Mornings truly set the stage for the entire day. The more positive momentum we can gain in the early hours, the more likely we’ll stay productive with a much brighter outlook. Beyond sheer will, many of our habits play a big role in our overall energy levels, and therefore our overall attitude.
Variety may be the spice of life, but I’m a big fan of routine. Routine provides consistency, and for my line of business, that means everything. When I work with clients, particularly those who are eager to just feel better throughout the day, I sit down and talk with them about their habits.
Almost everyone has a routine of some sort. Whether it’s taking the dog for a walk before leaving for the office, or catching the same bus on the way home from work – there is a routine. What I’m interested in, however, is what people do to benefit their body. The small details can make a tremendous difference. If I’m not seeing a healthy pattern, I work with them to correct it. Usually, within a week or two, the changes are pretty incredible.
A healthy amount of energy is something we should all have. The sudden loss of ambition to complete a project or the almost irresistible urge to take a nap shortly after lunch are problems that can often be resolved by tweaking a few lifestyle habits.
Think of every morning as a blank canvas for the day. You have an opportunity to reset your body and start fresh. These tips will help get your going in the right direction.
Before your get out of bed drink a glass of water.
- Your brain is 75% water and needs it after a full night of sleep.
- Water consumption helps to regulate metabolism, giving you a quick shot of energy.
- Drinking water, preferably room temp, on an empty stomach helps clear toxins faster.
- You’re more likely to drink it if it’s right there next to you. Don’t wait until you get to the kitchen!
As soon as you stand up take two minutes to stretch.
- A quick stretch in the morning (reaching overhead, for your toes and side to side) helps to ease back pain.
- Stretching helps to increase blood flow, which helps to rid toxins and increase oxygen to the brain.
- A good stretch helps to release endorphins, the body’s “feel good” hormones.
- Beyond the morning, periodic stretching during the workday has been shown to improve productivity.
Pack your gym bag and plan to exercise early.
- Ideally, workout before breakfast. If that’s not reasonable, the sooner the better.
- As little as 20 minutes of vigorous exercise can boost your energy, mood and productivity for hours to come!
- You’re less likely to eat unplanned foods if you work up a sweat earlier in the day.
- People who exercise regularly show dramatically improved cognition. Exercise helps you think better!
When it’s time to eat breakfast, go easy on sugar.
- Avoid any food with 12 or more grams of sugar per serving (fruit-flavored yogurt, boxed cereals, pre-packaged oats and specialty coffee drinks are big culprits).
- Eating sugar-laden foods, especially early in the morning, puts our body on a blood sugar roller coaster, making it difficult to control cravings throughout the day.
- High blood sugar levels can increase the hormone cortisol, which can make you feel unnecessarily stressed.
- Aim for a low sugar breakfast with a reasonable amount of protein and fat, such as full fat plain yogurt + walnuts + berries; old fashioned oats + coconut oil + cinnamon; whole eggs + sprouted grain toast.
Traci D Mitchell is the author of The Belly Burn Plan: 6 Weeks to a Lean, Fit and Healthy Body. She is a nationally recognized fitness, nutrition and weight loss expert who has been featured on numerous news programs, publications and radio shows, including Dr. Oz, The Steve Harvey Show, and the Today show. A certified personal trainer and metabolic typing adviser, Traci has been changing the lives of others for 15 years. She holds a master’s degree in communication from Marquette University and a master’s degree in health and nutrition education from Hawthorn University. She lives in Chicago.