Whether working from home, or being home more often these days, we need a boost to get us going in the morning!
Let’s face it, getting out of bed is hard! Especially with the season changing and the cozy blankets pulled up to our necks. Having a routine in the morning not only helps us to get out of bed, but gives us something to look forward to doing -- something that we genuinely enjoy.
There was a time when waking up and feeling motivated was not my forte. In fact, friends used to opt out of who had to wake me up (“Not me, I woke her up yesterday!”). The truth is that during those years of my life, I had zero routine. I didn’t sleep enough (and I didn’t drink coffee if you can believe that), I had little self-awareness and I was completely run down. The commitment to taking care of myself and the addition of a morning routine over the last few years, has been life changing. That’s exactly why I’m sharing a few of my go-to routines with you today to get you motivated in the AM. Feel free to get started with one or two and add as needed!
From PM to AM.
There is one key aspect to morning motivation that has nothing to do with the morning: getting a good night’s sleep. If you want to optimize your energy in the morning and throughout the day, aim for a solid 8 hours. Poor sleep quality is actually linked to inflammation and disrupts important bodily functions (like liver detox between 11pm-3am). Turn off your screens and electronics at least 30 minutes before bed, as they inhibit melatonin production by mimicking sunlight.
Once the next day begins and you’re up, there’s nothing like brushing your teeth
and washing your face to start your
Gratitude and Affirmations
What we think about from the moment we open our eyes, is what we will choose to focus on. The single greatest contribution to my morning mood is my gratitude practice as soon as I wake up. This isn’t anything fancy but leaves me feeling positive, capable and motivated to conquer my day. I simply send up thanks for anything I am particularly grateful for in that moment: “Thank you for this beautiful day”. “Thank you for this healthy and able body”. “Thank you for this job that I have been blessed with”. “Thank you for this home that I love so much and that keeps me safe”.
Then I choose an affirmation. I usually choose one that reflects the intention that I want for my day. If I’m feeling anxious about something, I choose an affirmation that overcomes it and brings me peace.
A few goodies to focus on:
- · Everything is happening for my greatest good. I am safe
- · I am grateful for all that is unfolding in my life and for all that is yet to come
- · I am a joy
- · I am a boss and I got this
- · I am strong. I am beautiful.
- I am enough
- · I am fulfilled, I am fearless
Meditation is an energizing technique that can help to keep the mind calm and focused. Did you think it was just sitting down for long periods of time while ignoring your thoughts? Think again! Morning meditation can be as quick as 5 minutes and revolves around the idea of “just be”. Meditation helps us to improve our self-awareness and can even help with anxiety and depression. Release your worries and focus on your breathing and acceptance of this moment.
The most important aspect is choosing the type of meditation that works best for you. One of the most popular types of meditation is mantra meditation. If you’re ready to get started, turn on some relaxing tunes and follow these simple steps:
- Select your mantra/affirmation/intention of your choice and set a gentle timer
- 2 Find a comfy seat, preferably elevated such as a cushion or yoga block. Sit upright with your back straight and ensure it is enjoyable.
- Focus on your breathing. Let it feel effortless and without pressure.
- Silently repeat your mantra or affirmation. The repetition should feel natural and not forced. It does not have to match your breathing.
- When thoughts float into your mind, do not try to erase them. Simply accept them, honour them and release them.
- Once your timer has gone off, rest for a few moments before standing up.
- Don’t forget to finish your practice with a big smile!
Move before you have time to talk yourself out of it! Whether it’s high or low impact, your body will thank you for rotating those joints and moving those muscles. If high impact movement like running, HIIT or strength training are your jam, go for it! However, low impact exercises have great benefits too. When it comes to morning routine: stretching, walking or a gentle flow also have positive effects on our morning motivation.
The beauty is that a little movement goes a long way. Exercise positively affects our internal systems as much as it affects our external physiology. It improves our digestion and elimination (ever wonder why you’re heading for the bathroom soon after a session?). It can help reduce anxiety and stress, supporting our mental health, and helping to set a positive tone for the day. Exercise also promotes blood flow which increases the oxygen levels in your body, ultimately increasing your energy levels first thing in the morning.
Movement is a personal and intuitive experience. In the same way that we feel different from day to day, so do our bodies! What worked for us yesterday, might not work for us today. Body-awareness plays a big role. To get the most motivation from your morning movement, tune in to what your body is asking for and move in a manner that serves it.
Journaling is a great way to experience self-expression and awaken our motivation. By expressing ourselves we develop our self-awareness, find clarity, and learn to release. You don’t have to be “good” at writing. In fact, journaling is a judgement-free zone where you can jot down your thoughts in any manner that suits you and leave them there. I’ve always found this very therapeutic and it helps me to navigate my thoughts once I can see them in front of me.
Once I’ve got it on paper, I feel lighter and ready to move forward (kind of like writing down the shopping list that’s been floating around in your head all day). My worries stay behind, and I am ready to focus on the day ahead. Try some of these prompts to check in with yourself first thing in the morning:
- How am I feeling?
- What do I need to let go of?
- What do I want to get out of this day?
- What am I grateful for?
- What is my intention for the day?
Whether it’s cozy loungewear or the sweater that makes your eyes pop (for that conference call of course), changing out of your PJs is a must! This subconsciously changes your state of mind from: “I just rolled out of bed” to “I’m ready to do this”. The simple act of getting dressed gets us into work mode, the same way that putting PJs on in the evening signals that it’s time to rest.
To eat or not to eat? There is no universal answer for this, so you’ll need to tune in to what your body needs. My body personally requires breakfast and truthfully, it’s part of what motivates me to get up. If you are choosing to eat as part of your morning routine, here are some tips:
- Start your day with lemon water at least 30 minutes before your meal. This is a great way to kick start your metabolism and build your hydrochloric acid (stomach acid) in preparation for digestion. It also helps to keep the pH balance in the body and helps to detoxify the body.
- The trick to any successful meal, is to make it satisfying. Focus on a mix between protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. Focusing on a balance between sweet, savoury and spicy also contributes towards how satisfying we find our meals.
- Mix it up! Alternate through your breakfast staples to keep it interesting and prevent you from getting bored of your food.
Easy Breakfast Tacos
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes Serves: 2
This clean breakfast will keep you fueled all morning long. Healthy fats and protein keep you satiated while carbs provide energy for your busy mornings. No compromise on flavour here!
- 1 tbsp + ½ tbsp avocado oil
- ½ cup spanish onion
- ½ cup green pepper
- ½ cup mushrooms
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 4 eggs
- ¼ cup cheese *optional (cheddar, goat, jalapeño jack, vegan … whatever you like!)
- 4 small tortillas
- 1 avocado sliced
- Hot sauce *optional
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a hot pan and turn oven on to 350 °F
- Sauté onion, green pepper and mushrooms for 5-7 minutes (until onion is translucent). Add salt and set aside.
- Put tortillas in the oven.
- Heat ½ tbsp of oil in a hot pan.
- Crack 4 eggs into pan salting as needed.
- Stir in the veg while eggs are still a little runny.
- Once cooked through, remove from heat.
- Assemble tacos: tortilla, egg/veg mixture, cheese, sliced avocado and top with salsa. Add additional hot sauce if desired.