Hi friend! So today before I get started I have a quick question for you: Did you wake up today to the sound of a buzzing alarm clock, rush to get dressed, grab something to eat, and get out the door in time to make it to work, possibly eating or drinking whatever it was you made while en route or at your desk?
Chances are that experience of a typical morning sounds pretty familiar. And I’m not going to lie, sometimes that’s what my morning looks like as well. But it’s an exception, not the rule. When you wake up in the mindset that you have to be go-go-going right from the moment you open our eyes, you’re setting the stage for a day that’s unsettled, stressful, and frankly not very enjoyable.
And the funny thing is, a lot of this stems from the choices you make surrounding what you prioritize in your day. In this post I’ll share with you some choices you can make that will help make health and enjoyment a much larger part of your day-to-day life.
1. Stop Watching That Show
You know what I mean. It’s 10:30 and you know you have to be up for 6:30 or 7 am and you haven’t even started preparing for bed. But just one.more.episode. won’t hurt right? Wrong! At this point in the night you’re likely just mindlessly consuming some show you’re not even that into because it’s there and Netflix just keeps playing them for you.
There are studies out that point out the negative effects on brain patterns, etc. that your electronic devices have on your sleep when you watch them late at night, but that’s not what I’m going to focus on. I’m focusing on the choice you make to prioritize some crappy TV show over a good night’s sleep and the creation of a before bed ritual that helps you wind down so you can get more nourishing rest. So for goodness sake, just hit pause! The show will be there tomorrow.
2. Give Yourself Time
This choice becomes easier as a direct result of the choice above. If you turned off the TV/streaming service and made yourself a cup of tea, read a book, had a bath, or something else that calmed you down before sleep, then you will likely hit the pillow in the right frame of mind and with enough time to get a restorative 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
If this is the case then you can get up with plenty of time in the morning to bathe, make a good breakfast, meditate, read, have a conversation with your partner, do a little bit of exercise, or whatever brings you joy before you have to head out for work. I like to give myself a solid 1.5 to 2 hours in the morning to get up and do my morning routine without the constant pressure of being late breathing down my neck. You might need more or less.
And it might take you a little while to figure out what sort of routine you want and how long it takes. The important thing is to give yourself time between shutting off the TV and getting into bed and between waking up in the morning and going off to do what it is you need to do.
3. Establish a Morning Routine
Humans seem to crave routine and order (until we don’t anymore, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish). When you add some structure to your morning it gives you a solid foundation from which you can create the rest of your day. Everyone’s morning routine is going to look a little different but here’s what mine currently looks like.
- Wake up. Lay in bed for a few minutes giving myself time to adjust to the world of wakefulness. I’ve never been a morning person so this is an incredibly important transition for me. I usually focus on feeling how cozy my bed is, what the birds sound like outside, and maybe recall an interesting dream I had.
- Do a short guided meditation. I often use the morning meditation from Soul Seconds. It’s 3 minutes and the perfect little way to prepare for your day.
- Tongue scraping. This action is non-negotiable for me as it physically and mentally feels like I’m scraping off the previous day and starting fresh. Plus it helps clean out some of the surface bacteria in your mouth and keep your breath fresher.
- Brush my teeth with my gum powder or tooth oil. I like to do this before I eat and you can read about why right here.
- Put on a pot of water with crushed ginger or pau d’arco tea in it. I use this water as a base for my Immune Boosting Matchaga Latte (I just recently added the chaga as an experiment and it is delicious!) or a loaded up hot chocolate.
- Start heating pans for my breakfast. Usually I’ll eat soup or something I made the day before so it’s a simple and quick act of reheating. This is also where I would drink my green juice if I was smart and not lazy and made it the night before.
- While my breakfast is warming and my water is boiling I’ll get dressed and do my makeup. Efficiency!
- Once my water is boiled I turn it down so that it can simmer and keep leaching the gingery goodness into the water.
- This might make me a bad nutritionist, but I ALWAYS eat my breakfast at my laptop because this is the time of day when I can read any new interesting nutrition, yoga, wellness, or other articles that came up on my homepage or Facebook. I have carefully curated my Facebook so that I follow lots of cool journals, foundations, researchers, and people who share things that resonate with what I do. This is my equivalent to reading the morning paper, minus the killing of trees. I also get daily emails from The Skimm, which makes me feel very smart and up-to-date on current events 😉
- Finally, I whip up my Latte, pour it in my travel mug, and do the dishes before I head out the door.
Now are there places in this routine that could be improved? Sure. But for me, right now, this ritual works and helps me feel calm and grounded for my day ahead. I tend to prefer exercising, so it’s just not part of my morning, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a part of yours! The point is, find a routine that works for you and make it a priority.
It doesn’t have to be perfect and you’re allowed to have days where it doesn’t happen. Life doesn’t care about your plans and you can’t always make this kind of time. However, if you make a few choices that start to prioritize our health slowly they’ll start crowding out the not-so-healthy choices until one morning you wake up and you’re all “Damn! I used to get up 5 hours later than this and start my day with a smoke and a tummy ache. Who the hell am I and how do I feel so good?” 😉