7 Step Morning Routine For A Healthier, Happier You

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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.

Learn more: Solar Medicine: The Benefits of Heliotherapy. 

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. 

Learn more: 5 Important Reasons to Start Your Day With Lemon Water. 

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:

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • 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 some of the 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 living temple work (which naturally occurs during the early stages of the morning).

Fruit is an astringent, meaning it's nature's detoxifier - very high in water content and designed to support waste elimination and to energise you when you need it most i.e. in the morning.  Smoothies also are light on the digestive system and will help to flood your cells with nutrients and energise you at the beginning of your day.

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, adding a couple of pitted medjool dates (to sweeten), frozen banana chunks and berries, or spinach leaves, kale and avocado.

Intermittent Fasting is also something you can experiment with 2 or 3 days per week, if you're able to hold off on eating any kind of breakfast until around 10am.  Intermittent or Cycled Fasting is powerful, because it keeps your body in a "fasted" state the longer you delay breakfast, which promotes a process known as autophagy or cellular recycling. 

This is why intermittent fasting is very effective for anti-ageing.  Additionally, it is beneficial for weight loss as it encourages your body to tap fat stores when there is no glucose in your blood stream (which is the case the longer you fast).

Learn more: Intermittent Fasting: Health Benefits and How to Do It. 

When it comes to breakfast, if you're short on time or on-the-go, a quick and easy mobile breakfast is to grab a couple of ripe bananas and some raw nuts like Brazil Nuts, Almonds, Macadamias.  Pulse Sacred Meal—is also a wonderful mid morning snack that you can enjoy on its own or add to a bowl of organic dairy or coconut yogurt and raw honey.  

What about coffee? We hear you ask....

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:

  1. Today, it is one of the most over-commercialised, chemically treated crops in the world;
  2. Processed milk and sugars compromise it's health benefits
  3. 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.

Conclusion

If you don't have a healthy morning routine, now's the time to start creating one that you can practice consistently.  Start by embracing one or two of these suggested steps, then add on an extra one as they become habit.

If you're well advanced with your morning routine, perhaps a couple of these steps can help you to take things up a notch also or at least reinforce what you're already doing.

One's things for sure.  It's the little things we do in the morning that can have a big impact on how we look, feel and show up in the world for ourselves and those we care about and love.  For these reasons, crafting a morning routine is an absolute key to a fulfilling life and a happier, healthier you. 

Tolman Self Care.

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