Step 1: Make it feel good. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty cranky in the morning and I’m for sure not a runner before 9am. I Choose a stretching or yoga routine combined with some light abdominal work. Just ten to twenty minutes of movement in the morning can release endorphins, boost cognition and promote the release of wakeful hormones and neurotransmitters. By choosing a short routine that you enjoy, you are more likely to continue the process until it becomes a habit.
Step 2: Have a healthy breakfast. Try thinking of breakfast as your morning gift to your afternoon self. The better nutrition you fit in at breakfast, the better choices you’ll make for lunch. Choose foods that you enjoy and will carry you through the day to help avoid cravings later on. My favorite breakfast is oatmeal and eggs. the whole grains in the oatmeal are a great low glycemic source of carbohydrates to help regulate insulin and boost cognitive functioning. Eggs are basically a perfect protein packed with nutrients and will help fill you up. Some other great pairings are eggs, fruit and avocado. This breakfast is loaded with healthy fats that will fill you up, encourage healthy cell functioning and boost your mood! In a rush? Make an on-the-go mix of granola and nuts. Make sure to buy whole oat and low sugar granola and mix in almonds, cashews, pistachios and walnuts for peak performance.
Step 3: Take five minutes to set your daily intentions. This may sound silly but research shows that setting aside time to acknowledge your goals can make a big difference. Personally, I write mine down every morning to cement the habit. At the end of the day, I can look back at my list to feel really great about the goals I accomplished. Didn’t get everything done? Good! That shows that you set high expectations and will try to do more tomorrow. I like to write “show kindness” on my list every day. Its a good reminder to approach each person and situation with the benefit of the doubt and can put your stress in check throughout the day.
Its easy to let our own wellbeing slide when life gets hectic. Societal pressure can even make us feel guilty for setting this time aside for ourselves. The reality is that we perform better, save more time, and foster more robust relationships when we take just a bit of time to care for ourselves. Be an example.