By Guest Blogger Jona Miranda Jone
Mornings are not easy. Doesn’t it make you wonder why those people in the coffee commercials are always ecstatic to roll out of bed, open their window drapes, and start the daily grind? It’s almost like the sun is smiling back at them. I’m a mom of two little angels and am months away from having my third child, and I admit, mornings but can tough. But more than just a perfect cup of coffee, there are tons of morning habits you can do to start AND end your day right.
So let’s get to it, shall we?
Here are 14 surefire morning rituals to start your day right. Try one, try ’em all:
1. Half open
Before you go to sleep, make sure your blinds, drapes, or curtains are half open. According to Stealth Health, the sun speeds up the production of adrenaline in the brain and signals you to wake up. In short, by the time your alarm goes off, you are already half awake.
2. You snooze, you lose
Here’s the summary of a regular day especially for people in the urban jungle: the alarm clock jolts you awake, you “snooze” it for as many times as you can, then you turn it off and frantically jumps out of bed, drag yourself to the shower, swallow your coffee and a few minutes later you find yourself stuck in morning rush traffic. In the middle of the day, you find yourself too tired and sleepy despite sleeping for a full eight hours.
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that sudden activity upon waking up, coupled with caffeine kick, can lower energy levels in the afternoon. So instead of an alarm clock, use your body clock. Get into the sleep cycle and stick to it.
For starters, set your alarm to your favorite song. Get out of bed SLOWLY, breathe, and stretch your limbs down to your fingers. Turn on the lights as you go or step outside and catch the sun.
3. Water power
Drink a room temperature glass of water upon waking up (preferably with some freshly squeezed lemon). You went seven or eight hours without any liquid the night before, so you need to refill your body. It has long been known that drinking water in the morning purifies your internal system, renews cells, and makes your skin glow.
4. See the greens
City living does not mean you are bound to be environmentally two steps backward. You can have a pocket garden outside your apartment or maintain a garden inside your condo. There are many potted plants that are best grown indoors. Not only do they purify the air you breathe, they also beautify your home. There are fast growing plants and trees of medium height that are good corner accents and will surely brighten up each day.
5. Eat green
Don’t just look at the greens, eat them. Yes, you can eat salads and vegetables for breakfast. You know its benefits so what’s keeping you?
They are low in calorie and high in fiber that makes you feel fuller for a longer time and stops mid-day sugar cravings. Veggies help in weight management and digestion. They also promote smooth brain activity and enhance your concentration. Starchy vegetables like potatoes and carrots energize the brain. So aside from the health benefits, eating greens for breakfast helps you get ahead in life.
6. Detoxify your home
Vegetables are good detoxifying agents. You’ve probably heard of juicing, too. But have you ever heard about detoxifying your home?
In an article for the Huffington Post, wellness doctor Frank Lipman wrote that the average home contains 500 – 1,000 chemicals which cannot be tolerated in large doses. Many of us have done a detox in order to eliminate internal toxins from our body, but how many of us do anything about the toxins in our own homes? Common household and body-care products are increasingly being found to have negative health effects on the nervous and immune systems, on our reproductive systems and on our endocrine, cardiovascular and respiratory systems. And did you know that indoor air is 2 – 5 times more polluted than outdoor air? According to Lipman, this is because fresh air can’t come in and we breathe the same stale air. Carpets and other furniture also trap dirt and some of the strong cleaning solutions only make matters worse.
To detox your home, refrain from using shoes inside the house as they carry the dirt from outside. Switch to “greener” cleaning products, don’t use too much plastic, keep dust to a minimum, avoid excess moisture, and get a water and shower filter.
7. Exercise is nice
Nutritionist and fitness expert Mitzi Dulan came up with a list of benefits of exercising in the morning. She says doing so will create a positive routine for healthy living. Exercising in the morning doesn’t disrupt your day’s schedule. It also gets your endorphins going that will keep you awake and energized the entire day. It also boosts your metabolism and helps create better sleep.
8. Before sleeping habits
Lay out your work clothes before going to sleep and pack your gym bag too. This should not take more than 15 minutes. That is a better bargain than stressing out in the morning ironing your clothes or going through a pile while trying not to be late.
9. Listen to music
Wake a little earlier and take a few minutes sitting down, even by the window (natural light), savoring your coffee while listening to soft music. This routine can warm up your brain and sets the tone for creative thinking.
10. Sing away
Seriously, singing in the shower makes for healthy living. Even in ancient times, singing was used as a healing tool. According to the Journal of Music Therapy, singing improves breathing, reduces chronic pain, motivates, provides comfort, and gets you in the mood. So go for it… sing your favorites tunes in your morning shower!
11. Plan the fun
Among the benefits of getting up at least 15 minutes earlier is you get a chance to organize your thoughts and plan your day. But when you write your to do-do list or keep a mental note, make sure to include the things that are most fun for you, like dinner with your kids or catching up on your favorite TV series. Actually pencil in these pleasurable activities. Studies show writing about our dreams and making plans actually make us happier.
12. Shut the noise
There too many unnecessary noise in our lives, especially if you live in the city. If the morning news upsets you, don’t turn on the TV or save the newspaper for later. If work emails stress you, don’t go online. You will have enough time for that in the office or throughout the day. Keep the mornings reserved for pleasurable activities. It helps you start the day off on a positive note.
13. Say a prayer
You can do this while sipping your coffee, in the shower, during breakfast, in the car or in the elevator to your office. Just whisper a short one and you will instantly feel better. Studies show that there is a direct correlation between prayer and physical health.
14. Don’t miss the kiss
And finally, before getting off to work, kiss everyone goodbye. The benefits of a good kiss with your partner: boosts bonding, fights illness, decreases pain, increases happiness, burns calories, lowers stress and turns up the fun!
These are simple rituals you can do to start off your day. They are low-cost, sustainable, healthy, easy and highly-beneficial. Try these and you shouldn’t have to wake up at the wrong side of the bed again.
Jona Miranda Jone is a Washington Times Communities writer and a full time mom to her loving kids.
I’d love to know what YOUR morning rituals are! Do you have any tricks or tips that help you start your day right? Are you even a morning person AT ALL?!