7 Step Morning Routine For A Healthier, Happier You
Your health and long term happiness is largely dependant on the mini routines you practice throughout your life time. A routine is a sequence of habits that you practice consistently without much thought.
Quality habits = Quality life
Average habits = Average life
When it comes to your physical, mental and emotional health, there really is no better time to instil quality habits than first thing in the morning. This is a time period that really does lay the foundations for your overall wellbeing.
What you do in the morning helps set the tone for your day, which over time, can ultimately impact the outcomes for your life in many important areas.
One of our favourite things to recommend and talk about here at Tolman Self Care is the power of having a high quality morning routine. And so here, we give you 7 steps - basic suggestions for you to create a morning routine that works for you.
Step 1: Wake Up Earlier
Too often we wake up and rush out the door under pressure. This sets the stage for a day of feeling hurried and stressed, instead of fulfilled and focussed.
Instead, set your alarm to wake up 1 hour earlier than you normally would need to to begin your day. This gives you time to ease into the morning with a set of priming rituals that will help you kickstart your morning as the best version of yourself, meaning:
- More energy
- Boosted self esteem
- More clarity and focus
- A healthier body and mind.
Think of it like warming up your car before a long drive: when you warm up your mind and body for the day ahead, you will approach each day with a sense of contentment, resilience and you'll be more prepared to handle whatever life throws at you.
Step 2: Step Outside And Breathe
Just like darkness signals your body's production of the sleepy chemical melatonin which helps you drift off to sleep, light is a signal that it's time to wake.
The sun rising is an indication that you too should rise in sync, to embrace the morning light. So throw open the curtains, step outside for a few moments, let the light into your face and body and breathe a couple of minutes of clean, new day air. Breathing fresh air helps to clear the bronchioles and oxygenate your brain to make you feel more alert and energised.
Exposure to early morning sunshine will help you clear your mind, elevate your mood and your sense of overall wellbeing - not to mention it warms your skin and gives your body a healthy dose of crucial, immunity-boosting Vitamin D.
Step 3: It's Time To Hydrate!
When you wake, you are naturally dehydrated from your body's metabolic processes throughout the night.
This is why one of the first things you should do when you rise, is to hydrate with pure water before you eat or drink anything. When you wake your body is in the final stages of the digestive cycle, so it's best to support not disrupt this process by consuming only water.
Specifically, we recommend drinking chilled purified water on an empty stomach because:
- It's been shown to boost metabolism by up to 30%;
- It purifies the body and boosts your ability to absorb nutrients;
- Supports the creation of new muscle and blood cells;
- Helps kick start digestion;
- Studies have shown it can help you to burn calories and lose weight.
Not to mention, your body and brain consists of around 70% which needs to be replenished to replenish your cells, help flush your system and support vital bodily functions. Optimally, each day you should aim to consume 1 litre of water per 22 kilograms of body weight, so if you're able to drink at least a litre of water in the morning before you consume anything else, you'll have a great head start on your daily water target.
Try adding a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt to your morning water for additional health benefits that won't upset the digestive process.
Step 4: Move Your Body
Take time in the morning to do a little movement, whether it be some gentle stretching, a walk, a jog or a full-on workout if you're up for it.
The purpose of movement is to:
- Support your physical foundations
- Build flexibility, agility and strength in your joints and muscles
- Stimulate mental clarity and focus
- Boost emotional wellbeing
- Challenge yourself mentally and physically.
There is an inextricable link between the health of your body and mind, so the more you move, the better state you'll be in mentally to cope with daily goals and challenges.
Research also shows that people who exercise in the morning have more discipline and motivation, which filters into other important areas of life such as work, relationships, finances and the achievement of personal goals.
Walking is the number one exercise you should do (unless you're physically disabled from doing so). Aim to walk for 30-45 minutes briskly every morning outside in clean, fresh air. Take in nature's surrounds, listen to uplifting music or a motivational podcast. Studies have shown that by walking for 45 minutes per day, you can add on average up to 18 years to your life!
Other forms of very beneficial, low impact exercises you can add on top of walking include:
- Circuit Training
Step 5: Set Goals and Intention
The morning is a perfect time to get clear on your goals and intentions for the day.
Each day is like a new dawn - an opportunity for you to grow, progress and to do something better than the day before.
The best way to set intentions is to take a few minutes to write down in a daily journal, or in a specific section dedicated to daily intention setting on your cell phone, the top three things you want to achieve for the day.
These goals could be to start or complete a certain project, to make an important phone call, to schedule a key meeting, to connect with someone you love, or to take care of 2 or 3 nagging tasks that you never seem to get around too.
When setting intentions or goals, clarity is power - so be as specific as you can when writing down your intentions for the day.
