How to Perfect Your Morning Routine
The first thing you should do when you wake up is drink 20 oz. of water. Have it next to your bed, and don’t turn off your alarm until you finish drinking it. Our lungs are 90% water; our blood is 85% water; our brain is around 80% water; our muscles are 75% water; even our bones have some degree of water in them. Most likely, this will cause you to have to pee, so then take care of business.
Next, set the tone for the day. Meditate for 5 minutes. What I mean by meditate is control your mind for 5 minutes. Sing your favorite song or prayer while clapping a beat. It may sound silly, but by the end of the five minutes you will happier, more alert, and more centered. I highly, highly recommend clapping. I also recommend recording the audio on your phone. These morning songs/prayers will be fun to listen to at some point.
Set your second alarm to go off 10 minutes after you wake up, and when it buzzes, make sure you are out the door. After a few days you will feel the conditioning. Quickly get on your running clothes, put on your favorite music if you run with music, and get moving. The willpower you need to run after you’ve drank 20 oz of water and sang/prayed is a fraction of the willpower you need to run the second you wake up. Thus, we’ve made it much easier for you to run every day. Why run? Motion creates emotion. When you run you become more optimistic and you literally think faster. We are information-processing machines and our brains have powerful computational abilities. In order to maximize our information-processing speed without giving up accuracy we need to run. No excuses. Okay, if biking/swimming is more your style, that’s cool too!
Running creates tightness in our legs and hips, which constricts the flow of blood to the brain, so after you run, it’s time to stretch. Here’s a link to some good post-run stretches. I prefer the lizard and hamstring stretch. Take at least 10 minutes to stretch, and over time combine stretching with focusing on one thing. Focus on the spot that holds tightness, and visually guide your inhales to and from that spot. Relax your jaw.
Now it’s time for fuel. Food warrants a separate discussion entirely, but here’s one piece of advice. Do you know that drowsy feeling sometimes you get after you eat? Two possible explanations. One, you are eating too fast and your body has to divert too much energy to digestion. Two, you are eating foods that make you tired. When I eat bread in the morning it makes me slightly drowsy. At this point you should have enough data to self-diagnose, but you can also go to a nutritionist to confirm.
For non-vegans, here’s an award winning combination I discovered and religiously adhered to before going vegan. Start by filling up a bottle of water. Then wash two vegetables, a pepper and onion, kale and mushrooms, whatever works. You don’t have to wash the onion actually since it comes with protection. Then take two eggs, a bit of cheese, and banana. Sautee veggies in butter, at the same time crack the eggs, stir them in a bowl, cut the cheese into smaller pieces so they will melt, and then cut the banana into slices. Drink 1/3rd of your water. Once the veggies are slightly brown and tender, pour into a bowl. Add a bit more butter then pour the eggs into the pan, add cheese, flip once the eggs become firmer, and then dump the eggs on top of the veggies. Drink another 1/3rd. Add a bit more butter, spread the banana slices, flip them, once browned and tender, dump the banana onto the eggs. Drink the final bit of water. You’re hydrated, and now you have an award-winning healthy breakfast bowl that tastes amazing and costs about $2. Since going vegan, I combine a refrigerated melon (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew) and banana with a green veggie (kale, spinach, arugula), freshly cut ginger, chia/hemp seeds, and a fistful of nuts (walnut, brazil, cashew, almond, pecan).
I like to bless the food to express appreciation, and then use my breakfast time to fit in an aerobic workout. I do 5 sets of 10 lifts for each arm, essentially eating/drinking the food in 5 increments. It ensures that I don’t eat too quickly, and I feel the food digesting more efficiently, since it has to immediately be rerouted to replace torn muscle. The point is, you can break up your breakfast with short 1 minute tasks. It could be doing a crossword puzzle, playing a round of duolingo or Peak, the point is, by breaking up your food intake, you will prevent yourself from eating too quickly and process the food more efficiently.
After eating it’s time to get ready. Since you ran and potentially exercised while eating, you’ll most likely want to shower first. I recommend writing positive notes to yourself in permanent marker (so it doesn’t drip) on the shower tiles. You can use this whitespace however you like, maybe you want to draw a heart and focus on love when you’re showering, whatever floats your boat. I have a wireless Bluetooth speaker so I also play classical music or jazz in the shower if I want to chill, techno or house music if I want to dance. Silence is nice too, this could also be a time to play a meditation soundtrack. Furthermore, buy candles and keep a lighter nearby. Keep the lights off; a candlelit shower is superior to a lightbulb shower in every way possible. Don’t forget, end your shower with freezing cold water. It will take some time to get used to the sensation, but the benefits are manifold.
After you’ve dried off a bit, hygiene time is another opportunity for self-reinforcing positive messages. Write affirmations like “I like myself”, “I believe in myself”, “I am responsible”, and look yourself in the eye when you’re brushing your teeth or hair or putting on deodorant. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one will. You could even write your schedule on the mirror each night before you go to bed so you can reflect on areas that can be improved while you’re grooming.
Don’t be Naked
Now it’s time to get dressed. No you don’t have to go all Mark Zuckerberg/Steve Jobs to be successful, but yes, you should plan out your wardrobe for the week on Sunday night. If you don’t know what clothes are in your dresser or closet than you have too many. Give some away. In my opinion, you are best off having an outfit for each day and then doing laundry on Saturday. This will take away the stress of what to wear. Pack your things, fold up your schedule, and head to work for an incredibly productive day!
How do you start your day?