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We all do it: we wake up and think of all we have to do, or all we didn’t do the day before, and immediately start our day stressed out. I’ve noticed that I especially have such thoughts when I face tight deadlines for something (e.g., a work project, homework). Waking up like this automatically sets the tone for the day.
We are the masters of our own minds and have the ability to make tweaks to how we start our day. Therefore, a few quick and easy rituals that I have incorporated into my morning routine have helped me tremendously in starting my day off on a positive note. These not only help me during times that are a bit more stressful, but also allow me to stay balanced in general. The shift can be a matter of adding, removing, or just tweaking a few tiny things in your morning routine, which can have a lasting impact not only on your day, but on your mental health as well.
Below are five morning rituals to try that can impact your day. Even incorporating one or two can help make a difference!
1) Meditate, even for a few minutes
What I love most about meditation is that it’s super personal and you can tailor it to fit your needs and your lifestyle. It would personally stress me out to try and incorporate a 30-minute meditation into my morning routine (I would much rather sleep for that extra 30 minutes!), so I try to meditate for about 5-10 minutes, and that’s enough to make a difference.
There is no right or wrong way to meditate. Choose a position that feels comfortable and you can even play some calming music. I recommend just sitting in that comfortable pose and practicing deep breathing. Breathing in and out, over and over, and taking the time to listen to your breath is worth every second: there’s nothing better than clearing your mind for a few minutes. If I’m feeling like I need more, I try to incorporate mantras into my meditation as well. Saying to myself how awesome, strong, smart, and capable I am goes a long way.
2) Drink lemon water
Lemons are a rich source of nutrients such as calcium, potassium, vitamin C, and pectin fiber. However, the biggest benefit of drinking lemon water in the morning is that it aids with digestion. Drinking lemon water helps flush the digestive system and restore hydration.
3) Start your day with exercise
This ritual is a bit more difficult to integrate since it’s more time consuming than the others. Starting your day with exercise, though, allows you to leave time for other priorities, and it prevents you from pushing it off. We all know the benefits of exercise are endless, so why not reap them first thing in the morning? Plus, exercising in the morning helps you stay focused on your next activity, which is likely work or school, and exercising will help you be more alert for it. You’re giving your metabolism and your mood a quick boost!
If it’s too hard for you to incorporate a 30-minute workout, do a short stretching routine instead. A five-minute stretch will wake up your muscles and prepare them for the day ahead. Spending a few minutes in downward dog or side stretches will help you feel energized and focused.
4) Make a smoothie
What’s nice about smoothies is that the options are endless. A green smoothie, for instance, is going to help you feel energized and provide you with the right nutrients to start your day right. By drinking a smoothie in the morning, it’s an easy way to incorporate a number of healthy nutrients, fiber, and protein that help you feel good right from the start. Here’s one of my favorite smoothie recipes:
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1/3 cup coconut or almond milk
- 1 pear – peeled and cored
- 2 handfuls of spinach
- 2 handfuls of kale
- 1 tablespoon of almond butter
If you’d like, you can also add coconut oil or agave to sweeten up the taste!
*Please take into account and modify if you have any allergies to the above ingredients.
5) Smile at yourself in the mirror
This one is super easy, and although it may sound cheesy, it’s an effective way to boost your self-esteem. A simple smile can help the mind move to a more positive space and also remain there longer. Self-love is something that is learned over time and that we must continuously practice, just like any other skill. Your brain has a default setting of negative thinking as a defense mechanism, and a simple smile can help your brain create happiness loops, which will help you develop more positive thinking patterns.
Smiling at someone else can make that person’s day. Why not smile at yourself? We all deserve to smile, and most importantly, make ourselves happy!