5 Healthy Morning Habits in 15 Minutes or Less
Quick and easy health habits everyone can use
Elle Martin, certified integrative health and wellness coach and founder of SoHo Well+being, LLC
Most of us have issues getting up in the morning to start our work day. Perhaps you enjoy the coziness of your bed, suffer from a case of the Mondays, or roll over and post social media updates while you wait for your cup of coffee to finish its auto-perk cycle. You’re not alone…the average working American wakes up, hits the snooze button (a few times), checks email, surfs the Internet, skips breakfast and grabs to-go coffee before heading out to a grueling morning commute…and we wonder why we feel stressed out by 8:00 am? Whatever is keeping you from starting your day on a positive and healthy note, you can start changing those habits now with a few easy and quick morning practices.
Mindful moments (3 minutes)
As you wake up from what was hopefully a blissful night of sleep, take a few moments to be appreciative of life. These three minutes are for you to take note of what you are grateful for, recite daily affirmations, or just be present with how your body and mind feels. Be fully aware of how you can modify your thinking if you find your morning in a negative space. These three minutes are for you to take control and set the tone for your day.
Breathe deep and with intention (3 minutes or less)
The practice of 4–7–8 assists with increasing oxygen to brain and also reduces stress that may spark as you start your day. Increased oxygen to the brain helps with cognitive thinking, so I encourage the practice of 4–7–8 throughout your day and before going to sleep.
- 4–7–8: Simply breathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and release for eight seconds. Do this three times, but try not to rush the process. You will find after doing this you will feel a decrease in anxiety and an increased sense of calm and relaxation.
Drink a glass of water (3 minutes)
Drinking a glass (or two) of water when you get up not only provides an instant mental and physical pick-me-up, but there is also a link between heart health and hydration in the evening and early morning. The American Journal of Epidemiology found that 46% of men and 59% of women have a decreased chance of a fatal heart attack if they consumed five or more glasses of water a day. This is compared to those whom have consumed only two glasses of water a day. Morning water activates internal organs and assists with flushing toxins out of your body, which is beneficial for overall digestive health. For additional health benefits add lemon to your water. Lemon in your water adds essential electrolytes to your body in the form of potassium, calcium, and magnesium, and is easily assimilated by the body.
Stretch (5 minutes)
Just the act of moving the body sets the mind in a forward motion. We’ve all heard of the saying, if you don’t use it you lose it. Stretching helps keep the body nimble and assists with circulation, coordination, stress and pain relief. Some studies note a stretching routine may also prove beneficial for relief from arthritis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and depression.
Smile and laugh (1 minutes or less)
Smiling or laughing modifies your body’s chemical response. When you laugh or smile your brain releases a rush of endorphins. Consider this simple act to be a gift to you and people around you. I’m not suggesting to smile or laugh inappropriately or with insincerity. However, if you can find moments throughout your day that are in some way enjoyable, comical, or downright hilarious, access those moments fully and enjoy!
These quick and easy tips to start to your day will help you on a path to increased health, balance and well-being. Once you incorporate this routine into your lifestyle you may find that fifteen minutes of morning health isn’t enough. Take two weeks to incorporate this routine with intention. When you’re ready to move on to a more advanced routine there will be no need to force things. A true lifestyle change happens when we are purposeful in our intention. Be diligent and kind with yourself while making these health changes, as balance comes when there is both a physical and mindset shift. Be patient and you will be rewarded in more ways than you could imagine.
For those of you looking for advanced healthy morning routine tips, please check out my article, 5 Healthy Habits in 60 Minutes or Less. For more health information and wellness inspiration, please follow SoHo Well+being @sohowellbeing.