Saturday, October 3, 2015

6 Simple Ways to Start Your Morning Right

Photo Credit: Mislav Marohnic
Some fortunate people are morning birds that are raring to start the day from the moment their alarms buzz.  Others aren't as lucky.  For the latter folk, the early morning can feel torturous, pulling them away from their restful sleep.  Many people have written healthy tips for morning routines, but "tips" such as 15 minutes of journal writing and 30 minutes of exercise are obviously meant for and written by those morning birds. 

Starting your day in a healthy, good way does not have to be complicated or time-consuming, even for you night owls out there.  You don't have to surrender that precious hour just to have a good start; this extra hour of sleep is necessary to some people!  Today I have for you 6 easy, time-conscious routines to add to your morning that can you get your day started on the right side of the bed.

1. Drink a Glass of Water 
Photo Credit: [cipher]
Drinking water at any time of the day is healthy for you, but it provides you with extra benefits when you drink it first thing in the morning after waking up.  When you drink water before filling your body with food, the water purifies you and cleanses your colon, helping to flush out those nasty toxins.  Water will also boost your body's metabolism, aiding weight loss throughout the rest of your day.  A fast metabolism helps to burn off your calories as fuel, burning away the extra pounds.  Being the powerhouse that water is, a simple glass also revs your brain activity, brightens your skin, and helps balance your immune system.  While drinking 16 oz. of water soon after you rise will kick start your healthier day even faster, drinking at least 8 oz. of water is recommended to start letting those benefits flow.   

2. Do the Plank 
Video Credit: K's Perfect Fitness TV

For those of you who firmly grasp onto every last sleeping second, waking up early to exercise may not sound very appealing.  However, there is a beneficial, simple exercise that you can do for just 1 minute (if you can handle it for that long - 30 seconds is okay for beginners!) in the morning.  The plank helps you build strength in your core, and a strong core is essential for straight posture, less back pain, and tightened abs.  This is a perfect quick exercise to warm your body up for a long day at work.  Exercise, itself, boosts your mood, wakes you up, jumpstarts your metabolism, lowers stress, and increases brain function, so adding some in first thing in the morning sets you off in the right direction for a better day.  Although you should dedicate more time later on in the day toward exercising, this 1 minute, mighty exercise barely requires any time at all and gets your mind, blood, and body moving.  If you would like to see how to do the plank, check out the video above.

3. Say "I Love You"
Photo Credit: Jeff Kubina
Love is a strong connection felt between people.  It gives life a deeper meaning by reminding you that there are others who depend on your care and affection.  Basically, love makes you worth something more, especially to others.  Whether you say "I love you" in person, in a text message, or even in the mirror to yourself, you begin your day by connecting yourself to the world and people around you.  These three words will make you feel meaningful and giving, which are both feelings that lead us toward happiness.  Who knows, these three words may even be reciprocated back to you (except from the mirror...that would be rather scary), and being loved is one of the best, warmest feelings out there.    

4. Eat Something Healthy
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Okay, you have probably heard the saying "breakfast is the most important meal of the day".  The reason that these words are broadcasted over and over again is because they have major credibility.  Eating something in the beginning of the day energizes you for the day ahead.  Just like a machine needs fuel to operate, so does your body.  Without the proper nutrients, your body will be unable to work at full capacity; you will not be able to be as productive, creative, or influential as you possibly could be.  Not eating breakfast deprives both you and your body from your full potential.  Even if you don't have time to prepare a big meal, eating something small will provide you with benefits just as well, such as lowering your risk for Type II Diabetes.  Eating the right foods for breakfast aids in weight loss or maintenance; that's right - eating can help you get fit!  When you eat something healthy in the morning, you prevent snacking and binge eating later on brought on by hunger.  Oftentimes, hunger becomes an uncontrollable force that mystically guides our hands to all the snack foods and donuts available around us.  When you mindlessly eat these foods, you cause your blood sugars to consistently spike, which will result in even more hunger once they drop.  In the end, you will gain extra weight from all this snacking.  While a filling breakfast with healthy protein, fruits and veggies, and healthy carbs is probably the most nutritious option, if you are truly in a time crunch, grab a fruit and some plain Greek yogurt, and toss them together.  Boil an egg and eat it on the go.  Have some whole wheat toast with avocado or peanut butter and banana.  These quick breakfasts take basically no time to prepare, and help you gain all the benefits listed above.

5. Make a List 
In the morning, dedicate a couple minutes (5 max!) to yourself.  Clear your mind, plan ahead, and organize your day by writing a list of things that you want and need to do.  These couple of focused minutes help you to meditate on your aspirations, allowing you to think straight and giving you direction for the day.  You won't drift through another stressful, unproductive day if you think ahead and jot down your responsibilities first thing in the morning!  Just these few moments to yourself also help you reflect and relax.  Beginning the day with a calm body, mind, and spirit gives you a more positive outlook and stronger decision-making skills later on.  To read more about the perks of making a list, click here for my blog post. 

6. Smile at Yourself in the Mirror
Photo Credit: Paul
This little step may sound silly; it may even make you feel silly, but feeling silly is a lot better than feeling miserable and unconfident! Whether or not you believe it, studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins, which are basically hormones that help to relieve pain and stress, thus boosting your mood.  Even if you don't exactly feel like smiling that morning, fake it.  You will be more inclined to actually want to smile as you promote your own happiness.  We typically smile at others when we are happy, during a greeting or flirt, or when we offer approval.  By smiling at yourself, you subconsciously let yourself know that you feel content and confident; you flirt with yourself, proving that you are attractive and worth the extra attention.  A little smile is an easy confirmation that says, "you know what, you are all right".  So leave the house on a positive note.  Feel confident, worthwhile, and happy as you walk out the door, and the rest of your experiences that day will reflect your mood. 


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