morning-routine

The Ultimate Guide to Your Best Mornings

Your mornings are the most important part of your day. This post provides a guide to help you have an amazing morning and get all of your tasks done before noon. In this blog post, we’ll teach you how to maximize your morning routine for more productivity, happiness, and success! 

You will find tips on what time to wake up in the morning, how much sleep is enough for adults, creating a routine that works with your schedule, what foods work best before noon so you can avoid being hungry during lunchtime at work or school. 

We also share some of our favorite breakfast recipes that are easy to make and delicious!

Do you know what your best morning looks like? Maybe it’s waking up to the sound of chirping birds, or coffee brewing in the kitchen. 

Or maybe it’s a little later than that- spending some time with your children before they leave for school, or getting out to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine on your way into work. 

Whatever it is, we want to make sure you’re starting off each day right by giving you The Ultimate Guide To Your Best Mornings!

The morning is the most important part of your day, and it’s when you have the most energy. One study found that people who are more rested were three times as likely to feel happy throughout the day than those who didn’t get enough sleep.

Are you tired of waking up to an alarm clock every morning? Do you feel like your mornings are unproductive and mindless? If so, then this blog post is for you. I am going to share with you the ultimate guide on how to have a productive and mindful morning that will set the tone for your entire day. 

The mornings are the most important part of your day. They set the tone for everything else that will happen in your life. I’ve had some really good mornings and I’ve had some pretty bad ones too, but what is clear to me now is that it doesn’t have to be this way. 

You can create a morning routine that helps you feel calm, energized, and excited about all of the possibilities ahead of you. This blog post contains information on how to do just this!

We all have those mornings where we just can’t get out of bed, or when the alarm goes off and you hit snooze. But there are a few simple steps to take in order to have your best morning ever! These tips will ensure that you start your day feeling refreshed and ready for anything! 

Do you struggle to start your day off on the right foot? You’re not alone. In fact, it’s a battle that many people face every single day. But here’s the good news: there are plenty of different things you can do to have an amazing morning from waking up early and heading into a workout or catching up on emails before work to ending your day with a relaxing evening routine.  

There is no one-size-fits all solution for this problem, but in this blog post I’m going to share some tips and tricks that will help you get back on track with starting your mornings off right.  

So without further ado, let’s dive in!

Great Ways to Start Your Day

A healthy lifestyle starts each and every morning.

The way you spend your morning can add a certain flavor to the rest of your day. When things start out feeling stressful, you can experience a “downward spiral” of negative events and stressful responses. (If this has already happened to you today, learn how to turn around a bad day.)

Conversely, if you start off your day from a place of feeling centered, you will be better able to handle what comes and enjoy the rest of your day to a fuller extent.

Here are some healthy lifestyle habits to incorporate into your morning routine that can leave you better able to handle the stress you experience. Try one or several, and experiment until you find what suits you.

1. Put On Some Music

Music therapy has been shown to reduce stress and has a positive effect on health. You don’t need a therapist to enjoy some of the benefits music has to offer.

Listening to music as you get ready and start your day will create positive energy and a soothing sense of peace (or a sense of fun, if you play party music).

Music can compliment other healthy lifestyle habits, adding a sense of peace to a yoga workout, putting a spring in your step on a morning walk or stimulating your mind as you write in your journal.

2. Relax in the Shower 

Many of us shower in the morning though we often rush through it because we need to get on with our day. Why not take a few extra minutes and get into the right frame of mind?

As you let the warm water loosen your muscles, think about the possibilities that lie ahead, think about what you have to be grateful for in life and remember this serene feeling.

When you encounter challenges through the day, just think back to this relaxed feeling. You may be able to approach your stressors from a more centered place.

3. Drink Green Tea 

Sipping a warm cup of tea is a soothing activity that will help you prepare for the day ahead and feel nurtured. Green tea is loaded with antioxidants, so it’s a delicious and healthy lifestyle choice.

4. Eat a Balanced Breakfast

If you usually start the day with a bagel and coffee, know that breakfast is known as the most important meal of the day for a very good reason.

