Let’s face it: our morning routines are not what they once were. And if we learned anything from the not-so-quick turn of events, it’s that establishing a solid post-snooze regimen is essential for keeping productivity up throughout the day. From quick morning workouts to nutritious meals, these are the tips industry professionals recommend to make the most out of your mornings.
According to Xtend Barre founder Andrea Rogers, making movement an essential in your morning routine is a great way to set your day up for success. “By moving your body first thing in the morning, you are creating energy and endorphins while setting the stage for healthy, productive choices for the rest of your day!” A quick workout she often opts for is a 15 minute express barre workout series. “This allows you to get into your challenge zone quickly and optimize your time effectively. If you are pushing yourself to perform at your optimal level you can get a fantastic workout in just 15 minutes,” she explains.
Holistic healer Hope Gillerman says exercise is essential in the morning because it makes us breathe deeper, which allows more oxygen to flow to the brain. “Our brains need oxygen to be alert, creative and organized,” she says. If you don’t have time for rigorous exercise, try and take a short meditative walk: “The morning light will trigger your awakening hormones.”
When we open our eyes after a good night’s rest, we often reach for our phones, but Gillerman says to reach for your water bottle instead. “Drink 16 ounces of water while you are waking up,” she instructs. “We are very dehydrated when we wake up and the sooner we replenish, the better. Signs of dehydration include foggy thinking, dizziness, and fatigue.”
To kickstart your water intake for the day, Gillerman recommends making a warm 8-ounce cup of water or tea to relax the muscles. “Sprinkle in some sea salt and citrus juice to help your body absorb the water better,” she says, “or make a super hydrating smoothie that includes chia seeds, apple, cucumber or berries to keep you hydrated longer.”
Food for Thought
Holistic nutritionist Jennifer Hanway says we should choose our first meal of the day carefully. “I always recommend starting your day with protein, fiber and fat to keep your blood sugar balanced and keep hunger hormones at bay. I prefer to have a smoothie made with grass fed beef protein powder, collagen, lemon, greens, flaxseed, avocado and almond milk.”
If you can’t quit that cup of coffee, Hanway says to consider your options. “I have to admit that I love a great cup of coffee in the morning, but I make sure its organic and low acid to maximize the antioxidant and polyphenol benefits,” says Hanway.
“I start every morning with a quick stretch meditation,” says Rogers. “This allows me to wake up my mind and body while setting intentions for the day. I usually perform this sitting in bed while the sun is rising and my little ones are still sleeping. It’s a wonderful way to find focus and gratitude while setting the tone for my day.” Gillerman adds that other forms of meditation include breathwork, mindfulness and chanting.
Prep and Prime
“If you have a laundry list of ‘must-dos’ that feel more like chores than self-care, you will never get them done,” says Hanway. “For example, I have a regular meditation practice, but I do this in the afternoon rather than the morning as it suits my schedule better and helps me transition into my evening.”
Two other ways to avoid procrastination: prepare for your morning the night before and habit stack. “I always set my coffee machine, prep my smoothie and get my workout clothes ready before I go to bed—if I didn’t, those things would never happen,” says Hanway. “Another productivity-booster is habit stacking, which is when you build habits on top of one another. “I drink my water straight after scraping my tongue, keep my supplements next to my blender to take straight after breakfast and use my infrared sauna blanket straight after my workout,” Hanway adds.
To avoid the dreaded afternoon crash, Hanway drinks a tonic of warm water, lime juice and Himalayan salt. “This can actually give your adrenal and thyroid health a boost by providing some much-needed essential minerals,” she says. “Getting some daylight is also key for all-day energy as it helps regulate your circadian rhythm.”
Gillerman says she reaches for essential oils when she feels a wave of tiredness coming on. “Feeling relaxed but focused makes our days flow smoothly. Essential oils can do both for you by relaxing muscles and easing angst, while at the same time stimulating your senses and waking up a foggy brain,” she says. “Smelling salts were once used to rouse someone from fainting. We can use essential oils in the same way today by actively inhaling the oil with 5-10 slow, deep breathes. Peppermint, rosemary and eucalyptus are the most common stimulants for fatigue.”