7 Steps to Creating a Morning Wellness Routine
Written by: Nancy Boudreau
How you start your day is a good gauge as to how the rest of your day will go. If you wait until the last possible minute to get up and end up running around the house with your hair on fire, you’re setting yourself up for a whole lot of stress, fatigue and unnecessary inflammation, which is the root cause of all disease.
Ayurveda, and total mind-body health system, emphasizes the importance of having a morning routine to purify the body, strengthen immunity and bring balance to your life.
Here are 7 things you can do to help set yourself up for a positive and productive day, along with a healthier mind and body.
1. Get up earlier: There is something so peaceful about the quiet of the early morning, when everyone else is still asleep. Ayurveda believes rising within 20 minutes of sunrise is optimal, but start with 10 minutes earlier than you normally get up and work back from there.
2. Drink enough water: Start your morning by drinking a large glass (at least 16 ounces) of room temperature water immediately upon rising. TIP: Keep a BPA-free water bottle or glass by your bedside so you don’t even have to think about it first thing in the morning.
If you’re a coffee drinker, before you have your first cup of organic coffee, drink a large mug of warm water with the juice of half a lemon. The warm water will help to flush out the kidneys and stimulate good bowel health, while the lemon gets your digestive system fired up for the day, helping to alkalize your pH levels (the acid to alkaline ratio within your body). With these two simple steps, you’ve already consumed 4 glasses (roughly 32 ounces) of water! Remember, your aim if ½ your bodyweight in ounces per day (example: if you’re 150 pounds, you’re aiming for at least 75 ounces of water).
3. Meditate: The physical and mental benefits of mediation are countless and include: lower blood pressure, decreased stress and anxiety, improved mental clarity. And it’s easy to get started. Sit comfortably, close your eyes and concentrate on your breath. If that sounds impossible, a guided mediation might be an easier way to start. There are plenty of free online resources and apps. Start with 5 minutes and continue adding a couple minutes weekly. If you tell me you don’t have 5 minutes to sit quietly and breathe, then we need to talk. 🙂
4. Exercise: I’m not talking about a high intensity workout, but if you’re into that, go for it! Otherwise, start with something simple, like going for a walk, light stretching, a few rounds of Sun Salutation or jumping on the rebounder. Make it easy by having your workout clothes and sneakers next to your bed so you‘re ready to go when you wake up.
5. Dry brushing: Dry brushing helps exfoliate and soften your skin and stimulate the lymphatic system, which helps remove toxins from your body. Using a soft bristle brush, gently brush your arms and legs upward in the direction towards your heart and use a circular motion on your hips and thighs. Be gentle on sensitive areas, such as your chest and neck. It’s normal for your skin to get a little red and tingly, this goes away. When you’re finished, jump in the shower and follow with an oil massage.
6. Oil Massage: Using coconut, sesame or almond oil, massage oil on damp skin after your shower. Start with the tops of your feet (avoid the soles of your feet – a little too slippery!) and massage up and down your legs, torso, arms, chest and neck, then pat dry. Not only does this moisturize your skin, but the self massage calms the nervous system, decreasing stress and anxiety.
7. Eat breakfast: Breaking the 6-8 (more or less) hour fast during sleep stokes your metabolic fire. Make it easy to have a healthy, protein packed breakfast by having a few staples on hand. Blend a smoothie with non-dairy milk (almond, hemp, coconut), frozen berries, ½ an avocado, handful of leafy greens and a scoop of plant-based protein powder. Bake a vegetable filled frittata on Sunday, making enough to enjoy a piece for breakfast every morning the following week. Spread some cashew or almond butter on a slice of sprouted or gluten free bread, topped with sliced banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon. These are all quick and portable options as well as healthy and satisfying, sure to keep you going until lunch.
Am I saying you should start doing all of these practices tomorrow? No, sweetheart, that would be silly! The biggest mistake people make in implementing healthy lifestyle changes, is trying to go from zero to hundred in one day and getting burnt out, which often doesn’t stick. Start with one or two practices that you know you can really commit and follow through with and build from there. By implementing a morning wellness routine, you’ll start your day centered and calm, ready to face whatever the day brings with a smile.
About the Author
Nancy Boudreau is a Certified Health Coach and yoga enthusiast, who believes in progress, not perfection. She works with women who want to lose weight, manage stress and reclaim their vitality by making small, incremental changes to their diet and lifestyle that add up to big changes in weight, energy and overall health. Connect with Nancy on her website.
Image Source: Huffington Post, This Works Body Wraps, Bella Spark, Popsugar
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