Of all my wellness hacks, creating a morning routine has been by far the most transformational. Between 4:45 and 5, Monday-Friday, I’m up and at ‘em – a whole 3 hours before I’m expected in the office at 8.
With the peace and the promise of each morning, it’s my me time. I move in some way physically, spend time with my dog and my husband, and start my day with intention (and not the snooze button)!
Not a morning person? Good news: You don’t have to be, really. As a health coach working with clients, it’s been important I expand my idea of what a morning routine looks like. After all, not everyone is an early bird, and the value of sleep is worth more than it gets credit for. But you don’t need hours, like me, to start your day on the right foot. It’s more the intention to start your day deliberately than the time you need to do it.
Hal Elrod, the international, bestselling author of The Miracle Morning, The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM), defines a 6-minute miracle morning “for those days when you’re extra busy and pressed for time, or for those so overwhelmed with your life situation right now that you are feeling stress just thinking about adding one more thing.”
While Elrod touts six steps that comprise his Miracle Morning, there’s no one-size-fits-all formula. Everyone’s ideal will be different, but use these suggestions as a starting point. Keep what works, and abandon what doesn’t, remembering it’s consistency more than anything that’s key.
Drink some water
Water, first thing, immediately helps rehydrate the body. There’s an argument to be made for hot, warm, room-temp, cold, with lemon or without… but don’t overcomplicate it. Leave a full glass on your bedside table, if it helps. Just drink.
Make your bed
This deceptively simple, small way to win your morning has benefits that extend beyond the bedroom. Retired Navy admiral William H. McRaven once said, “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. And by the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”
Move your body
There’s something about the satisfaction and confidence that comes from an accomplishment complete before most people get out of bed. Run, work out, take an exercise class, or simply stretch. The tip here is just to move; anything to get your blood flowing.
And it’s not just physical. There is an undeniable, positive effect fitness has on my mental and emotional well-being. Research backs me up too: exercise has been associated with reduced anxiety and depression, plus an increase in confidence and stress relief.
For morning motivation, steal a tip from Liz Baker Plosser, Editor-In-Chief of Women’s Health. In her first book, Own Your Morning: Reset Your A.M. Routine to Unlock Your Potential, she writes, I “think about my future self. I know that when I sweat and have my endorphins going I am much more confident, calm, and clear-eyed. I can better handle all of the twists and turns that the day’s going to throw in front of me.”
Prefer a P.M. sweat? The best time to exercise is whatever time works for you! But even gentle stretching or 30 seconds of air squats can boost your energy levels in the morning.
And that’s it: the staples. They’re straight-forward, they set the tone, and they work for me. Try them on for size, adding and altering whatever appeals most to you, then lather, rinse, repeat. It’s really as simple as that.