10 Healthy Morning Routine Habits That Aren't Workouts
Ah, mornings. You either love them or hate them but either way have to do them! Your morning routine plays a huge role in how the rest of the day plays out and can even make hearing the alarm clock less of a terrible experience. Morning workouts are suggested by many because of the numerous benefits they offer. Sometimes though, an early morning workout is just not in the cards. And that's okay!
Good news! There are tons of other things you can do in the morning that support your fitness and get you ready to take on the day... that aren't exercise! If you're a chronic snooze-hitter like me, mornings hit you pretty hard. This list of simple and quick ideas for a morning routine make mornings a whole lot better and full of more restoration and less alarm-clock-dread.
Treat Yourself To Quick Face Care
Generally, we think of skincare routines as an after-work or before bed habit. Maybe a Friday night unwind with a face mask and a glass of wine. Which is great, but you don't have to limit quality skincare to that time of day!
Adding a skincare habit that you truly love and look forward to into your morning routine will make you want to hop out of bed faster. It will leave you feeling fresh and ready to take on the day.
I recommend doing a quick face mask that rehydrates your skin from the night's sleep, gently exfoliates or simply has your most favorite smell. I usually use the 2 minute face mask from Fre Skincare after workouts, but sometimes I throw it into my morning routine for a pick me up. Sip your coffee or brush your teeth with a delightful aroma and refreshing face mask- quick, easy, and will brighten your day!
Start the Day With Some Sun
Our circadian rhythm regulates our body's asleep and awake functions throughout the day, which in turn affects how energized we feel! And what helps keep our circadian rhythm's regulated?
Light influences our body's functions infinitely, so seeking out light in the mornings can help wake you up and give you energy to start the day. Without enough daylight, our circadian rhythm shifts towards being awake at night, making mornings way harder. Also, sunlight actually improves mood. Getting the morning sun can directly effect how you feel!
Energize and Clear the Mind With Breathing Exercises
Taking conscious control over your breathing is a calming and centering technique. Without getting into science (not my expertise), just think about how relaxed you can get when you exhale and inhale at a slower rhythm.
I've learned about using breathing exercises to help with recovery, athletic performance, and getting to sleep faster. There are certain patterns of breathing that can control your body's response and actually help you fall asleep, feel more awake, or release tension and stress. It's powerful!
There are many breathing exercises you can try to see what works best for you. Take a few minutes in the morning to sit in the sun, clear your mind, and just breathe.
Do A Few Quick Simple Stretches
I know...I promised no exercise. But hear me out! Doing some movement is still a really great way to wake yourself up in the morning. You don't need to stretch by doing a whole yoga routine every morning. By all means do that if you want to, but this list is for quick non-exercise only! ;)
If you're choosing to do the breathing exercises, maybe try combining that time with a few stretches. Roll your neck from side to side, stretch up tall and fold in half towards your toes, or pull your shoulders across your chest. Just some simple movements can take away some of the aches and pains from being still for so long and help you feel ready to go.
Drink A Tall, Refreshing Glass Of Water
We all know staying hydrated is important for our health, and there are many claims made about what having a glass of water in the morning can do for you. I'm not here to discuss whether a glass of water in the morning helps you burn calories or any of these other ideas. But, I do know when I prioritize getting a full glass of water as I get ready in the morning, I feel a heck of a lot better before I head out the door.
I often wake up feeling slightly dehydrated, which definitely makes for a groggy morning. A fresh cup of water stimulates the brain and helps you feel all that much more energized to get moving. You can also make drinking water more fun in the morning by sometimes adding lemon, ginger, mint, or other fruit that you love! Not only is it hydrating, but refreshing as well.
Try Out Journaling
I am the first person to ignore the suggestion to journal- especially about my track and field training. I'm just not someone who loves to talk about my feelings when it comes to racing and competition and would rather not confront them, even in a quiet conversation just to myself.
So, I totally understand the aversion to journaling. Especially when you'd rather sleep for 5 more minutes. But this is why I recommend it adding journaling to your morning routine:
Just five minutes with a pen and paper can have a positive effect. It gives your mind a few minutes to wake up while you process the upcoming day or unpack some of the things that might have carried over from the day before. And the best part? You can keep it totally informal and write (or draw) whatever you want to.
When I threw away the idea presented to me by other people about what they suggest I write about, I got way more comfortable with the idea. If you're still not sure what to think about, there's a list of things that are great for morning journaling at the end of this post. Make them your own!
Review Your Planner or To Do Lists
If you're not using any type of planner to organize your life... call me because I need the secret. With so much going on, I have to have at least some form of planner to help get me through the week. Whether that's the google calendar on my iphone where I scribble important meetings or my full planner set up that I use for in-depth details about everything, taking even 30 seconds to browse through it makes the day a lot more manageable.
You might check your planner and remember an appointment you have that you entirely forgot about. Or you see something on your to-do list and it reminds you to grab something you'll need later in the day.
Using a planner, and then reviewing the planner as a part of your morning routine is a great idea to help you feel more in control of the day. It can take a bit of stress out of your mornings.
Water Your Plants
There's nothing like some quality time with green friends! Especially if you have them on your porch/yard, taking a few minutes to care for them is a calming way to start the morning while getting your morning sun. If they're inside, open your curtains and start the day by energizing you and your plants.
Taking care of plants makes us feel a sense of accomplishment, teaches us to be gentle and caring, and brings us closer to nature. This is a really quick way to start the day thinking about something that makes you happy...and checking an item off the to-do list.
Eat Something For Breakfast
There are a few trends these days that lean towards eating less or nothing at all in the morning. But breakfast foods are the best kind of foods in my eyes.
Either way, find something that works for you and your diet to work into your routine. Morning can be busy, but make the time for it so you can have a little energy to get through the morning-and the rest of the day.
I love finding quick and easy ways to make healthy breakfasts. I found it really hard to make time for breakfast at several times in my life, simply because I was really slow at getting out of bed and always running late. Making up for this with fun, delicious, and healthy meals like morning oats helped make me more of a morning lover!
Peruse Through Inspiration
Inspiration is one of the best ways to start the day. And end the day. Seeking out some #inspo is a great way to get out of a creative rut or a dull mindset at any time of the day!
Try to look for inspiration in places other than Instagram and social media. As creative as they can be, they come along with other pressures, such as comparing what other people are doing, sharing stressful world news, etc.
Instead, turn to books or magazines or other places that show creative and inspiring content that excites you and motivates you. Magazines are also a great place to build a collage from. Maybe looking through a magazine, clipping some images you love, and putting them onto a mood board or collage you add to daily would be a great addition to your morning routine.
Take Back Your Mornings
Call me biased, but I'm a believer that some of us just aren't made for mornings. But the morning always comes and its important to find ways to start the day on a positive note so you can manage to get through the rest of the day with a clear mind and avoid unnecessary stress.
I still hit snooze when I can, but these additions to my morning routine make getting out of bed a whole lot more enjoyable.