How to Start your Morning on the Right Foot

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how to start your morning on the right footHave you ever felt like your day has gotten away from you before you’ve even had a chance to wake up?  I have!  I used to be that person that would stay up too late, optimistically set the alarm to give myself plenty of time in the morning, but then hit the snooze button several times, leaving for work in a frenzy (often with wet hair!) at the very last possible second.

For several years now, since my daughter has been in school, I’ve been in a good weekday routine of waking at least half an hour before she does.  More recently, I’ve extended my morning rituals so I rise an hour to 90 minutes before her alarm goes off. 

I’ve started to notice that when I sleep in on the weekends my days don’t go as smoothly.  I feel like I’m still tender from sleep and everybody needs something from me all at once.  I have to jump into nurturer mode before I’ve had a chance to take care of myself.  The weekends have helped me realize just how important my rituals are to the success of the rest of the day.

I thought I’d give you a peek into my mornings so you can see how I get my mornings started on the right foot.  Whether you’re rising before dawn to see your spouse off to PT, getting children ready for school, meeting friends for an early workout, or preparing for your workday, these points of self-care will get your day started right.

  • Take 10 minutes of quiet time.  I call this time meditation, but I know some people are uncomfortable with the word.  Whatever label you want to put on it, create a window of transition time to sit quietly at the beginning of your day before you check email or social media, or even talk to anybody.  Let thoughts pass through your mind without attaching attention to any particular one.  You’re awake, but you’re not busy thinking yet.  You might find that by making this space in your day, you’re able to also make space before you react in situations throughout your day, giving you the opportunity to be more mindful in your interactions with people.
  • Breathe and stretch.  I practice yoga for 30-60 minutes every morning, matching movement with breath.  This helps me shake the sleep from my body, and reminds me to take the calming breath with me throughout my day.  Even if you don’t want to do a whole yoga practice, you could inhale your arms up to the sky and exhale into a forward fold, repeating several times.
  • Drink something warm and plan your day.  Tea used to be my warm beverage of choice in the morning but I’ve switched to mixing the juice of half a lemon with a cup of warm water.  This helps me start the day hydrated in a non-caffeinated way, and it gives my digestion a boost.  If it really helps clear and smooth the skin, I’ll take that benefit too!  I sip my lemon water and quickly go through my calendar, email, and social media to see what the day has in store.  I’m able to prioritize things in my day before any demands are made of me.
  • Eat breakfast.  This is last, but absolutely not least.  Eating breakfast tells your metabolism it’s time to get out of sleep mode and get going for the day.  It helps you concentrate and gives you more energy for your activities.  It helps you eat a reasonable number of calories throughout the day, rather than starving in the morning and overeating later.

What is the big secret to making all of this happen?  Get to bed on time.  Go to bed seven to eight hours before you want to wake up so you can get plenty of sleep.  Then see what possibilities exist in a day when you’ve started your morning on the right foot with nurturing rituals.

How do you take care of yourself in the morning?