By: Dr. Francesca Vazquez
Have you ever wondered what's behind success and a balanced life? What's the difference between driven, healthy, creative achievers and those who are not? This might not be the only answer, but we're pretty sure it has something to do with it and it's their morning habits.
Mornings [especially Monday mornings] have a huge impact on how a person's week turns out. Not only do they set the tone for the day ahead but they also affect the kind of person you will show up as at work, home, school, and all around life. Developing healthy morning habits is essential in maintaining a balanced life. They're the secret ingredient for keeping up with your wellness regime, achieving your goals and let's be real, being a normal human that doesn't take 2 daily naps in (secret) corners and has a brownie for lunch.
Here is a little AM inspiration that, if followed, will set you up for a successful week ahead:
1. Wake up early
Waking up early is probably the most important step! It is the foundation for the rest of our morning tips! "Early" can look different for everyone. The time a day you decide is best to rise depends on your line of work, if you have kids, and your lifestyle. We recommend giving yourself at least 1.5 hours at home before having to head out the door. For some, this may be 5:30am and for others it could be 7:30am. Waking up with enough time will give you the space to plan the day ahead without feeling rushed. If you have kids, we recommend you rise 30 minutes before they do so you can practice your morning habits before you have to take care of them instead.
2. Don't look at your phone for the first 30 minutes of your day
Making it a habit to check your email and scroll through Instagram first thing in the morning will make you feel frazzled and stressed. It's happened to all of us! That kind of stimulation is not what you need to prepare for a successful day. Instead, take time to stretch, give thanks for the day and start your morning without any external chatter (or bad news). Try not to answer texts, phone calls or emails until you're done with your morning routine.
3. Make your bed
No matter how busy you are or how quick you need to get out the door, always make your bed. This practice sets you up for success and is one shared by all driven, healthy women & men. It helps you feel accomplished from the very start of your day and makes a huge difference in the environment of your home.
Bonus: Make it a mindful practice to stretch out the covers and place the throw pillows the way you like. Something as simple as completely focusing on the task and finding joy in the habit of making your bed, will help you tackle the rest of your positive morning tasks seamlessly.
4. Practice 3 yoga sun salutations
Many successful, balanced women and men, start their day with a sweat session. However, getting in a 60 minute workout is not always necessary (or possible). We get it! Something as simple as moving your body for 15 minutes through a series of yoga sun salutations, will be enough to sneak in the benefits of morning movement when you don't have time (or the energy) for a morning run. Getting some quick movement into your system first thing in the morning helps release any tension, boosts your endorphins, improves your mood, and increases your chances of staying healthy and calm throughout the day.
5. Meditate for 5 minutes
Set 5 minutes aside for a mindfulness practice. Choose a private, quiet corner at home (bedroom is typically best). This can be difficult when you have kids so practicing it before the action starts might be the only way to go about. It is probably one of the most powerful morning habits shared by inspired individuals. By just practicing meditation (or any mindful practice that resonates with you: deep breathing, visualization, positive affirmations...) for 5-10 minutes daily, you are able to bring your mind to a state of complete ease and comfort. In effect, you will feel centered throughout the day and able to better handle any situation thrown at you.
To practice, you can create a playlist of meditative music on spotify and set up a timer for 5 minutes (to start). Throughout these 5 minutes, focus on your inhales and exhales, trying not to engage with incoming thoughts. If you're in need of more guidance, download a meditation app such as HeadSpace. It is highly recommended for guided meditations!
6. Have a healthy breakfast
Smoothies are an easy way to enjoy a breakfast rich in essential vitamins and minerals without having to put in too much work. By adding sources of protein such as almond butter, oats, and spinach, you are boosting your metabolism and increasing your chances of feeling energized and upbeat throughout the first half of your day. If smoothies are not your thing, try these Banana-Oat Pancakes.
7. Spend minimal time getting ready
For success and balance, time management is essential. Spending an hour getting ready is not realistic, nor is it worth the trouble! Successful and balanced women and men don't have time to spend their whole morning in front of the mirror. Cut your morning "get-ready" routine in half by laying out your outfit the night before and minimizing the products and tools you use. Have your go-to hair and make-up routine down to a "t" so you can breeze through it without giving it much thought. Ladies: When having one of those "nothing looks good on me" days, go with black high-wasted pants, tucked in white blouse, flats, and a low bun. Simplicity is always the ultimate form of sophistication.
Photography above: The Every Girl