we are likely spending more time than ever sitting.
Some of my favorite ways to get moving
- Walk the dog
- Run with the dog
- Play fetch with the dog (notice a theme? haha)
- Daily morning walk
- Do some playful inversions
- A little Yin stretching
- Sun salutations
Get comfy, look cute, and help the planet while moving
Dress for success
Just putting on athletic gear and sneakers will make you more likely to move more. So make sure to dress for success when it comes to the movement category.
I know if I wear sandals, my morning walk never turns into a run. But if I don sneakers and a sports bra, I'll often find myself wanting to break out into a jog, and it feels good!
Choose eco-friendly brands
As you know, most plastics can't be recycled and end up in our waterways and eventually our food. Gross!
The important part is to make this healthy morning habit consistent
Getting a daily walk or light jog into your routine gets the blood flowing, helps stimulate the circadian rhythms through sun exposure, and can give you endorphins to enjoy the rest of the day.
While Adidas sponsored this post, all opinions are my own.
The best time to read and really digest information through a new light, I've found, is in the morning.
This is the perfect time to keep up to date on current events or read a little bit about a new skill you want to learn.
It kind of goes along with advice number 3: if you want to make time for something, the best time is in the morning. Tasks scheduled for later in the day are more likely to get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list and not get done.
While taking your morning walk or drive to the office, pop on a podcast about a hobby you're learning or about current events, like NPR's up first.
While you're sipping your morning coffee, read the newspaper, the Skimm, or your favorite subreddit to stay abreast of what's happening in the world.
This also calms your curious mind.
Get a little taste in the morning so it's out of the way and you can focus on work or other priorities the rest of the day.
Make time to spend with your loved ones, whether that's your kids, your partner, your roommate, or your fur buddy.
Physical contact like a hug can spike oxytocin which can leave you feeling happy and good all day long. Phone conversations with a good laugh or two can trigger an endorphin release which also makes you feel good.
And don't worry. If no one's home you can still get the mood-boost from simply calling a friend for a little morning chat.
I love to spend some quality time with my husband and then steal all the cuddles from my less than eager-to-cuddle puppy every morning. It just sets the day up for success!
7) Get Outside
Increase your happy hormones
Research from 2008 suggests that getting outside sun exposure can increase both serotonin and endorphins, two feel-good hormones that trigger feelings of happiness.
Get Vitamin D
We are living in a world where most people are deficient in Vitamin D, yet it is the one mineral we can synthesize from sun exposure. And vitamin D is responsible for at least 1,000 different genes governing nearly every body tissue. So it's not good to be deficient.
So the cure, according to this study, could be chronic sun exposure. That means a consistent amount of sun exposure each day! Aim for 15-30 minutes per day each morning.
Stimulate your circadian rhythms, naturally!
A little sun exposure at first light helps to notify your body that it is daylight and time to be awake, stabilizing our circadian rhythms.
The sun can trigger different pathways that stimulate your body's wake/sleep cycles and help you have energy at the right time of day. The flip side is they can make it easier to naturally fall into a restful sleep in the evenings.
Putting it all together for a healthy morning ritual
The first moments of my day are spent peacefully in bed, setting intentions and goals for the day, and quieting my mind through mediation.
Then I like to start each day getting outside with my pup Argus to move, get sun exposure, boost vitamin D, and trigger my wake cycles. If I'm up early enough, I leave my sunglasses at home so I can get natural sun exposure. Somedays we jog, and somedays we walk. It all depends on my intentions and energy for the day.
Then I make a nourishing meal, tackle the hardest stuff first, and enjoy the rest of the day!
Healthy Morning Habits
- Build in time
- Set intentions
- Tackle the hard stuff first
- Get Outside