When I took my training for group fitness, the teacher really emphasized how important the warm-up is. Before class even starts, it gives you the opportunity to greet each guest, adjust your music to the perfect level, and set the tone for the energy in the room. To this day I still hear her voice before I start every class. Not every class starts perfectly, but then again not every day can have a perfect start.
The way we start our day is a lot like the way we start our class. Everything we do will have an effect on the mood and structure of our day and how motivated we are to experience what is to come. Unlike a structured, well-behaved class, though, your day can include small children, pets, husbands, wives, phones-okay, the list could go on and on-that demand our attention the moment we open our eyes or even before we choose to open our eyes. Having boundaries, communication, and respect around one another’s mornings is one of the healthiest choices you can make for this year, and I’m going to give you a couple of reasons why. What are some simple practices you could bring into your morning routine that could improve your mood and your clarity of mind, reduce stress, and fight off sickness?
1 Make time for meditation
I used to think about how lovely it would be to have the dedication to get alone with my thoughts, clear my head, and try to become lovely before facing my children. If you’re a mom, you’re already laughing along with me! Gone are the days of sitting in your beautiful art studio with a window overlooking a stream, pen and paper in hand, just waiting for life’s wisdom to fall into your lap.
Dear parents, I get you and the war you face every morning! We dream of that beautiful art room as we hide under the covers or between the wall and mattress, hoping they find Dad first. We need meditation-in a new form, one that works for you. This is one of the areas where communication with your partner, children, or pets is so important. Set healthy boundaries that work for you and give you a chance to pull it together before your day starts. My boundaries look like this: Kids wake up at 6 am. Troy gets up with them first and gets them dressed for school while I lay in bed for 15-20 more minutes talking to God and asking him to help me be a nice person that day. Then I wake up, and he goes downstairs to shower, have his alone time, or run to the gym before his day starts. We do this and respect each other’s space because we’ve learned over time (and it’s also scientifically proven) that people who allow even just a few moments to clear their heads before their day starts are highly effective individuals due to clearer thinking, less stress, and a more positive outlook on life.
2 Drink your greens
This is where we get the mind and body working together. Drinking green juice is one of the most positive things you can do for your body. It balances your hormones and pH levels and gives your body the healthy boost it needs for taking on your day. Greens are packed with vitamins our bodies need for energy and clarity of thinking and nutrients to fight off colds and foggy brains. If I could choose one positive thing for your diet this year, green juice would be it! Even if you decide to only add this one positive element to your life, your health, your skin, and your mind will reap the benefits.
3 Get your sweat on
Early morning workouts can be a challenge if you are not used to rolling out of bed and running stairs or having a boot camp instructor yell at you. If you feel like stopping or you hate it the first couple of weeks, don’t give up! Push through. You need to give your body and mind time to adjust to this new goal and learn to love it…and you will. Our bodies naturally crave what makes us feel good or delivers healthy, happy endorphins to our system. Old habits die hard, so you need to allow time for your body to start picking up on those happy hormones before you throw in the towel. Working out first thing in the morning is also a fantastic way to set the mind up for success. Throughout the day our minds fill with questions, work issues, or just life challenges, and our workouts can suffer from this. The more distractions, the less effective your workouts will end up being. Starting your workouts first thing in the morning is also a really effective way of jump-starting your metabolic rate and having your system burn calories in a more efficient and healthy way throughout the day. It doesn’t have to be a long workout. Start with 10-15 minutes of simple body weight exercises like jumping jacks, running on the spot, or squats to wake up the system and jump-start your success.
One of the most effective things you can do for yourself this year is to set realistic and healthy goals for yourself. Give yourself and the people around you boundaries and space to move, breathe, and enjoy your day.