A healthy meal in the morning can balance your blood sugar levels and give you the sustenance you need to handle physical and mental stress.

Without breakfast, you will be less resilient, both physically and mentally. Be sure to have plenty of protein and fruit, not just caffeine and empty calories!

5. Write in Your Journal

Journaling has many health and stress management benefits and can also lead to increased self-awareness. Writing once a day can help you feel focused, process negative emotions and solve problems.

Take a few minutes to reflect on what you enjoyed about the day before, focus on what you hope to achieve in the day ahead, or just write about what you are grateful for right now. 

6. Take a Morning Walk

Walking has so many health benefits, the stress management benefits are practically just gravy! A morning walk can get you ready for your day, help you sleep better at night, lower your stress level and reduce your risk of numerous health conditions. If you bring a dog with you, you’ll be lavished with attention as well!

7. Do a Little Yoga

You were promised six strategies, but I’m giving you a bonus because it’s such an effective stress reliever.

For a healthy body and peaceful mind, few activities give as much bang for your buck as yoga. Combining all the goodness of several stress management techniques (diaphragmatic breathing, meditation, stretching and more) yoga provides some of the best stress management and health benefits you can find in a single technique. 

A good way to start your morning is by doing a series of yoga poses called Sun Salutations.

Morning Routines For Setting Your Best Intentions

Choosing to set your own tone before stepping out into the bustle of the day can bring morning health, radiance, and soothing moods that last well into the afternoon. In the modern world, even before we crack open our eyes, we can be found reaching for our phones, checking our inboxes and letting schedules and social media plunge us into work and play. By taking a few minutes and setting up a morning routine, this can hugely benefit your spiritual health and wellness, inviting you to settle gently in your body, to acknowledge your mind and to approach events ahead with complete alignment.

1. Tap Into The Body

Start the day with a morning meditation that recognizes the body. Before you step out of bed and do anything, keep your eyes closed and start at the toes. Take a moment to visualize your toes and see how they feel before slowly moving your mind up to the knees, the hips, the stomach, the back and all the way to the tip of your head. Make a mental note of where you are holding tension and where feels relaxed. Just five minutes of this practice invites you to connect with the body and to move through the day in complete awareness.

2. Commit to Morning Pages

Rather than reach for your phone first thing, reach for a notebook and pen instead. Many people swear by the idea of morning pages. The idea is to commit to filling three pages with automatic writing. This doesn’t need to be earth-shattering thought-provoking creative writing but more a purge of all the personal issues that are whirling around your head. Once you have split your mind all over the page, you are free from the shackles of these thoughts all day and can go about feeling clear and focused and ready to reach your fullest potential.

3. Meditate for a Moment

Carving out lashings of time for morning meditation can be a challenge, but how about taking five minutes to sit peacefully with your favorite crystal, or to draw two tarot cards and consider how to approach the challenges of the day. Holding your crystal, clearing your mind, and visualizing how you want the day to play out can help you to harness your inner power and to feel more in control in a soft and positive way.

4. Take Five for Yin

If morning yoga sounds a little too activating for you, then take five minutes to practice a little yin yoga. Yin yoga is all about the practice of slow gentle movements and holding poses. This practice allows you to gift your body the stretches it is craving but also gives your mind the chance to clear and invites you to sink into some soft slow breathing. We live in a very yang world, so balancing it out with a touch of yin puts you perfectly back into alignment.

5. Make Three Goals

To-do lists can be long and winding and cause undue anxiety. Instead of spiralling with an arm long list of things to accomplish – simply pick three. Consider what absolutely needs to be done today, and even better – choose one item each for your body, mind and soul. Perhaps taking a walk, completing your morning pages, and calling a friend. Committing to three items a day that benefit your mental and spiritual health sets you on the right path.

Ideas For Morning Routine Habits

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1. Replace One Food Item

Every morning around 4:30, my 5-year-old calls out for me to bring her a cup of milk. And every morning when I go downstairs to get it, I eat something sweet before going back to bed. I’m not sure why I started doing this, but it never fails.

