By Rebecca Gawthorne – Dietitian & Nutritionist
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“It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.” ~Aristotle
When it comes to health and productivity, a good morning routine is crucial. Starting your morning off right will set you up for the entire day ahead. If you get your morning happening, everything else seems to fall into place. As Terri Guillemets so eloquently put it, “The time just before dawn contains the most energy of all hours of the day. This has helped me become an early riser and an early doer…. When I wake to see that it’s light out already, I feel the world has started without me.”
Like Guillemets, morning is my favourite time of day. I have six morning rituals that I try to follow every day. Practising these daily helps me rise awake, happy and healthy. If you are struggling to wake up in the morning, if you procrastinate or if your day lacks routine, try my six morning health rituals that will have you jumping out of bed when the sun rises, ready to take on the world.
My Six Morning Rituals
1) Rise Early - physiologically, our bodies function best if we wake up when the sun rises and go to sleep when it sets. For many of us, starting our day at the crack of dawn just isn’t very practical. We can however improve our morning and entire day by waking up a little earlier (i.e. not sleeping in until midday!). I like to wake up, with no alarm, around 6am.
2) Deep Breathing - one of the most calming and simple rituals you can practice each morning when you wake up is deep breathing. I like to sit upright in bed with my legs crossed, eyes closed and completely relaxed. I then take deep breaths in through my nose and out through my mouth, inhaling enough so that my lower abdomen rises and falls. This initiates the relaxation response. I try to do this at least 20 times or until I notice my heart rate and blood pressure drop, muscles relax and mind calm.
3) Drink Water - rehydrating your body with pure, fresh water when you wake up can do wonders for your health. It will help your organs clear toxins from your body and prevent fatigue and headaches during the day. I try to have at least two large glasses, which is around 500ml or 1/2 a litre when I get out of bed.
4) Stretch and Exercise - depending on what time I start work that day, I will either have a quick stretch or do my morning workout. Moving your body gets the blood flowing, oxygen to your brain and nutrients to your muscles and organs. It will help to energise you for the day. If you don't think you have time in the morning, either wake up earlier or do a quick circuit! Even 5 minutes can be enough to wake your body up! Try this little workout which I guarantee will get you sweating! 20x jump squats, 20x burpees, 20x jump lunges, 20x mountain climbers. Repeat 3 times.
5) Nourishing Breakfast - even though this is number 5 on my rituals list, I would definitely have to say it's the most important and the one I recommended you adopt first out of any of these rituals. I love a breakfast that includes some fresh fruit, protein, healthy fats and of course my daily Vida Glow. Check out my previous blog for some of my favourite nourishing beauty breakfasts.
6) Sunshine and Fresh Air - many people can go from their home in the morning, to their car, their office & then home again, completely missing out on the amazing health benefits of sunshine and fresh air. My final morning ritual involves going outside before I leave for work, to feel the sunshine on my skin and breath some beautiful fresh air.