I have always been a morning person — my workouts are completed before the sun rises. I have meal-prepped lunch for the work day, eaten breakfast, checked my emails and headed to work before most people even wake up.
But as I get older, waking up early gets harder to do. The days are more stressful, the nights are longer, my mind is racing with things I need to do the next day, and snoozing my alarm clock becomes almost a daily habit. But for me, starting the morning feeling like I have accomplished a lot definitely sets the tone for the rest of the day.
How you spend your mornings determines how the rest of the day will go. If you snooze the alarm clock too many times and rush out the door without a chance to eat breakfast or kiss your loved ones good morning, the rest of the day will feel frantic and you will feel like you have lost control of the day before the day even starts. But start the day with plenty of time for self-care, breakfast and not having to rush to the office, and you will feel like everything is possible and there is nothing you cannot accomplish that day.
To help you start your mornings on the right foot, below is a list of early-day habits that will help you feel good, balanced and ready to take on the day ahead!
Your day begins the night before with a restful night of sleep. You cannot feel rested if you have not slept well, so the first early morning habit is getting into bed at a consistent time every night to get an adequate 8 hours of sleep. This means turning off your cell phone, not checking emails, and keeping the television off so you do not become distracted by any shows you may want to watch. Having a good night’s sleep will help you wake up feeling refreshed and will improve your day because you will be more awake and focused throughout the next day.
The key to waking up and starting your day is actually waking up! When you snooze your alarm for too long, you start to feel rushed and frantic. A successful morning begins with waking up to your alarm when it goes off and not falling back to sleep. You will actually feel more tired if you hit the snooze button because your body becomes confused on whether it is going back to sleep or waking up. Also, just as you are consistent with going to bed at the same time each night, it is important to wake up at the same time each morning to keep your internal alarm clock on a schedule! This will help your body know that it is time to start the day.
The first thing you should do when you get out of bed (after not snoozing the alarm clock) is having a glass of warm lemon water. This will help wake up your digestive system, preparing it for the food you will eat for breakfast. You will cleanse your body of any stagnant toxins from the night before, boost your immune system since lemons are high in vitamin C, and reduce inflammation in the body which will help you feel less bloated and more energized. You can even add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper to increase your metabolism.
My go to recipe is: 8 oz. warm, filtered water, juice from ½ lemon. Mix together and drink (you might want to use a straw so you do not destroy the enamel on your teeth over time).
Many people love talking about how they skip breakfast in the morning and they can go all day before needing food. But food is fuel and it is important to feed your body in the morning so that it can perform at the best of its ability. This does not mean a bowl of sugar-coated cereal while standing at the front door rushing to leave on time. A balanced breakfast includes protein, complex carbohydrates and a healthy fat. A balanced meal will help you feel fuller longer and will prevent a sudden rise in blood sugar causing an energy crash only a few hours later.
And sit down, enjoy the meal. Avoid scrolling through your emails and social media just yet. Be mindful of your meal, of your environment, and if you woke up before anyone else in your household, take this time to enjoy the quiet and be appreciative for this time alone. And if you are not someone who enjoys cooking first thing in the morning, simply prepare breakfast the night before. A chia seed pudding is a great go to breakfast that does not involve any preparation the day of. Just add some almond butter and fresh fruit to the pudding that you made the night before, and you are on your way to a balanced and healthy meal.
After following these simple morning routines, you should feel energized, refreshed and ready to take on your day. Find habits that work for you, but make sure your mornings are spent successfully waking up, practicing self-care and fueling your body. This will ensure that the rest of your day is productive and healthy.
Originally published at medium.com