Because they’re so easily accessible, I usually grab a handful of M&Ms. This daily–yet also impulsive–snack could so easily be replaced by a handful of grapes, which would be equally as convenient, but a lot healthier.

Think about your morning eating habits. It can be hard to resist junk food when you’re tired, but making one substitution could lead to a big difference in the long-run.

A lot of foods have healthy alternatives–even if they don’t seem healthy. For example, if you put margarine on your toast in the morning, you may be surprised to learn that this is not exactly a healthy alternative for real butter. Margarine is a highly processed product made from vegetable oil that includes trans fats, additives, emulsifiers, and colorants.

Butter, on the other hand, is simply made from cow’s milk. And, if you buy high-quality, grass-fed butter, not only does it taste better, but it’s actually lower in fat than margarine. Plus, it contains a remarkable amount of nutrients, such as omega 3 fats, beta carotene, and vitamins B12, K, D, E, and C. Perhaps best of all, high-quality butter contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is a fatty acid found in meat and dairy that has a variety of health benefits, and is often used as a weight loss supplement.

If you want to have really good butter, you can easily make it yourself. Just get some high-quality, organic cream and whip it. I prefer to do this in a food processor because you can just pour the cream in and press start and walk away, but you could also do this with a hand mixer. Once the cream has turned into butter, you’re also left with fresh buttermilk that has separated from the cream. Eating real butter (in moderation, of course) doesn’t need to be avoided at the cost of consuming unnatural additives.

So you can make a substitution like this, which allows you to indulge in a more healthful way, or you could make a more obvious substitution (such as grapes for M&Ms). If you feel like your morning breakfast is already a pretty solid choice, think about your meal and snack plans for the rest of the day and find somewhere else that you may be able to make a substitution. Here are some ideas:

  • Replace oil with applesauce when baking
  • Choose brown rice over white rice
  • Switch your regular pasta for multigrain pasta
  • Use plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream
  • Use ground turkey instead of ground beef

2. Stretch

It’s actually instinctive for people (and other animals) to stretch upon waking up to help increase circulation and activate your muscles, which feels good for your entire body. Especially if you sleep in the same position all night, your muscles will have a tendency to tighten up. Developing an intentional morning stretching routine can help:

  • Increase the flexibility in your muscles and joints
  • Improve circulation
  • Remove tension
  • Prevent stress

Your morning stretches increase your muscle and joint flexibility, making it much easier to perform everyday tasks. Additionally, increasing your flexibility helps improve your balance (and therefore reduces your risk of becoming injured) and lowers your chances of developing arthritis.

A morning stretching routine will also stimulate your circulation, which in turn gives your energy level a boost. It will also help you get rid of uncomfortable tension, which will help make you more productive as you move on with your day.

When you stretch in the morning, hold each stretch for about 30 seconds in order to remove tension and to give your muscles the time that they need to adequately stretch. If you have a place on your body that’s really holding onto some tension, use a foam roller to try to work those knots out. After each stretch, relax completely and take a few deep breaths before moving onto the next stretch. Don’t forget to breathe normally during your stretches as well.

3. Avoid Your Smartphone

Research shows that about 80% of people who use a smartphone check it within 15 minutes of waking up. And, yes, there are many ways in which your smartphone can increase your productivity and even improve your quality of life–however, it can also lead to unnecessary stress and distractions.

You should be the commander of your smartphone, your smartphone should not be the commander of you.

People are starting to lose control over their smartphone use, which can quickly have a negative impact on your productivity and mental wellbeing. If you immediately check your phone upon waking up, you overwhelm your brain with new messages, reminders, emails, and other stimuli that lead to stress and anxiety. This prevents you from having any time to start your day off in a calm way, and instead, makes you immediately feel rushed and anxious.

Additionally, by checking your smartphone first thing in the morning, you’re allowing other people’s needs, opinions, and requests to flood your mind. Your own thoughts are dismissed and replaced with the thoughts of others. Rather than proactively starting your day by focusing on your own needs, you’re starting by reacting to the needs of others.

