It’s springtime!! The trees and grass are beginning to show life, the birds are singing in the morning and the beauty of the butterflies are returning to fill the landscape.
For many of us, it also means feeling the mental and physical effects of a long and seemingly endless winter living indoors. Being less active and overindulging, especially during the holidays can leave us feeling unmotivated and lethargic.
Springtime is the perfect time of year to brush off those bad habits of the holiday season and start making a change toward a healthier lifestyle. One of the best ways to get the ball rolling and to keep it moving is to adopt a new morning routine.
Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.
Why the morning?
Simply because, for the majority of us, by the time we arrive home from a busy day, we are too exhausted or have other activities going on to put much of an effort in trying to make a serious change toward a healthier life.
Your success will be much higher and the payoff greater, by adopting new habits as part of your morning routine rather than any time later in the day.
There are a variety of different ways to work toward becoming healthier. Adding a couple of new healthy activities will likely begin to show a positive change within a few weeks.
And, if you stay committed to your new morning routine, you can feel confident knowing you are doing something to bring a change that will have positive effects not only on yourself, but those around you.
One life changing addition to make to your morning plan is to spend a few minutes meditating on the day ahead.
Meditating first thing in the morning can help you to mentally prepare for the day ahead as well as focus on the other aspects of your new morning routine.
Release all of the negative thoughts and feelings of the day before and visualize how you want your day to proceed.
Meditation has helped me become more mindful and “live in the moment”. It took some time to get used to, but I look forward to my practice now and I know you will too.
Let’s face it, life can be quite stressful. Having time to meditate each and every morning will give you a feeling of being in control early in your day. Making an effort to meditate in the morning may seem somewhat counter-intuitive at first. All too often, your schedule is hectic and rushed in the mornings.
Many people feel they just don’t have the time for such things. But being committed to meditating each and every day as the first part of your morning routine will bring positive results in no time.
Adopt a Technique
Most everyone has a different way of meditating, and discovering what really works best for you is key to making this habit last. Everyone is different and what works best for one person may not necessarily work well for another person.
One good way to start is by sitting in a quiet room in a soft backless chair with your feet bare and touching the floor while your hands are turned upward toward the ceiling. This relaxing posture will allow you to focus more easily.
What is Meditation?
One thing to remember here is that this is not about being lethargic. It is all about obtaining a level of focus and a relaxed state of mind. There is a difference between the two.
While sitting in this position, you can control the rate of your breathing. Make sure to inhale deeply enough to completely fill your lungs without overdoing it and excessively stretching the chest outward.
Keep your eyes closed and remain still throughout the session. Begin by first spending a few minutes decluttering your mind of all the negative thoughts you have from the day and evening before. During this time you can also try to forgive and forget anyone who made you angry or unhappy.
This helps to clear your mind, allowing you to focus on the positive aspects of the day ahead. Try to spend the next few minutes focusing on the potential of blessings and good vibes this day has to offer.
You can then start to think about and visualize the tasks and activities you have planned for the day. Then as the final step, focus deeply on what you need to do to create a new healthier lifestyle while you go about those tasks and activities.
Focus on the Health Benefits
The health benefits of regular meditation are seemingly endless.
Studies have proven time and time again that regular meditation decreases stress, lowers blood pressure, delivers a feeling of being more connected. It also improves brain function, reduces the effects of aging, increases attention span, improves immunity against diseases, improves overall health and a host of other mental and physical benefits.
Skip the Perfect Session
Another thing to remember is that meditation is not about achieving a perfect session. It’s about learning to focus through the stress and distractions of this life.
The ultimate goal is to be a source of positive energy in this busy world while allowing our mind and body to remain calm and in complete control during any and all situations throughout our day.
2. Healthier Drinks
Another good habit you might find helpful to include in your new morning routine is to introduce a new morning drink for increasing energy, nourishment, and overall health.
Keeping the body hydrated is important for optimal health. When we sleep, we lose water through our skin and breath and become quite dehydrated.
Studies have shown that having a cool glass of water first thing upon waking revs up the metabolism by 24% for 90 minutes! AND a properly hydrated body will sleep better at night.
You may also find that consuming a healthy drink during your morning routine provides you with the needed energy and stamina to persevere with your regimen and remain fully charged throughout the day.
