As the first hazy light of morning forces its way into your room, your eyelids flutter and you instinctively glance at the alarm clock noticing that it’s a mere two minutes from going off. An arm stretches to hit snooze before you even realize it’s your own. Now your first conscious thought: “I only have ten minutes to sleep! What am I gonna do?” Stressful thoughts about the day start to creep into your head: feed kids, take them to school, work, etc, and it only makes you want to sleep all the more.
But let it be known, mornings do not have to be like this! Waking up doesn’t equate to suffering. It doesn’t need to be some kind of panicky struggle that, even on a good day, feels nearly impossible.
I’ve been in that place of lethargy and malaise; I know how hard it can be to get the day going. That is why I’ve created a list of five easy ways to get your day going. With as many as there are, you shouldn’t have trouble finding a couple that work for you.
1. Stretch. Doing some light stretches in the morning is great for getting your heart rate going and increasing blood flow. I find this one particularly useful for waking up. The increased heart rate and blood flow snaps me out of my morning sleepiness, and helps me feel more alert. As a result of the increased oxygen level in that stretching brings your body, you will begin to feel more relaxed, happy, focused, and ready to take on your day. Start slowly with this one, and as you get more comfortable, consider incorporating more traditional yoga exercises into your morning routine.
2. Meditate. This goes hand in hand with stretching, and is another one of my personal favorite ways to start the day. Meditation can be seen as a sort of stretching of the mind; it makes the mind more flexible, energized, and able to handle the curve balls that the day is capable of throwing at you. Incorporate it into the end of your stretching routine for maximum effect. Focus on the things you are grateful for without allowing your mind to get stuck on any single thought. If an anxious or unwanted thought enters your mind, let go of it and let your thoughts continue flowing. Avoid rumination and allow yourself the time to harness the infinite power that is you.
3. Sit in the sunlight while sipping on some lemon water. O.k., this is a long one, but I wanted to combine a couple because I’ve found that the more specific the habit, the more effective it can be. Of course, there will be days when the sun isn’t out, but if you can catch some rays while imbibing some lemon water, give it a shot (or a full glass).
But why lemon water, you ask? Because it is a simple yet powerful concoction that reduces inflammation, aids digestion, and generally cleanses your system among many other positive things. It has become my go to on mornings that are a struggle, and when combined with vitamin D from the sun, there’s no healthier way to wake up.
4. Acupressure. Acupressure is basically like acupuncture without the needles. And since we unfortunately might not have the time or resources to do acupuncture every morning, acupressure is the next best thing. There are acupressure points all over our bodies that, when pressed, can release blockages of energy at those points in our bodies. And once we get our energy flowing correctly, we feel much more vital, energized, relaxed, and happy.
5. Eat breakfast! Believe it or not, the first meal of the day has a lot to do with your overall health. It provides you with the nutrients and energy your body needs in order to function at its highest potential. Eating breakfast also kick starts your metabolism so that you have less food cravings during the day, and are better able to maintain a healthy body weight. For optimum effects, make sure your breakfast is high in fiber and include whole grains, fruit, and low-fat protein whenever you can.
The transition from sleep to wakefulness is one of the hardest and most complex changes for the human body to make. Luckily, there are endless ways to combat early-morning lethargy and malaise. Picking a specific routine that consists of several healthy early morning choices is your best bet to feeling great right after you wake up. So why not take a shot at a few of these? After all, you deserve to have a healthy and happy morning.