Instead of setting the tone to have a day full of distractions, use your morning for the other suggestions listed in this article to improve yourself, get closer to reaching your goals, and prepare for a day of success. By actively avoiding your smartphone in the morning, you can train your brain to be satisfied with less stimulating (but much more beneficial) undertakings. 

4. Put on Your SPF

I’m sure you wear SPF at the beach to avoid getting sunburn, but putting on your sunscreen is an important part of any year-round morning routine because it is an effective preventive measure to avoid health issues down the road. Even on cloudy days, you can soak up 80% of the sun’s damaging rays, so it’s best to put on sunscreen no matter what the forecast is. In fact, snow can even reflect up to 80% of ultraviolet rays, increasing your risk of developing sun damage.

Sunscreen blocks UV rays, which not only helps protect you from getting sunburn, but also reduces your risk of developing skin cancer, which is the most common cancer worldwide.

Every year, more people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the U.S. than all other types of cancers combined.

1 in 5 Americans develop skin cancer by the age of 70.

Someone dies from skin cancer every 30 minutes in the U.S.

You double your risk of developing skin cancer later in life if you incur 5 or more sunburns.

About 90% of nonmelanoma skin cancers are caused by exposure to UV rays.

Wearing sunscreen also helps protect your skin from premature aging, which includes discoloration, dark spots, wrinkles, sagging, and fine lines. It’s never too early in life to take preventative measures against sun damage, and the more careful you are, the better off you will be. Using SPF 15 sunscreen every day can reduce your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40%, and lower your risk of melanoma by 50%. If you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors, bump it up to SPF 30.

5. Watch an Inspiring Video

Motivation is fleeting. You might feel excited one moment but then experience a crash in emotion when something negative happens. One habit that can be used to “reset” your motivation is to watch an inspiring video.

You have a few options with watching inspirational videos.

TED Talks are inspiring lectures from the most visionary leaders of our time. They tend to be ten to twenty minutes in length, so you might need to commit to a longer habit, or watch a single video over a few days. You can access these videos directly through the TED website, but they are also accessible on a mobile app (iTunes & Android) and through a video streaming service like Roku.

If TED Talks aren’t your thing, then you can also find inspirational videos on Upworthy or your favorite YouTube channel.

I recommend limiting your viewing time. It’s far too easy to turn a five-minute break into several hours of passively watching videos. My suggestion: Stick to one video per break.

6. Add to Your “Soon List”

coffee-table

Make a list of twenty fun and enjoyable things you want in the next three months. This is not a goals list.

Instead, it’s a list of fun or even odd things you can enjoy by yourself or with others. The only requirement is that each item needs to be something that makes you happy.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Sleep until noon on one of your off days.
  • Have a movie/game night with your family. (Here are some philosophical movies.)
  • See a play.
  • Go for a daylong hike.
  • Play baseball with your son.
  • Buy a new grill.
  • Enjoy a date night with your spouse, away from your kids.

Next, you have to make time to do these things. You’ll sleep in late one day. You’ll go buy that new grill. And you’ll schedule time to play baseball with your son. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of spending your days working, running errands, and doing household chores. But if you keep an ongoing list of fun activities, then you’ll proactively create opportunities to enjoy life a little more.

7. Schedule It Into Your Day

Look for room in your day to actually do something on your ”soon” list. If you have an extra busy day, pick something small. But, if you don’t actually put these things on your agenda, they will always be activities that you hope to do “one day”.

Get a pedicure on your lunch break or tell your partner to meet you in the park with take-out for a picnic. Call to make reservations for a fancy date night. Whatever is on that list that you can fit into your day, do it.

8. Learn a New Word

Expanding your vocabulary helps you in the following ways:

  • Increases your communication skills
  • Provides a good workout for your brain
  • Boosts your self-confidence in social situations

Committing to learning one word per day can be done in one of the following ways. Make sure to not just learn the definition but also how to pronounce it!

9. Add an Item to Your Bucket List

The concept of creating a “bucket list” was made popular when the 2007 movie called The Bucket List hit the big screen. If you haven’t seen it yet, the story centers on two men with terminal cancer. They decided to leave the hospital together to accomplish the things they’ve ever wanted before they “kicked the bucket.”

