The way we start our day will set the pace for the coming hours and will determine whether you will be productive or not. That’s why I’ve always loved to have in a place a morning routine that would help me jumpstart my day, increase well-being and productivity.
Of course, every day is different, and we cannot keep it 100% of the time. However, having a schedule helps us not only be organized and productive but also relieve stress and anxiety.
In today’s world, when days pass by without us getting the chance to understand what’s going on, stopping for a few minutes and focusing on the now has become even more important.
To live better, all you have to do sometimes is incorporate some self-care practices in your daily routine. Start with your mornings and finish up with your evenings, on top of learning to take things as they come throughout the day.
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My 10 morning habits to increase well-being and productivity
You snooze, you lose
I’ve noticed throughout the years that whenever I would wake up without an alarm I felt much more rested than if I would go back to sleep for another hour or so.
That’s what happens also when you push that snooze button several times. You’ll wake up eventually, feeling more tired and annoyed than at the first call.
I never use snooze, and I always try to wake up when my body tells me to. By procrastinating you will only get in a bad mood and won’t help your tonus and well-being.
Other things that help:
- try to have a schedule and wake up daily at the same time – no matter if that is 6 AM or 8:30 AM. We are all different and function best on our own terms. Just because you read that some entrepreneur starts its day at 5 AM, you don’t have to do that if you feel miserable. It can also work well if you start your day later, are productive through the day, and maybe finish it up a bit later as well.
- train yourself to wake up at the same time – of course, how much you sleep and if you are a morning person or a night owl is genetic, but it is something that you can also train and develop throughout time.
- wake up at the best time for your body according to your sleep cycle – track that with an app like Sleepcycle.
- Use a sleep improving alarm clock – this is a light therapy lamp and natural sunrise alarm clock for improving your sleep, energy, and well being. It helps you both get to sleep with different sounds, but also to wake up with different sunrise natural light
Make your bed
Coming from someone who didn’t do it for so many years, this might sound a bit weird.
However, not only you will feel you have accomplished something for the day, but your room will be tidy and nice.
And that’s particularly important for someone who has the desk next to the bed and sees it all day every day.
Drink some warm water with lemon
Your body will be crazing liquids after so many hours of rest, and the warm water with lemon will help you jump start your metabolism.
The taste is delicious, and it aids digestion, helps clean your intestine, and prepare for a great start for the day with some valuable vitamin C that will boost your immune system as well.
On the other hand, lemons are high in pectin fiber, which could help fight hunger cravings, while many have noticed it helps them lose weight faster.
All these great benefits from one small glass of water with some lemon juice.
Every day is different, but there’s one thing you sure don’t want to skip: a morning exercise routine.
When I was younger and more into high-intensity workouts, I would wake up at 5 AM and exercise for one hour or more. I was into some really intense training routines back then and would love the hype I got after sweating it all.
Later on, I discovered yoga and a more gentle way to exercise and take care of yourself. I was hooked!
Now you must understand that you shouldn’t do much in order to make it count.
On your low days, try some gentle stretching and a slow 15 minutes workout. That’s all it takes to feel more flexible and love your body for what it is at this point in time.
Here are some of my favorite yoga instructors you can follow online for inspiration and guidance:
- Kino Yoga
- Yoga Girl
- Yoga by Candace
- Laruga Yoga – she has some free videos for inspiration, but also a program on Ashtanga step by step, with 28 videos taking you through the whole practice.
What goes better together than yoga and meditation?
It will be hard in the beginning, and your mind won’t stand still at all. I remember reading about meditation the first time in “Eat, Pray, Love”, and how hard it was for her during her stay in the ashram.
Start slowly and don’t give up when times get hard. It helps to start your day with a clear mind.
Some of the accounts I’ve mentioned above have also guided meditation videos you can start with. I also use the Headspace app – it has a free trial and some free beginner videos for you to test it out.
If you choose to skip something from this morning routine, don’t skip taking care of your skin.
Maybe it’s just me, and I’ve always had issues with my skin, but especially once you hit 30 you’ll need to pay more attention to the skincare routine.
After visiting South Korea last year, and after moving to Asia, I’ve been introduced to skincare at another different level.
The Korean routine consists of 10 steps:
- Oil cleanse – this is one of my favorite oil cleanser, packed with natural ingredients from green tea from Jeju island in Korea;
- Foam cleanse – this might seem a bit much, but sometimes you might want to do this as well in order to deep clean your pores and get them ready for a new day; the Jeju Volcanic Pore Cleansing Foam is one of my favorites;
- Exfoliate – use a scrub with micro-particles that gently remove dead skin cells, and this is a great option to consider;
- Tone – I must be honest and admit I almost always skip this step, but you shouldn’t. Try a gentle toner if you have sensitive skin or this one that restores moisture and Ph level.
- Essence – this should be applied to areas prone to problems like acne or dark points;
- Eye cream – don’t skip it, and use a cream suitable for your skin type. I like the green tea seed one, or the perfect 9 repair cream once you get over a certain age;
- Serum – my favorite product, something I use both in the morning and in the evening. My dehydrated thirsty skin craves for it. This one helps restore skin clarity and suppleness, this one is a popular option that replenishes skin with essential moisture and nutrients, this one fights signs of aging including wrinkled, dehydrated, and sagging skin.
- Face mask – the most relaxing way to spend 15 minutes, while also reading something you like, or listening to your favorite podcast. After trying tons of sheet face masks, I am a huge fan of these masks. I have written a detailed review here.
- Moisture – apply it gently on all face and neck. Try this cream for providing long-lasting moisture for dewy soft skin that radiates.
- Sunscreen – if there’s one thing I’ve learned in Asia, is that you never go out without sunscreen. It is super important to protect your skin from the sun.
Have a wholesome breakfast
Starting your day with a wholesome breakfast is great for your energy and for your digestion.
I never skip breakfast and I also go for some healthy, yet filling options. Don’t go for stuff packed with sugar, and choose protein over carbs.
Oolong tea is very popular in China and it helps both your metabolism, boosts energy, and helps with digestion. You can drink it in the morning and throughout the day if you want to replace coffee.
Another healthy option is Green Tea and I especially like the flavored one we got from Sri Lanka.
No matter how much I love tea, I would always choose a strong good quality coffee. There’s nothing I love more than a steaming good coffee with breakfast.
There are so many options for a healthy breakfast, and if you think you don’t have the time in the morning, prepare your snack the night before.
Be positive and thankful
It is so easy to forget about all the great things we have in life, especially in the morning when your mind might run to the many chores on your to-do list for the day.
For that reason, you’ll want to take a few moments (maybe while you eat) to be in the now, acknowledge what you have, what you are grateful for, and the place you want to be.
Don’t forget that what you think you attract and don’t take things for granted.
Plan your day
That’s the first thing I do as I sit down at my desk in the morning: plan my day.
I also plan my week and every day at a time. I’ve seen it helps a lot to have the vision of what I want to do in front of my eyes, and I often write it down on paper. It is so rewarding to get to tick things off that list at the end of the day!
And don’t forget, there’s no issue if you don’t get everything done. Maybe you’ve planned too much, or maybe you just weren’t in the zone.
Tomorrow is another day and the plan is still there.
Once you went through your routine, you are now ready to start doing.
Don’t postpone or procrastinate, it is up to you to choose what you want to do and where you want to be today. Even when you are doing a job that you don’t enjoy, think about the reason behind this.
Push yourself further towards that dream job, and allow yourself to feel bad sometimes. Nobody’s perfect and we all have bad days.
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