Bringing Balance Back Series: Morning Routine to Create a Mindful Life
Bringing Balance Back is a monthly series on Diehard Foodie, by Kat Beck. Kat is my sister, best friend, role model and go-to expert for all healthy living outside of nutrition. We work together to support and better each other. I give her advice on healthy eating, and she gives me so much advice on other aspects of healthy living (that I sometimes neglect!) My hope is she will become your guru on these aspects, and bring more balance in your life as well. My daily intention is to be healthy & helpful because when I do both, I feel happy.
Starting my day mindfully really helps me to live by my intentions. Over the past 8 years, I have been refining my morning routine; I’ve found one that works for my life right NOW. My life might be quite different in a couple of years; for my current (kid-less, office job) life this is what works.
My morning routine is 1-2 hours of detoxing & cultivating a positive perspective. Some steps to my morning are essentials and some only happen occasionally. I’ve found that striving for perfection with my routine takes me out of the moment and causes more stress, which is exactly how I don’t want to start the day. Please note all the hyperlinks provided below so you can further educate yourself.
At 5am, my gradual alarm gently wakes me up over 12 minutes. Sometimes I snooooze until 5:45 if I know I don’t have to do my hair; let’s be honest, that is MOST days. I use this alarm app and love the choices you can customize for rising with ease.
- I tongue scrape for dental and digestive health.
- I splash cold water on my face, apply sweet almond oil & sometimes do a quick acupressure face massage which was inspired by this article. Peace out under eye bags!
- I sip on some warm lemon water. I slice a couple of lemons on Sunday so that I don't have any excuses to skip this step. Hydration is clutch to wake up your body. Plus, I find the lemon quite invigorating.
- I meditate for 20 minutes. I've got a designated area in my home decorated with crystals and candles to set the vibe. I use a cushion for comfort. My cat, Bella, joins me here every day.
- Sometimes I do a little yoga for 15 minutes. We hold a lot of old experiences, emotions & stress in our bodies. Just a couple of minutes of a vinyasa flow or yin yoga always releases the tension & anxiety in my body. Honestly, I've been skipping this step recently and I can tell; when I get resistant to practicing is when I need it most.
- Wednesday and Fridays I do some kettlebell swings & a Tabata on my rebounder. This one is in the works; I am making it happen once a week consistently so far. I feel so much more energized throughout the day when I start this way. Blaring a good song on my headphones is my motivation. Currently on repeat: Disparate Youth by Santigold & Run by Alison Wonderland.
- I take a quick cold shower with my shower cap on as I only wash my hair twice a week (I look super cool in it). I’m hooked on the alertness I feel immediately.
- I take a shot of apple cider vinegar. This is a new step; I am 3 weeks into it and while I cannot stand the taste of ACV, the energizing effect is well worth it.
- I eat. It's usually a smoothie PACKED with nutrients, a greek yogurt bowl with nuts or eggs with avocado toast.
- As I sit down to eat, I write down 3 things I feel thankful for in my gratitude journal. If I am in a rush, I will just flip open the journal and read an excerpt from the past. The feeling of gratitude is TRULY life changing.
- I oil pull for 10 minutes. I have totally been slacking on this lately but my hubby never misses a morning; I need to just start when I see him swishing because it is SO good for your overall health.
Then I "get ready" which only takes about 15 minutes to apply makeup and dress myself. If I have time, I make a cup of coffee and step outside and breathe in the morning air. This sounds cheesy, I know, but it feels so good to connect with nature at my favorite time of the day. I am out the door by 7:15 & ready to dominate the day!
I highly recommend any and all of the things I do to start your day. I have used the app Way of Life for years to help habits stick. If you love check lists like I do, this app is for you! Recently I have added some of my habits to my “Health Habits” Google Calendar so that I receive little reminders during my morning routine (for example: “take a shot of ACV now” or “write what you’re grateful for”). I find this super helpful and highly recommend making a sub-calendar in Google Calendar specifically for your habits.
It took years to realize it, but the most essential part of my mornings is meditation. Find what works for you, whether it’s walking, journaling, sitting outside, or painting. I believe that finding fifteen minutes to do WHATEVER brings you to a peaceful, positive and present state is very important. Taking time for yourself is actually the least selfish thing you can do for your family, kids, friends, co-workers, clients, and strangers. When your energy is balanced, it benefits everyone around you.
Tell me how you start the day and what is essential to your morning routine.