Most people have jobs that require them to be at work at (what may seem like) an ungodly hour. We scramble out of bed, throw a bagel in our mouth, and drink coffee on the way to work. Before we even realize it, we’re sitting at our desk, reading emails, checking Facebook, and we haven’t even had a chance to move our bodies. Instead of using our body’s natural ability to create energy, we use caffeine to create an unnatural boost of energy. There’s a better way.
The way you start your morning determines how your day goes. If you wake up, scramble out of bed because you’ve hit snooze 3 times, and then rush to work, all without having had a minute to transition from sleeping to awake, then you’re not setting yourself up for a great day. You’re setting your body up to feel like crap. You’ll be sweating, nervous, high-strung and pumping cortisol within the first hour. If you can start your morning doing something you enjoy, adding in some movement, a visualization (this is HUGE), and some healthy nourishment, then you are well on your way to an awesome day. Try and avoid the stressful aspects of your life until after your morning routine. That often means avoiding your email or talking to your parents. Figure out what causes stress in your life, and shut that part of your life out until you’re ready to face it after you’ve had your morning routine. Instead, include activities that you enjoy.
It doesn’t need to be long. A great morning routine can take as little as 20 minutes, if you want it to. Make sure that you have something that you like to do in your morning routine. It won’t be fun if you don’t like any of it. Also include some form of exercise in which you are working on your full range of movement. That’s why yoga is fantastic. It stretches out all the kinks and soreness from the day before and from whatever crumpled position you managed to get yourself into while you were sleeping. Water and oxygen are number one. Wake up, drink some water. You’re dehydrated. And breathe, because oxygen gives you energy and you need that. You can simply sit down and breathe deeply, or use exercises that increase your heart rate and bring more oxygen to your brain. Try breathing quickly in and out of the nose for 30 seconds as loudly as possible. Visualization is the next component. I believe that this is an extremely important tool to use to help make you the best version of yourself. Simply thinking about what you want to accomplish, and imagining the best possible outcome of what can happen that day, that week, or a project that you’re working on for months from now, can help you feel better in attacking your day. Spend a couple minutes thinking about 2 or 3 goals for the day – specific, attainable goals – and then go get some good food in your belly.
Here’s my morning routine:
1) Hydration – Chug a glass of water with lemon and sea salt. Doesn’t need to be a fresh lemon – lemon juice will do just fine.
2) Breathing – I stand in mountain pose for a couple minutes, breathing deeply while listening to music on loud, closing my eyes, and trying to pay attention to every part of my body. I check in and see what’s tight, what’s sore, and what feels strong.
3) Movement – I move through a 10 minute yoga session that covers my full body. The point isn’t to break a sweat or to deplete energy. This is to stretch out my body and ensure that everything is working the way that it should be for the day.
4) Visualization – After I finish my 10 minutes of yoga, I stand (sometimes sit) up tall, close my eyes, and think about what I need to accomplish for the day. I visualize the best possible outcome of everything on my schedule and to-do list. I make myself excited for what’s to come, whether it’s training people, writing a blog, working on a new Man Flow Yoga project, or even a thrilling escapade to the grocery store. This also helps me compartmentalize my thoughts.
5) Super fuel – I put good food in my body. Every morning it’s eggs with peppers and spinach leaves. It’s a great source of protein and a good source of vegetables. I skip the coffee and then get to work.
Some essential components to a morning routine:
3. Movement (Something you like).
5. Super fuel.
1. Meditation. – Not my favorite, but this works well for a lot of people. I use visualization as my meditation.
2. Gratitude. – Article after article supports this theory, but showing gratitude is the most powerful emotion that we experience. If you can spend 2 or 3 minutes each day being thankful for what you have, then you will be better off for it. This can be a form of prayer, a silent thank you to a friend or family member, or even a thank you to yourself. I’ll admit, I haven’t been able to incorporate this one myself, but I hope that I get there someday.
Morning routines – use ’em!