6am. Your alarm goes off. You roll out of bed, barely conscious, and rush around getting yourself ready as you chain drink cups of coffee. Sound familiar? Many of us set ourselves up for a bad day as soon as we open our eyes. High stress, lack of motivation and poor food choices follow. In today’s blog, we will discuss some healthy morning habits that you might be able to adopt into your busy schedule to get your day off to a successful start.
Over the course of, say, 7 hours in bed, our body becomes more dehydrated than we realise. This might be exacerbated even more if you’re a snorer! If the first beverage that you go for is a large black coffee, you aren’t doing yourself a lot of favours. Coffee is a diuretic, meaning that your body is going to lose more water than usual through urination. We’re not saying to ditch the coffee, but the first thing you drink should always be a large glass of water, preferably with some added salt or electrolytes. People are often overwhelmed by conflicting guidelines and equations to work out how much fluid they should be consuming per day- don’t be! Our bodies are incredibly intelligent and will give us signals when we are dehydrated (headaches, dry mouth…) drink as much as is comfortable without the stomach ‘sloshing’. High 5 sugar free electrolyte tabs are great to have on hand.
Sunlight and Fresh Air
It is incredible how much fresh morning air can elevate our mood. Even if you only have ten minutes to walk around the block, take a short walk before your first meal to breathe deeply and set your mind for the day. You might even use this time to be doubly productive and listen to some of a podcast or eBook. Depending on the time of year and when you wake, the sun might be up. In the UK we are more inclined to be vitamin D deficient due to limited sunlight hours, during which many of us are working indoors. Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include:
- Low immunity
- Poor bone health
- Cognitive impairment
- Low mood/depression
Supplements and foods such as fatty fish and egg yolks can help prevent deficiency.
Waking up earlier to train before work isn’t for everyone, especially if the effects on sleep are going to cause more problems down the line, but in a lot of cases it can be an excellent way to start your day. ‘Exercise’ doesn’t have to mean a heavy gym session. You might do some yoga, go for a run, or do some push ups and ab exercises in the front room. The main thing is that you are getting your heart rate up, getting your blood flowing, and releasing all of those happy hormones! The sense of achievement from putting a big tick next to this before you get on your day might lead to a better outlook and more productive mood.
First thing in the morning is a great time to take your health supplements. We would suggest starting your day with a greens drink to supply the body with micronutrients and fibre (to get things moving, if you know what we mean) along with any vitamins and/or omegas. Like exercise, knowing that you are starting your day doing something to love and care for your body can encourage more of those choices to be made throughout the day. You take your supplements, feel good, choose a healthy lunch, feel even better, and so on!
Is breakfast the most important meal of the day? Hmmm, maybe. What you eat for breakfast, and how soon after waking you consume it depends on many factors. As a rule:
Not working out until later in the day: Protein and fat meal with veggies (eggs, smoked salmon, full fat yoghurt…), eaten when hunger kicks in.
Exercising first thing: (if time allows) protein and carb meal that digests well (instant oats, whey isolate, egg whites…) around 90 minutes before training. If training ‘fasted’, sip EAAs and a carb powder during workout.
Gratitude and Mindfulness
It might sound cliché and silly, but it doesn’t have to be. In your mind, or even better, start your day by telling yourself 3-5 things that you are grateful for- try to make them different each day! If you often find yourself waking up already feeling wound up and overwhelmed, there are apps with short guided meditations to help.
We’re not expecting you to do all of these things, or to do them every day. But we encourage you to take at least one of these points and give it a go. The first hour or so of your day can really make or break how you feel and what you do in the other 23.