Drink less Coffee
Adopting a healthy drink in place of that morning coffee ritual can significantly turn your mornings in a positive direction. For many of us, our coffee is what has long been the fuel we used to get ourselves up and moving in the morning.
While the jury is still out on whether coffee is actually “good” or “bad” for you, we do know that caffeine can cause negative stimulation, increase anxiety levels and interrupt sleep patterns
Choose a Better Alternative
There are a number of healthy drinks available in the marketplace like apple cider, protein shakes and green juice to name a few. All of these not only provide necessary vitamins and minerals but also the basic benefit of keeping the body hydrated.
Create Your own Healthy Drink
Making your drink fresh every morning is not just good for overall health, but it helps you to get your day started in a productive way.
The type of healthy drink you make and what you choose to include in it are a personal preference. Here are some types of healthy drinks that can help you to start your morning in the right way:
Smoothie – Not only does making a smoothie in the morning help you to get more nutrients into your diet, but it can also be a healthy breakfast.
Green juice – Green juice is made when you juice a variety of fruits and vegetables, giving you a concentrated boost of vitamins and minerals to start your day.
Herbal Tea – Having a warm beverage in the morning can be soothing on your stomach, which is what makes a morning cup of herbal tea a great option.
Water with Lemon – Why not try some water with lemon? This is one of the best ways to start your morning. It will give your body much needed hydration and a whole host of other benefits. For more information about the benefits of drinking lemon water, check out the link below for an article from Dr. Josh Axe.
3. Morning Exercise
Including exercise as part of your morning routine is sure to deliver undeniable results.
Exercising outdoors in the morning is always best not only because it gives the body an opportunity to get the juices flowing early, but it also brings fresh oxygen to the lungs from breathing the outdoor air.
Aerobic type exercise, all styles of weightlifting and flexibility exercises (like yoga) can all be accomplished outside in the early morning hours with noticeably positive benefits.
During the spring months, the morning temperatures will steadily increase allowing a comfortable atmosphere for working out. A combination of all three types of exercise throughout the week is the best way to be sure that all facets of a healthy morning routine are included.
Aerobic type exercise is great for increasing the health of your heart and lungs, boosting metabolism, energy levels, and endurance.
A thirty-minute aerobic exercise routine performed every morning outdoors like jogging, bicycling, power walking or playing basketball will increase the overall health of your cardiovascular system. Not only that, but it can also help with regulating blood pressure, reducing the symptoms of asthma, reducing weight and strengthening the immune system to name a few.
Including aerobic exercise as part of your daily routine will bring lasting results felt throughout the day and into the night.
You might also enjoy strength training in the morning.
For some of us, there is no substitute for the feeling you get after giving your muscles a brisk workout by doing some heavy lifting outside on your patio or porch.
Doing a moderate workout with weights is a great way to get your day started and keep those endorphins flowing all day long.
Staying in shape by working a variety of different muscles in a short amount of time as possible is ideal. However, you only have to do a few quick sets for each muscle group to see some great benefits.
Flexibility and Balance
Flexibility and balance exercises are great for boosting confidence and performance output. Whether it’s standing on one leg with your arms in the air or bending backward over a giant exercise ball, flexibility and balance exercises have their own unique benefits to overall health.
A morning workout of flexibility and balance exercises is a valuable tool for increasing strength, stamina and overall wellbeing for the entire day.
So…now you may be saying “that’s great info Kim, but I don’t know how to start this new morning routine!”. No worries – here is an example of what your new and improved morning plan could look like:
1- Wake up
2- Drink a cool glass of water
3- Spend 10 minutes in meditation
4- Drink a glass of warm water with lemon while you plan your morning exercise
5- Go outside for a walk around the block (or longer if you have time)
6- Stay outside while you do some quick stretches
7- Do some other form of exercise (weights, flexibility, and/or aerobic) based on how much time you have – whatever you don’t get to this morning, commit to doing tomorrow.
8- Schedule your new morning routine into your daily planner.
9- Done! 🙂
Accomplish your mission to create a happy and healthy lifestyle and a happier and healthier you, by adopting a new morning routine. The payback to your body, mind and spiritual health is immeasurable.
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