During this time, also take a moment to reflect on particular challenges or areas in your personal or professional life that need levelling up. Here, you can jot down what's not working and why. What needs to improve. And what specific steps do you need to take in order to fix the problem.
Remember, the clearer you are with identifying the challenges, the better you'll be at finding the solutions.
The very habit of putting pen to paper and writing down your goals and challenges is powerful because it gets ideas out of your head and into a visual place where they're more concrete, real and actionable.
Step 6: Get Your Fuel
After you've gotten outside, hydrated, moved your body and set your intentions for the day, next you'll probably be thinking about breakfast.
The best foods to eat for breakfast are fresh fruits and smoothies. The word break-fast literally means to break-your-fast and this is best done gently with liquids.
Now, this doesn't mean that you can't have muesli or eggs on toast from time to time, it just means that by sticking with liquids most of the time, you're giving your body/digestive system a chance to complete it's digestive and elimination cycle more efficiently during the early stages of the morning.
Fruit is an astringent, meaning it's natural hydrator and detoxifier because it is very high in water content, supportive of the eliminatory process and won't weigh you down.
Smoothies are also a great choice because they're super light on your digestive system and will help to flood your cells with nutrients and energy to help fuel your day without you feeling sluggish.
Fix yourself a fruit salad with juicy summer fruits like melons and mangoes, or berries in the cooler months.
Prepare a fruit or green smoothie using coconut water as a base and then add a couple of pitted medjool dates as a sweetener followed by a handful of frozen banana chunks or berries, raw cacao or spinach leaves and blend.
Another great protocol to follow is Intermittent Fasting at least a few days each week, which basically means delaying breakfast a little longer in order to extend your fasting window.
For example, if you eat dinner the night before by 7pm and then don't eat breakfast the next morning until 10am, you will have benefited from 15 hours of fasting! This is powerful because it promotes a process known as autophagy or cellular recycling, which is very effective for lowering inflammation, managing weight, boosting your energy and slowing the process of ageing!
The biggest benefit is that it encourages more efficient fat burning, because without glucose in your blood stream - as is the case when you're in fasted state - your body will become very efficient at tapping into your fat stores as a fuel source, particularly when you exercise first thing in the morning.
When it comes to breakfast, if you're short on time or on-the-go, a quick and easy breakfast that you can take with you on the run, is a couple of ripe bananas, some raw Brazil Nuts, Almonds and Macadamias.
Or, of course Pulse Sacred Meal is also a wonderful mid morning snack that you can enjoy on its own straight from the pack, or crumble it over a bowl of organic coconut yogurt for a super handy breakfast.
What about coffee?
Coffee is one of earth's most prodigious crops, producing a healthy beverage that is meant to be enjoyed in the morning to aid:
- Healthy digestive function
- Physical performance
- Mental alertness and focus
- Lowered risk of diseases and cancer
- Reduction of free-radicals due to the rich antioxidant/polyphenol content
However, the mass adoption of coffee and the ways we consume it, has lead to three main problems:
- Today, it is one of the most over-commercialised, chemically treated crops in the world;
- Processed milk and sugars compromise it's health benefits
- Coffee should not be consumed after mid-day
On the other hand, organically sourced, fair-trade coffee that is consumed in the morning, either black and/or with healthy additives like nut milks and raw honey, is the way your daily cup should be enjoyed.
Step 7: Positive Self Talk
Before you leave your home, say something kind to yourself or practice some type of basic gratitude ritual - even if it's just for a few minutes.
It may feel odd at first, but hearing yourself be audibly positive is a wonderful way to bolster your confidence and your motivation to make the day amazing.
Your pep talk could be as simple as saying something like, “I've got this..." I am strong...", or, "Today, I will give and receive love" etc.
Or you can sit quietly somewhere and close down your eyes for 5 minutes, taking some time to focus on the things you're truly grateful for in your life that it's easy to overlook and take for granted.
It could be your children, your partner/spouse/friend, your career, your health, the country you live in, the sand on your toes, the wind on your skin...anything at all that it's easy to take for granted, that you can give appreciation to.
Gratitude is such a powerful emotion because it is very difficult to feel stressed, angry, fearful or anxious when you are firmly focussed on the great things you have in your life.
It's a fact of life, that lots of things outside of your control have the potential to upset you or derail your day, so positive self talk and gratitude in the morning can go along way to boosting your resistance to these situations.
The Main Take Away
A healthy morning routine is one of the greatest keys to looking and feeling great and your long term self care.
If you don't have a robust morning routine that energises you, now's the time to start creating one that you can practice consistently.
Start by embracing some of the steps suggested here, or if you're already on track, you can always add another layer to what you're already doing to boost your morning habits even more!
Remember, what you do in the morning not only sets the tone for your day, but ultimately your life as well. For this reason, your morning routine really matters.
Tolman Self Care.