We all want our days to be as healthy as can be, but it's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and forget to make time to care of ourselves. That's first thing in the morning can be the perfect time to try some healthy habits you can even do before work. Starting off the morning on a good note can help improve the rest of your day, and it can encourage you to carve out time for yourself by just waking up even 15 minutes earlier.
"Morning is a sacred time of day," certified holistic health coach Alexandra Napoli tells Bustle over email. "It's a moment to practice valuable self-care before the rest of the world is knocking at your door. If your mindset or routine is chaotic, your day will be chaotic. Incorporating a few healthy habits to your morning will set you on the right foot for a wonderful day and set your health on the right path for a long healthy life."
If you want to start off your day on a positive note and keep your physical and mental health in check, try adopting these 11 healthy habits you can do in the morning before you even get to work.
1. Practice Deep Breathing
"Take some deep breaths and slow down, even just five deep breaths to tune in," health coach Katie Henry PT, DPT, CIMI tells Bustle over email. "When you do some deep breathing, you lower your cortisol levels, lower your heart rate, and can remain in a more calm state of mind at the start of your day. This is a powerful exercise to do when commuting to work."
Exercising in the morning is not only a great way to ensure you get your workout in for the day, but it can also help you get a good night's sleep and diminish your stress, according to a study from The Journal of Strength Conditioning and Research. Even if you can't make it to the gym, do some morning stretches or go for a little jog around your neighborhood to get your blood pumping.
You don't have to wake up and write a novel, but taking the time to jot down some of your thoughts can help clear your mind for the day. A study from UCLA found that writing down your thoughts makes your sadness, anger, and pain less intense.
4. Get Some Fresh Air
Getting outside in the morning can work wonders on your energy level and mood. According to the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center, exposing yourself to bright sunlight in the morning helps regulate your body's natural circadian rhythms, suppressing the sleep hormone melatonin and releasing the feel-good hormone serotonin.
"Fuel your body with delicious food that energizes your body for the day," says Henry. Making your own food at home is not only healthier, but the act of making food can be relaxing and meditative. Cooking allows you to be present and mindful, and it could be a nice way to ease into the activities of your day.
6. Visualize Your Day
Instead of stressing over everything you have to do, visualize how your ideal day would go. "When you have a better idea of what your day looks like and how it’s going to flow, you can enter it with more ease," life coach Sharon Stokes tells Bustle email. "Sometimes if there is a lot on our to-do list, we feel overwhelmed and end up feeling that way the entire day. When you’re able to sit and see how your day is structured, you feel calmer and realize there’s not as much to stress about like you originally thought."
7. Connect With People
Start your day off with some human interaction. "Give your loved one a hug or kiss in the morning, smile at a stranger as you walk to work or email, call, or text someone you care about at the start of your day," says Henry. According to Psychology Today, having strong social support is linked to happiness and even having little interactions with people like your barista can help give you a feeling of belongingness.
8. Drink Up
It's super simple, but totally easy to neglect: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. "Before you eat your breakfast, drink 8-16 ounces of water to hydrate yourself and also fill your belly up a little bit more to start your day," says Henry. Even just mild dehydration can cause moodiness, fatigue, and problems concentrating, according to the Journal of Nutrition, so load up on that water to start your day on the right foot.
9. Express Gratitude
"Instead of waking up thinking about your to do list, how much you hate your job or what horrible things are going to happen that day, take a moment to give thanks," says Napoli. "Be grateful that you woke up and get to live another day, be grateful for your comfortable bed or anything else that makes you feel good. Starting your day with gratitude will help you see all the wonderful things throughout your day."
10. Listen To Something Motivational
While you're getting ready, listen to something motivational or educational. "Books on tape are the perfect way to start your day," says Napoli. "In the morning, your subconscious mind is still active so the messages that you let into your mind have a tendency to stick. By skipping the news or gossip pages and instead filling your mind with ideas and inspiration from changemakers, your whole life could change."
11. Put On Some Music
Listening to music can boost your mood, leave you energized, and even reduce anxiety, according to Healthline. "Find some music that helps pump you up," says Stokes. "Music has the ability to shift your state, so play something that gets you in the right mindset for your day. "
You don't have to do each of these habits every morning, but taking some time for yourself before you begin to work can leave you more relaxed and well-equipped to take on your day.
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