A few weeks ago I wrote a post on how I rely on my evening routine to ensure I’m utilising my nights as well as I can, for myself, my home and my goals. I can’t stress enough how satisfying it is to accomplish your personalised routines for the day. It allows you to make the most of your time, turns daily tasks into habits, and helps you start and end the day on a positive note.
Let’s go over what I have found works best for me, and perhaps it will inspire you to incorporate some version of these ideas into your own routines.
Waking up ridiculously super-duper early
At the start of September I had resolved to do the #21earlystarts challenge, and boy did I struggle!! Life happened and I was unable to sleep nights…which led to difficult mornings! Despite my epic fail, I was still able to improve the hour I was out of bed, and can really appreciate what earlier starts have added to my day and overall productivity.
I have a whole blog post on why you should accept the challenge – have a read here.
I hate to admit this so publicly, but lately I had started feeling old – perhaps it is the stress of my everyday life, or these long winter months…or simply because I’m ageing *gasp. Along with incorporating some strengthening exercises into my workout routine, I’ve also started early morning stretches and yoga poses – all from the comfort of my bed! My nice, warm, soft bed.
Starting your day with stretches eases you into waking; loosening and warming up your muscles; energising your body and putting you in a good mood rather than just stumbling out of bed. You can enjoy a few more minutes with your eyes closed while getting a nice stretch. What’s not to like? These are some easy poses to get you started.
The big debate: do you brush your teeth before breakfast or after? There are numerous discussions on the internet that point out the possible pros and cons of either side. I say, do what makes you happy as long as you’re doing it!
Personally, I brush first thing in the morning and 30 minutes after my meal. Overnight your salivary glands slow right down, allowing bacteria to really thrive (icky morning breath) and these are bacteria I would rather not swallow down with my morning coffee.
It has been suggested that brushing your teeth right after a meal may be detrimental as it is the most vulnerable time for your teeth and gums. Many studies suggest we wait 30-60min to allow our saliva to rid the mouth of acidity before we brush. To assist in preventing damage during those times, brushing pre-meal can clean your mouth of any existing bad bacteria and allowing good bacteria to do its thing during the meal.
It depends on how acidic your breakfast is, though I still prefer to wait the 30 minutes before another brushing.
Warm water and lemon juice
Before any coffee or breakfast, the first thing I put in my tummy is a cup of warm water with the juice of a small lemon. I then continue to sip infused water throughout the day.
Benefits of lemon water are well known and include:
- Improving your digestion
- improving collagen in the skin
- hydrating your body
- reducing phlegm and mucus
- reducing inflammation
- cleansing and detoxing
- kick starting your metabolism
- aiding your immune system
- alkalising the body (yes!)
- And lowering blood pressure and stress levels
Check Social Media
Everyone suggests avoiding emails and social media first thing in the morning, but I think it all depends on how much time you spend (aka waste) on social forums, and if you’re using it as procrastination. I live alone, and enjoy interacting with people, within my community, who inspire me and get me pumped for the morning, all while sipping on my coffee. It’s also the best time to respond to enquiries and emails as most people I interact with are overseas and within different time zones. This interaction quickly puts me in the mindset of being active, being out in the world, and ready to start the day.
15-20 min clean up
A quick clean up each morning and evening is one of the best habits I’ve formed, and it really is life changing. I run around quickly putting everything back in its place, open all the windows, wash any dishes, make the bed and do a quick vacuum (my house is tiny). While a home will never be a display house, it still reflects a lot about you and your values. A clean space starts my day off on a positive note which easily influences my mood.
Early morning workouts make the most sense to me, it invigorates me, floods my brain with endorphins, and then I can shower and dress for the rest of the day, without numerous wardrobe changes!
Dry body scrub
This is where you brush (using a soft, natural bristle brush) over your skin dry, prior to washing or lotions. It’s important to brush up towards the heart in long sweeping motions. This not only makes your skin glow by exfoliating off dead skin, it promotes production of collagen and elastin fibres which helps firm your body, fight cellulite and improves overall skin tone. On top of all that, it stimulates the circulatory system, and the capillaries sitting just under the skin, for better circulation and lymphatic flow around the body, all which helps rid it of waste and toxins.
I am currently dry body brushing twice a day (morning and evening before shower) and I have noticed a world of difference, both to my skin and to the way my body feels!
I pamper in the mornings and the evenings. Why? Because, in the famous words of L’oreal, I’m worth it. I scrub; use treatments and lotions on my skin and hair; maintain my manicure and pedicure and take extra care with my facial routine. Self care is important, don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about taking time to treat your body right. It also saves time if you’re doing it regularly and as part of your routines
Dress for the day ahead
If you’ve read my evening routine post then you would already know I prepare my outfit from the evening before, even if I will be spending most of the day at home. Laying it out the night before eliminates stress, saves times and makes you feel on top of your game!
I love love love infused water, and have for years. In fact, every work place I visit gets hooked on a variety of delicious combinations! I quickly make up 3 x 1.5 litre bottles and store them in the fridge to sip on throughout the day.
Infused water is basically adding a few fruit to (preferably) filtered water and letting it release its vitamins and deliciousness during the day.
You can add as many or as few ingredients to suit your taste and each will benefit you in its own unique way.
It makes drinking enough water far easier, so it obviously helps with hydration. There are a number combinations that:
- naturally detox your liver, kidneys and intestines
- speeds up your metabolism
- aids digestion
- fights headaches
- aids in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels
- improves your immune defence
- helps skin integrity
- and can suppress appetite.
Future post on my favourite combinations!
I’m not an early-morning breakfast person, and no matter how many studies show how good it is for me, it just ends up making me feel nauseous and bloated and lazy. I prefer to get my day started before eating anything too substantial, but don’t want to wait for lunch either.
I’ve found breakfast smoothies are the perfect way to get a boost of energy and keep me satisfied until midday.
You simply can not go wrong with ice-cold almond and coconut milk blended with berries until frothy.
However, if your workouts are strenuous or you have scheduled break-times, I urge you to have a plentiful breakfast!
Favourite smoothie recipes coming soon!
Plan the day
Lastly in my morning routine, I sip on my nutrient-rich smoothie and go over my planners. I usually look over my work and personal agendas and set out my day by listing tasks and to-do lists in a sequential order. The process of writing down these list works not only to prioritise my tasks, but gets my mind already thinking and planning out some of the specifics – basically getting the juices flowing.
I hope these steps (and the reasons behind them) have been helpful to you! How do you set out your morning routine?