Why Your Body Loves a Morning Routine
Does your day begin by hitting the snooze button two or three times?
Do you immediately grab your phone and start scrolling through social media, checking email or watching the news?
Or maybe you jump right into task mode and from that moment on your’re flying through the day, mostly feeling rushed, overwhelmed and just never at the top of your game?
Or maybe since the pandemic threw a curve ball into Life, you’re really struggling with finding a way to organize your day overall.
Whatever the case, if you feel like you have too little or too much time, I want to share a well proven fact: Our bodies love rhythm and routine.
Our morning routine syncs up with our natural circadian rhythm and helps regulates the key hormones that control our sleep, appetite, mood and metabolism. Having a healthy morning routine can be the game changer for: better eating habits, improved sleep, physical fitness and daily productivity.
And a morning routine is arguably the most powerful stress management strategy because instead of living in reactionary mode with the constant pressure of “when I get it all done”, you can begin your day from a place of peace, clarity and sense of purpose. Imagine if we lived in a world where the majority of people in society made that a priority.
When I start working with a client, the very first thing we work on is developing a healthy morning routine. I believe it’s the most powerful place to begin the process of feeling more in charge of your health.
Now the most important thing about a morning routine is creating one that resonates with your needs – this begins identifying with what’s truly important to you.
I can’t emphasize this enough – an effective morning routine has to start with your own values, otherwise down deep you won’t care enough to stick to it.
Here’s the basic criteria: Any activity that accomplishes 1 or more of the following:
1) Prepares you for the rest of your day,
2) Demonstrates a commitment to something that you value.
3) Makes your feel peaceful.
For instance, for one client, she wanted to have a calm and healthy mind so she could show up more patient and present for her family. Her morning routine became getting up at least 30 minutes before her kids so she could enjoy a cup of coffee alone on her porch, do some simple conscious breathing and just sit and be.
For another client, a cancer survivor, she valued her physical and mental health and wanted to balance out the sedentary nature of her job, so she set the tone for her day by taking a 30 minute stroll outside listening to the morning symphony of birds and crickets.
For another client, a recovering workaholic, who had neglected his body with poor quality food and not prioritizing sleep, overall health became the key value during his recovery from pre diabetes. His morning routine was hydrating with a tall glass of lemon water upon waking, meditating for 5-10 minutes and fueling up with a delicious protein rich smoothie.
In my own life, I value health, personal growth, spirituality, conscious living, intuition and emotional agility.
I should also mention that I practice Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, which is my preferred modality for comprehensive self care.
So my morning routine looks like:
1) A tall glass of lemon water (I keep this by my bedside)
2) A cup of herbal tea (I love turmeric ginger)
3) An average of 60 minutes of online kundalini yoga and
4) 5-10 minutes of journaling and inspirational reading (I’m enjoying Mark Nepo, “The Book of Awakening”)
I used to get up at 5:30am but it’s closer to 8am since the pandemic. I should mention that an effective morning routine begins actually the night before. Again, before the pandemic, I was in bed by 10:30 and needed less sleep. Like many, my sleep was really disrupted and I got into some not so great habits with Netflix binge watching. But I’ve recently gotten better and am finally able to fall asleep most nights by midnight.
In terms of breakfast, (I imagine you’re curious) I usually have a brunch type meal (eggs, veggies, sweet potatoes and tempeh bacon) around 11am with an iced espresso.
That’s what works for me and aligns with my nourishment needs and core values.
Once you identify your core values and what activities best align, set a reasonable time to wake up giving yourself at enough time for your new routine.
Keep it simple in the beginning. Rather than overwhelm yourself by trying to develop a bunch of habits at once, begin by adding in your morning behaviors one by one.
You can decide to incorporate some physical movement (yoga, stretching, walking), or personal stillness and contemplation (breathwork, meditation, prayer, journaling) and of course, to honor your body with a whole nutrient dense high protein breakfast.
Remember your morning routine is not just about checking more things off your list. It should enhance your day, make you feel awesome and be something that you look forward to!