Start Your Day on the Right Foot!

How do you start your morning? Do you:

  • Feel overwhelmed by your to-do list and start thinking about what you have to complete first?

  • Immediately go on auto-pilot and mindlessly complete your morning chores?

  • Hit the snooze button one time too many until you realize you will be late for work or your first appointment?

  • Take care of everyone else in the household before you even think about yourself?

Any of these scenarios sound familiar? Your morning does not have to start this way. You can choose to start each day with intention and on a positive note; and you can make that happen with a morning routine that just focuses on nourishing you and your body.

Picture this – You set an alarm 20 minutes before your usual wakeup time, and you are the first person in the household to awaken. Rather than pressing the snooze button and rushing to get everything accomplished before you head out the door, you decide to use this precious time wisely. You stretch your body to full extent from head to toe and check in with yourself. You take some deep breaths and gently get out of bed. When you enter the living room, you open the window and greet the morning sunshine. You notice and appreciate the sound of silence and stillness around you. You prepare a cup of hot water and lemon, and curl up on the couch with your journal to list the top 3 things you are grateful for that day. You smile as you realize there is so much to be thankful for in your beautiful life. You then spend the next 5 minutes breathing deeply as you inhale positive thoughts and exhale any tension or negativity that you may be holding. You open the door and step outside to take in the crisp, fresh air. You are now ready to start your day and take on anything that comes your way!

How does this scenario sound? Peaceful, right? What a fabulous way to start the day! And all it took was an extra 20 minutes. How we choose to start the day has a huge impact on our mindset. When we begin the morning on a positive note we set the tone for the rest of the day. Everything just seems to look a lot brighter. Conversely, if we wake up and immediately begin to worry about our to-do list, check our emails, rush and only focus on everyone else in the household, it starts the day with anxiety and frustration—and where does that get us?

Now you may be thinking, “How do I add another 20 minutes to my morning?” and I totally get it.  You don’t have to take 20 minutes. If taking 10 minutes helps, then that is 10 more minutes that you’ve dedicated just for you. New habits take time to create, and you slowly work towards them. First start with 5 minutes, and see how that goes. As you notice how much better you feel each morning and begin to appreciate this additional time you’ve created just for you, start adding another 5 minutes and then another 5 minutes. You will cherish this new-found “you time” and will look forward to it every morning.  The key is to start somewhere.

Below are some of my favorite ways to start the day on a positive note. See what fuels you, and slowly incorporate it into your new routine.  

Deep Breathing
 –Lie in bed or find a quiet space in your house on a chair, a couch, or a yoga mat on the floor.  Close your eyes. Inhale and exhale deeply and focus on the sound of your breath.

Drink Hot Water – Rather than reaching for a cup of coffee, start your day with a cup of hot water and lemon, and sip it slowly.

Stretch – Stretch in bed or lie down on the floor. Pay attention to how your body is feeling from head to toe.

Yoga – Do some gentle yoga poses to wake up your body. Do your own routine or follow a short video such as Morning Yoga with Adriene.

Meditation –Take 10 minutes to do your own form of meditation while sitting up or lying down. If you prefer a guided practice, try the apps Headspace, or Insight Timer.

Morning Walk –Go for a walk around the block. Inhale the fresh air. Look at the animals and trees around you. Appreciate all that nature has to offer, and if you’re lucky watch the beautiful sunrise.

Get Fresh Air - If a walk is too long, just step outside for a few minutes with your cup of hot water and take some deep breaths.   

Gratitude – Appreciate what you have in life. Say these things to yourself or out loud. If you enjoy writing, keep a gratitude journal.

Morning Affirmations – Say positive, inspiring affirmations to yourself such as “I am blessed,” “I am healthy,” “I am beautiful” “I am worthy,” and “I am looking forward to a fabulous day!”

Set your intentions and goals for the day – Set your intentions for the day, and begin with a positive attitude. Write down a couple of small goals and action steps you will take to achieve them. Take a minute to appreciate how far you have progressed towards your long-term goals.

As you continue the rest of your morning, be mindful and present in all that you do.

You have the power to choose how to start your day. Each morning is an opportunity for endless possibilities, and even one positive action can help you to get off on the right foot. When you establish morning rituals that include positivity, intention, gratitude, and presence, you will uplift your spirits, reduce stress, and gain a new sense of energy for another amazing day ahead!

Talya Kosstrin