Whenever it comes to starting healthy habits, we love to say “tomorrow”. Yes, tomorrow is a great day to start something new, refresh our intentions in terms of healthy choices and simply refocus on a healthy lifestyle. It all starts with small steps, and a new day is always a good moment to begin with. Our motivation is probably at its peak and a young day simply evokes fresh energy and the intrinsic wish to change something and start anew.
Having gone through that process many times myself, I know how great it feels to plan a new health habit, workout plan or – despite its rather negative connotation, I’ll use the word here – diet. So let’s look at this very special time of the day, upon waking up, when we first open our eyes and realize: Today is the day. Let’s get going!
Over the years, I have developed a couple of morning routines that do not only ensure that you stick to your plan from “tomorrow” but that are also a great and healthy guide for you to start any day of your life.
# 1: Wake up with happy thoughts. While it might appear somewhat esoteric to think about the character of your thoughts, it has been proven that positive thought patterns have a healthy effect on our mindset and therefore on our attitude for the rest of the day. Why? Positive thinking fosters “healthy behaviors” and builds “personal resources that result in increased social support and broader attention to the good things in life”, says Dr. Moskowitz, a professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. In her article, “A Positive Outlook May Be Good for Your Health” Jane E. Brody from the New York Times says that
“(…) actively cultivating positive emotions can boost the immune system and counter depression. Studies have shown an indisputable link between having a positive outlook and health benefits like lower blood pressure, less heart disease, better weight control and healthier blood sugar levels.”
You can read her full article here.
So instead of focusing on all the difficult and tricky things that are waiting for you during the day, imagine how you will be able to solve problems, master challenges and surpass yourself in the most positive manner. All by investing in your health en passant.
#2: Drink more water. I am sure that you have come across this advice no matter what you were looking for. But drinking plenty of water in the morning is simply the best way to flush your system, get your metabolism going, boost your digestion and replenish your reserves. If you want to take it a step further, I recommend drinking lukewarm water, maybe with a bit of lemon juice, or, if you can take it, even some ginger and turmeric on an empty stomach. Turmeric has highly anti-inflammatory benefits, while ginger is the perfect metabolism booster and stomach soother. If you like to learn more about the health benefits of drinking water, head to my latest blog post about why I turned water into my favorite drink.
#3: Meditate: To be honest, I haven’t yet been able to include regular mediation into my morning routines, but I am still trying hard. The reason is that I am a total morning person, which means that instantly upon waking up I become this super active, hyper powerful person who runs around and thinks of all the things that can be done on this very day. Sitting down to collect my thoughts and breathe through them simply doesn’t work for me. The best time for me to meditate is in the evening, when everything has calmed down and my power levels have decreased. However, I know many people who meditate in the morning and for them it’s a wonderful way to focus on the day and prepare for all the tasks ahead of them. Try it out, see what works best for you, and ease your way into a new day.
#4: Drink green tea: Most people around me crave coffee as soon as they wake up. I have never been able to accustom myself to coffee, simply because I don’t like its taste. So no cappuccino, espresso, latte something or bulletproof coffee for me. But once I started working in an office I simply wanted to have a morning drink as well, simply for ritual’s sake. So I started drinking green tea and have come to LOVE it over the past years. In my view, green tea is the best drink you can have, as it wakes you up without the spikes that follow from drinking coffee. You stay alert, connected, focused and active all day long without having to refill your cup many times a day. The benefits of green tea lie in its bioactive and antioxidant properties, which act as free radical fighters, natural fat burner, Alzheimer’s protector, dental health improver, cardiovascular disease and diabetes fighter. Need more reasons to drink green tea?
#5: Workout gently: I know this is a hard one. We are often too tired and too busy getting ready for work in the morning that we don’t really have time to think about, let alone implement working out. Being a person whose morning routine looks differently every single day, I am not proposing to set your alarm clock hours before necessary to run laps or do push ups. In fact, I am a believer of getting a lot of sleep, as this is when we truly rejuvenate and renew our cells, which I consider more important than a morning workout. However, I have made the experience that getting some gentle exercise in the morning really helps to kick off healthy habits and stick to healthy routines during the rest of the day.
#6: Walk: This one is closely related to working out, but it’s still different as it really means to walk for longer periods of time. Lately, the recommended daily steps have been augmented from 10,000 to 15,000, which is literally a huge step forward. Why is walking so healthy? The answer is simple: Walking improves your blood levels, it enhances your mood and helps you lose weight. Furthermore, it increases your vitamin D intake, which is especially important in darker seasons, when we don’t get enough sunlight, our natural vitamin D provider. It triggers anti-aging processes and reduces the risk for many diseases (such as dementia, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, and coronary heart disease).
While I was still working in an office, I oftentimes walked to work, which took me roughly 45 minutes. It was the best experience, as it lifted my spirits and I had the great feeling that I have already done something good for myself in the morning. Plus, it gives you the time to think or to listen to your favorite music or a cool podcast (my favorites are The Rich Roll Podcast, Bulletproof Radio, Fat-Burning Man, From the Hearty by Rachel Brathen and The Melissa Ambrosini Show among many others).
#7: Have a healthy breakfast: Last but not least, our breakfast has a huge impact on our eating pattern for the remaining day. When we have something good and healthy for breakfast it becomes easier to stick to healthy foods when lunch and dinner time come around. What is healthy for you largely depends on your body type compatibility and your personal preferences. I for example love to have a breakfast with natural yoghurt, fresh fruits, granola and loads of nut butter. If you prefer something heartier, I’d recommend the rainbow breakfast with plenty of veggies and eggs. While I was travelling in Southeast Asia, I had soups for breakfast many times, which I came to love, especially for their comforting and soothing effect. Avocado on toast is always a great option and suitable for vegans and vegetarians, as well as hummus, grilled veggies or a variety of smoothies or smoothie bowls. Check my recipe collection for healthy and delicious breakfast options, if you struggle finding the right meal to eat in the morning.
As always, these are my personal recommendations that I have developed over the years but I’d like to stress the importance of finding your own flow and see what works best for you. Take care of your bio-individuality and find morning routines that will make you happy, healthy and looking forward to start a new day. Every day.