You know that colleague that walks into the office bright and cheery on Monday morning that kind of annoys you but that you also secretly envy? You tell yourself that they are a “morning person” and that they probably have a natural disposition to be in a good mood as soon as they wake up. Although it is said that we do have a tendency to either be night owls or early risers, we can actually take steps to create a positive morning routine that will start our day off right.
Believe it or not, I never used to roll out of bed before 11:00 am. That was until I got a dog that would wake me up at 6:00 am because he was ready for his morning stroll. This got me into the habit of going for early walks, which opened me to a whole new world. One filled with peace and quiet in a usually bustling city, gorgeous sunrises and some me time before the craziness of the day started. I eventually added in other elements to my morning routine, which gave me pleasure and brought positivity to a moment of the day that used to be quite difficult to get through. Here are some tips to turn your morning whine fest into an enjoyable moment.
Be mindful of what you expose yourself to when you wake up
Your brain is like a sponge when you first open your eyes. It’s very receptive to the initial thoughts you have and whatever information you expose it to so choose your first actions every carefully. I used to turn the TV on as soon as I woke up but that was probably the worst thing I could do. Watching the morning news, which is mostly negative, generated unnecessary stress and worry and made me feel hopeless regarding everything that was going on in the world.
Instead, I now I turn to my meditation playlist to take in some relaxing and positive thoughts. Depending on how much time I have, I might do a quick 5 minutes (I love Gabrielle Bernstein’s free Morning meditation, #33 in the list) or if I can, I will do a longer meditation like those currently offered in Oprah’s and Deepak Chopra’s 21 day Meditation Challenge. Meditating allows me to set an intention for my day, to be still and I can more easily go back to that place when I face challenging moments. If you would like to give meditation a try, here are some tips for beginners.
If you don’t think that meditation is your thing, another option is reading a few pages of a book that you really like (something positive of course, so not some murder mystery). I always have a couple of spiritual books on my nightstand (see a list of my faves at the end of this post) and will flip through the pages and read my favourites highlighted passages.
Here again, the idea is to intake something that creates a positive mindset. This doesn’t mean that you can’t watch or read the news in the morning, just try to wait a good hour before doing so. Establish a good positive base before bringing in some of the more negative stuff.
After taking care of the mind, comes the body!
One of the most comforting things I like to do first thing in the morning is sip on a nice hot drink. For most people that might be coffee but I choose to avoid caffeine for health reasons. My potion won’t make you jittery and is actually good for you. Just pour some hot water in your favourite mug, squeeze a bit of lemon, add a small piece of fresh ginger and a tiny sprinkle of cayenne pepper. These ingredients eliminate toxins and rave up the metabolism. It’s the perfect kick-start for your body.
After my detoxifying hot drink, I whip up a healthy breakfast. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I am a big fan of smoothies, fresh juices and breakfast bowls. Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day and when you feed your body good food, it will thank you in return with high energy levels which allow you to power through your day. For me, a healthy breakfast includes fresh fruit and protein.
I am an active girl so if I don’t have enough protein, I will be hungry an hour later and will grab any snack I can (which I usually regret eating immediately after). I love Greek yogurt, almond butter, almond milk, various nuts, quinoa and some eggs on occasion. If you are curious to see and try some of my morning concoctions, you can check some of my favourites out here and also connect with me on Instagram and Facebook where I share many of my breakfast creations. My Food & Drink board on Pinterest will inspire you for sure as well.
Being fully present: not being at work before you are actually physically at the office
Have you ever noticed where your mind goes when you are in the shower or brushing your teeth in the morning? You are probably in some far away land already making today’s to do list, right? Now I am all for planning but that can very well wait until you sit down at your desk and can actually write down what needs to get done.
Do you enjoy your job so much that you want to start it while you are still at home? Why not enjoy this quiet time you have before heading to work? I remember one ex boyfriend that would actually speak out loud while he was in the shower as he was thinking about that he was going to say to certain employees once he got to the office. He might have still been physically at home but he had mentally punched in about 2 hours before actually getting to work! If you take the time to savour your morning routine instead of just going through the motions, you will start appreciating this time of the day which leads me to my final tip:
Gratitude is the winning attitude
I know that some people might think that listing what you are thankful for is cheesy but it is proven to be one of the most important sources for happiness and it’s a great way to start your day. As soon as I wake up, I think of how grateful I am for a good night’s sleep, a warm comfortable bed, quiet surroundings, feeling safe and being healthy.
If you wake up next to your loved one, take a moment to be thankful for having that wonderful person in your life. Fully drink in the beauty of having someone special to share your life with. Being in a long distance relationship, I can tell you that I really savour those moments when we reunite and I wake up to see my sexy hunk of love lying next to me. Practicing gratitude allows you to focus on what you have rather than what you don’t.
Now that you have a few tools to try why not give one a go in the next week and see how you feel? Notice the subtle changes in your mood when you wake up and how the rest of the day unfolds. Sometimes it just takes little changes to have a big impact. And don’t feel like you have to do all of the above. I incorporated these habits over years so just do whatever feels right and take baby steps.
Oh, and one last important detail about starting the day right. This might go without saying but the first thing you need to do before starting any of this is make sure you are getting enough sleep. You can try all the tricks in the world to become an awesome morning person, but if you go to bed at midnight when you need to get up a 5:00 am, that crabby sleep deprived version of yourself will always take over and run your day. Until next time my lovelies, enjoy your mornings and let me know how it goes in the comment section below! xx
Some of my favourite morning and evening reads (click the book cover to read some reviews or to purchase):