How you start your day is how you live your life.
As true as that statement may be, trust me when I say that it does not mean that I have my morning routine perfected! To be totally honest, I struggle with mornings, and I always have. Some days I barely get anything done before noon, and others I manage to get up when the alarm goes off, get in a workout, make a delicious breakfast, and accomplish my entire ideal routine before I even leave for work. That's life!
In all honesty though, I know that I feel a million times better, more productive, and more prepared in all other areas of my life when I do put more of a focus on how I start my day. And it isn't just me who feels this way... many of the most successful people in the world put emphasis on having a morning routine that they stick to on a daily basis. There are a lot of opinions out there about what makes the "perfect" morning routine, but I truly believe that each person is different, and no one else can tell us what we need better than we can tell ourselves.
That being said, there are some actions that can benefit all of us, and they can also be incredibly simple to incorporate, even when you don't leave much time in the morning for a full routine overhaul! Here are my top three recommendations...
1. Drink water!
I know what you're all thinking... ya, ya, we get it. Water is important.
But seriously, it's SO important, especially first thing in the morning! When we wake up, we have spent at least 8 hours (hopefully) without anything to drink. Our bodies are working hard while we sleep, repairing and rebuilding, and we need to re-hydrate as soon as possible. Not only that, but our detoxification organs are also working overtime during the night, and those toxins need to be released from our body somehow! Drinking water right away helps to ensure that we are flushing those toxins out, instead of allowing them to recirculate back into our system. Proper hydration can increase energy levels, improve skin health, and reduce headaches, and the best time to start hydrating is right when we wake up.
Step it up by adding some fresh lemon juice or raw apple cider vinegar to your water! This will help to stimulate digestive juices and will therefore improve your digestive power for your first meal of the day.
Both of these should be diluted in water, and be sure to rinse your mouth with water afterwards to avoid any damage to the enamel of your teeth!
2. Stimulate your lymphatic system
Our lymphatic system is so important when it comes to supporting our immune system and flushing toxins out of the body. It is a network of tissues and organs and one of its functions is to transport lymph throughout the body, which contains white blood cells that are instrumental in destroying pathogens. However, unlike our circulatory system, the lymphatic system does not have a pump to help this process, so we have to physically MOVE in order to get our lymph flowing! There are some simple things that we can do in the morning to stimulate this system, like dry brushing, exercise, and contrast hydrotherapy. Incorporating even just a few minutes of stretching or movement when you wake up, followed by gently brushing your skin with a dry coarse bristled brush (always towards your heart), and then finishing off your shower with a blast of cold water, will do wonders in stimulating and supporting this system all day long!
As an extra bonus, lymph is made up of mostly water, so staying hydrated (see tip #1) is absolutely essential to keep this fluid flowing!
3. Drink coffee away from your breakfast
When it comes to the topic of breakfast, one size does not fit all. No matter what your breakfast typically consists of, removing your coffee from meal time can make a huge difference in your overall health. Caffeine inhibits the absorption of some nutrients, especially minerals, therefore you're losing out on some of those nutrients from your healthy breakfast when you pair it with a cup of coffee. On top of that, caffeine is also a stimulant, and we all know how we feel when we consume a stimulant. The feeling of increased energy that we experience is from the release of hormones like adrenaline, which switches the body into a "fight or flight" state. This increases heart rate, blood flow to the extremities, and the conversion and release of stored glucose. It also decreases blood flow and energy output to the digestive system. This means that your breakfast is no longer being digested as efficiently, which can lead to further impaired nutrient absorption, as well as digestive symptoms like gas and bloating.
Coffee is not the enemy, but we need to be calculated in the way that we consume it. Water should ALWAYS be consumed first, followed up breakfast, followed by coffee a couple of hours later.
If you're thinking that you NEED a cup of coffee first thing in order to get going, I challenge you to incorporate all 3 of these steps (especially the contrast hydrotherapy!) for at least a few days to see how your energy levels shift. It doesn't take long to form new habits, and these three simple switches will set you up for success for the rest of your day, which will inevitably lead to better habits and decisions in the rest of your life!
Be sure to share your experiences in the comments if you do incorporate any of these, or if you have your own morning routine that you already can't live without!