You can apply this principle in your life. Think of the things you’ve put off in order to focus on career and relationships. Perhaps now is the time to begin accomplishing some of them.

First, you can make a list of the things you’d want for your life. You can add one item per day. Then make a plan on how you’ll accomplish them.

10. Learn a New Joke

Humor is the best way to break the ice. Learning a new joke benefits you in the following ways:

  • Is a great conversation starter
  • Helps someone feel at ease when you meet each other for the first time
  • Helps you think in a more creative way
  • Makes you healthy

Use a few minutes of your mornings developing your humorous side. You can do this by researching good jokes and collecting them for reviewing and practicing later. Making someone else laugh is a great way to start a conversation. It is also a great way to strengthen relationships and establish new ones.

Easy and Quick Clean Eating Recipes

  1. Spicy Sausage Jambalaya. Jambalaya is a Creole dish that’s bursting with flavor and spice. It sounds like it might take some time to prepare, but this six-ingredient recipe is finished in less than a half hour. Chicken and turkey are substituted for fatty pork, and veggies and spices add fiber and taste to this festive dinner!
  2. Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup. Another “set it and forget it” slow cooker dish, this soup requires only some simple prep, and then allows you to let it cook while you go about your day. Two kinds of beans, and lean chicken breasts, pack in the protein, and a variety of veggies offer nutrients in this hearty, spicy soup.
  3. 2 Minute Citrus Sorbet. Delicious dessert? Check. Easy to prepare? Check. Made with only clean, whole ingredients? Check! This sorbet packs the flavor of whole mango, the zest and juice of lemons and oranges, and just a pinch of cinnamon, for a dessert that’s indulgent but not the least bit unhealthy.
  4. Garden Salad with Lemon and Oil Dressing. This quick-prep salad is the gift that keeps on giving. Make a big batch, and you’ll have lunch salads for days. Superfoods like spinach, avocado, almonds, and sprouts make this a healthful choice for your mid-day meal or as an accompaniment to dinner.
  5. Caprese Quinoa Salad. This salad is a cinch to prepare, and is truly a meal in itself. Quinoa cooks quickly and provides complex carbohydrates and protein, while a variety of legumes and veggies pack the nutrients. A little lemon juice and balsamic give this flavorful salad some kick!
  6. Turkey and White Bean Chili. This 25-minute stew is a warm, comforting crowd-pleaser that’s a cinch to prepare. Turkey is a lean substitute for red meat, and beans and whole tomatoes add fiber, protein, and lycopene to this healthy dish that’s perfect for parties or even simple weeknight dinners.
  7. Southwestern Black Bean Casserole. A casserole doesn’t need to be a hassle to prepare. Black beans are the main event here, and when combined with a variety of no-prep ingredients, this is an easy dish that will delight and satisfy the whole family!
  8. Turkey and Squash Soup. Any time that we can use lean turkey to provide protein and heartiness to a soup or stew, we seize the opportunity. With the addition of winter squash and a variety of vegetables, this soup is both satisfying and nutritious. The prep here is minimal, and once the turkey is cooked through, you have a complex, healthful dinner that takes less than an hour to put together.
  9. Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Roast. Impress guests at a dinner party with a gorgeous, roasted chicken that requires the most simple of prep and a foolproof slow cooker method that will leave you with moist, tender chicken and perfectly roasted vegetables.
  10. Quick and Easy Veggie Chili. This chili is entirely comprised of beans, veggies, and spices, packing a punch of protein, fiber, and nutrients. It’s prep and cook time clocks in at just over thirty minutes. Plus, it’s a dish that can be refrigerated and reheated for a week’s worth of healthy dinners or lunches.
  11. Chicken and Bulgur Stew. Bulgur wheat is one of our favorite whole grains. Nutty in flavor and rich in fiber, this grain will keep you satisfied and energized for hours. Add some chicken for lean protein, and you have a healthful stew that comforts and warms. And while this stew takes only a quick prep before a slow simmer that allows you to get out of the kitchen for a few hours, you can also substitute cooked chicken for the quickest of quick meals.
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