3 reasons to implement a morning routine
i’m sure you’ve heard how important routines are to our health, and if you haven’t, let’s talk for a minute.
why do you think parents are so crazy about making sure their babies and kids are on some kind of a routine? because it’s good for them. both mentally and physically. when our minds and bodies know what to expect and when to expect it, they function more optimally. i’ve recently started to build up a morning routine, and while it’s not quite where i want it to be yet, it’s slowly becoming a habit and that’s all that matters … baby steps.
tomorrow is the beginning of october, and fall is a great time to get into new routines, especially when that colder weather starts changing our habits! here are 3 reasons you should start implementing a morning routine a$ap, and 3 ideas to get you started:
1. easing into the day sets a positive tone for the rest of it. we all know that feeling … our alarm goes off and wakes us up from a deep sleep and we hit snooze. and the alarm goes off again … and we hit snooze again. and again … and again. we wake up at the last possible minute, take a hurried shower, get dressed, throw our sh*t in a bag, inhale our breakfast and run out the door. sound familiar? starting our day off in a rush is going to set a pretty negative tone for the rest of it.
personally, i like to set my alarm for about 15 minutes earlier than i need to be up, and allow myself at least an hour to get ready so i don’t feel rushed. of course, this doesn’t always happen, but on the days it does, i feel so much better when i head out the door. what do i do with that extra 15 minutes?
tip #1: meditate! starting your day off with a quick 10-15 minute meditation can do wonders. it’s as easy as turning off your alarm, sitting on the edge of your bed, turning on some meditation music [i love krishna das] and zoning out and being completely still for a few minutes. studies have shown that meditation has a huge positive impact on how the brain fuctions, so it’s a great way to get you into the right headspace before beginning your day. if the idea of meditating freaks you out, this guided meditation from one of the sweetest souls i’ve ever met, cassandra bodzak, is perfect for getting started … and for a little extra motivation for going after your goals!
2. looking at your phone first thing in the morning is bad for your brain. it’s probably not new information that the light given off by our device screens seriously effs with our eyes and our brains. waking up and immediately trolling our instagram or facebook feeds isn’t going to help us ease into our day and will really confuse our brains that are trying to adjust to being awake again. when you don’t have a routine in place, it’s so easy to grab your phone, turn off the alarm and go straight to email, texts, twitter or whatever it is you’re into these days, so …
tip #2: buy an alarm clock … like, a real alarm clock. invest in a real alarm clock and put your phone facedown on your nightstand when you go to sleep the night before so you aren’t as tempted to wake up and check it immediately. i promise you, whatever it is, it can wait. try to go phone free for at least 30 minutes after waking up. this cloud alarm clock is fun, simple and gets the job done.
3. when we wake our bodies up in the right way, all of our systems start to regulate. sleep is something that our bodies need in order to function. sleep has a huge impact on all of our systems … digestive, lymphatic, circulatory … literally everything our bodies does requires sleep to do it right, but giving them a little jumpstart won’t hurt! how can we do this?
tip #3: wake up your system with skin brushing or give your metabolism a head start with hot lemon water! dry skin brushing [read all about it here] is a great way to wake up the lymphatic system first thing in the morning [i typically do this right before hopping in the shower as it’s also a way to exfoliate] and drinking a mug of hot water with the juice from half of a lemon [and maybe a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, turmeric and a splash of apple cider vinegar] before eating breakfast will give your metabolism a little boost after it’s been at rest overnight [the recipe for my daily detox drink is here].
getting started with something like this can be daunting, especially when we feel like we’re losing sleep. i highly recommend starting slow … that’s what i’ve been doing over the past few weeks and it’s working wonders!
go out and buy an alarm clock and start waking up just 5 minutes earlier than usual for the next week to meditate. for the week after, try 10 minutes, the following week, 15 and so on. once that’s feeling good, add skin brushing or hot lemon water … and keep building it up! the change doesn’t have to happen overnight [see what i did there?!] … as always, baby steps build habits, extremes don’t.
do you have any ideas for creating a morning routine that i didn’t mention here? share in the comments below!
photo courtesy of the design chaser
guest post: 5 tips for finding a fitness plan that works fo you
when it comes to finding a fitness plan that works for you, it’s important to remember that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. in fact, there are so many ways to keep fit and stay healthy that you don’t need to worry if hitting the gym just isn’t your thing. simply getting off the bus a few stops early or maybe going for a walk during your lunch hour can all add valuable physical activity to your day.
but, what you do need to remember is that any fitness plan has to work around your life, otherwise the likelihood is that you won’t stick to it. this isn’t necessarily a reflection of you, it’s just human nature … and it doesn’t have to stay that way! if you can find a way to get fit that works with your lifestyle, you’ll be well on your way to reaching your fitness goals.
keeping all of this in mind, let’s take a look at the best ways to find a fitness plan that will work for you!
1. don’t push yourself too hard at the start. when you first begin a new workout routine, you may feel super motivated and like you have something to prove, but pushing yourself too hard at the beginning is only going to create problems. if you haven’t worked out in a while, you could be increasing the chance of getting hurt if you push yourself too hard. not only this, biting off more than you can chew will encourage you to skip sessions when the going gets tough, and this will likely lead to you just stopping completely. a fitness plan is a lifestyle change, so when it comes to planning yours, you need to make sure that you find something that’s realistic for you.
2. do your research. whether you love going to the gym or would rather spend time at the park with family, there are plenty of ways to get fit. researching will help you to find exercises that you think you may enjoy. If you like swimming, find a pool that has an adults only swimming time so you can get a workout without the distraction of children. if you worry about how you’re going to fit your fitness routine around family/friend time, then bring them with you! working out with a buddy is more enjoyable than working out alone, and if you have kids, they can benefit from a bike ride or a run around the park, too. get creative!
3. tag team it. one of the best ways to ensure that you stick to a new fitness plan is to enlist someone else to join you. whether you choose to take your partner or a friend, it can be a great way to spend some quality time with someone. exercising together will also help you to bond and stay connected, while having someone to keep you motivated and vice versa. if you can’t get anyone on board, try making friends with people who workout at similar times as you. if you’re in touch with someone at the gym or in a workout class and they’re expecting you to be there, you’re more likely to show up.
4. follow a gradual plan. fitness is becoming more and more popular all the time, and because of this, the amount of plans aimed at people who haven’t worked out much before is growing. there are plans that can help you go “from your sofa to running a 5K” and much more. diving in head first isn’t sustainable, but working gradually towards a goal means you will be much more likely to stay on track.
5. find what works best for you. if you have a fitness plan in place and haven’t noticed any changes after about four weeks [or you just aren’t enjoying it], consider changing it up! remember, it’s always best to do a mixture of cardio and strength training, but strength training can be anything from yoga to hiking, and cardio can range from dancing to jumping on a trampoline …. think outside the box and create a fitness plan that keeps you entertained, motivated and is something you love to do!
getting fit and starting a new fitness plan can be intimidating at first, but when approached the right way, can change your life for the better. all you need is the motivation and a plan that works for you and your lifestyle.
and remember, fitness is about leading a healthier lifestyle, not worrying about the number you see on the scale or the tags of your clothes. focus on how you feel, because that’s what really counts!
this post was written by amy leach on behalf of focus training.
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