Morning Rituals With Purpose

Photo courtesy of @kileyholliday

Photo courtesy of @kileyholliday

Rising and shining in the mornings can sometimes be quite a dud. Trust me, I get it. I've always considered myself a night owl, staying up late to do all of my thinking, mostly about what's ahead tomorrow, what I need to do and so on. But...all that's seemed to have done is overwhelm me and cause plenty of sleepness nights of tossing and turning that create very anxious and stressful mornings. I would have several battles with the snooze button and always push it to make it into work at a decent time. Nothing about this situation was working in my favor, so it was time to experiment with something new. 

I've completely changed my attitude about my morning routine and have created evening wind-down rituals that set me up for better, more productive mornings. I actually really look forward to them and feel good about all that I can accomplish in just one hour every morning. And even if I still do get into the office at the same as I would if I hit my snooze button five times, I at least leave the anxiety, stress and hurry behind - trading it for energy, clarity, a positive mindset and motivation. It's so true that the tone you set for yourself in the morning is the tone that you'll carry with you throughout your entire day. 

With dedication and patience, I've been able to fine tune a few simple, consistent morning rituals that have helped me to stay on track and develop healthier lifestyle habits overall. Above all else, early mornings are a gift to myself so that I can do the things that I love. Setting my alarm clock an hour or so earlier is no longer a dread, but something that I crave. Hopefully, you find that you start craving the early mornings too...

Move. Stretch. Breathe.

Even if your eyes are half closed and you stay in your pajamas, give yourself at least ten minutes (or more, of course) to stretch your limbs, get your blood flowing and breathe a little more deeply. It's amazing what just ten minutes will do to provide you with energy and allow any anticipated stresses to remain as neutral thoughts. 

Find simple yoga poses and stretches to kickstart your day here, here and here.  

Sip. Hydrate. Cleanse.

Your body gets depleted of water when you sleep, so the first thing that you should grab for (well before caffeine) is a glass of water. Sip it on an empty stomach to activate your metabolism, cleanse any toxins and replenish the fluids that you lost. Proper hydration is essential in helping to avoid brain fog. After all, our brains are made up mostly of water. I've been experimenting a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime plus fresh mint leaves - an added bonus. Mint helps to improve digestion and remove the bacteria that causes bad breath. Nobody enjoys morning breath!

Nourish and Fuel. 

Breakfast should be your lightest meal of the day. Since your body and organs are still waking up, it's ideal to nourish with foods that can be easily digested. This is why smoothies are a perfect option. They're loaded with nutrients and require minimal digestion so that you can have sustained energy and avoid that mid-morning energy slump. Besides, it makes weekend brunch all the more enjoyable, making it feel like a special occasion every time!

I love this simple two-ingredient strawberry milkshake. I just add a heaping spoonful of nut butter (whatever I happen to have on hand at the time) for added nutrients, including protein.

Acai bowls are also a nice way to squeeze in lots of goodies and have become a morning staple of mine. Blend 1-2 frozen acai packs with wild blueberries, banana, nut butter, non-dairy milk (I am loving Silk's new unsweetened cashew milk) and top with sliced bananas, raw cashews and goji berries. 

Photo courtesy of @darling

Photo courtesy of @darling

Browse. Read. Educate.

The modern day version of eating breakfast while reading the morning paper is of course scouring the internet to catch up on news, check your social feeds and so on. To avoid getting sucked in and distracted, make yourself a list of the top 5 sources where you can read about the positive happenings in the world. Better yet, make them sources that are unrelated to your job or profession, since you'll be spending a good chunk of your day invested in that anyways. 

Wellness blogs are where I derive most of my inspiration and it's time that I can give myself to fuel my own passions and interests, educating myself along the way. 

Here are a few of my favorite places to start:

Darling Magazine is especially awesome for female empowerment and content with a purpose. They discusses the real, honest truths about the hardships and successes that we face in the modern world. 

The Chalkboard Magazine covers just about everything, from food + nutrition to fitness + wellbeing. It began as an LA-focused online publication (so, finger on the pulse) but has quickly made its way to the east coast (NYC) to highlight the latest and greatest from coast to coast.

MindBodyGreen is a very inspirational and educational source for all things related to well-being - including recipes, fitness, beauty, happiness, mindfulness, spirituality, relationships, love, sex, parenting and just about everything in between. It's the kind of news that this world needs more of. 

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Create a List.

Before you scoot out the door, write yourself a to-do list for whatever it is that you need and want to accomplish for the day. Keep these items realistic and feasible, so that you can feel good about physically crossing them off your list by the day's end. It's something tangible to hold you accountable and will make you feel very productive and accomplished after a long day.

I like to categorize my lists by personal, work and miscellaneous. This way, I make sure that I'm not ignoring my personal tasks and goals. They're equally as important to me and I try not to let them slip just because my work day may get busier than anticipated. Miscellaneous can be those other one-offs such as your grocery list that you can add to as you think of items throughout the day. 

Maybe you don't start any of these rituals tomorrow, or the next day, or even this week...but pick one to start with and slowly expand until you realize that you're filling that extra hour in the morning with all good things. 

And in all honesty, if your body is craving the extra sleep, then don't ignore that. We live in a world of chaos, noise and exhaustion, therefore it's important to listen to ourselves when we know that we just need some extra sleep. I will usually have at least one week or a few days throughout the month where all I want to do is keep sleeping - and it's those days that help me realize just why I love my early morning rituals so much.

What morning rituals help you kickstart your day? Share any thoughts in the comments below!

Rise and shine, darlings. And be well,

Allison