Let’s get one thing straight. There are two types of people in this world. Those who wake up every morning full of abundant energy and enthusiasm, and those who hit snooze 10 times before dreadfully pulling themselves out of their warm, cozy bed. Sound familiar? If you’re anything like me and you’ve struggled to rise at an early hour and join the rest of the functioning world, I feel your pain. It’s taken me a very long time to adjust to this societal expectation and I can proudly say I’ve finally found a routine that makes me want to jump out of bed in the morning!
Feed your Tummy
We’ve all heard the age old saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. Surely this makes sense considering our bodies have been resting for an extended period of time and will require food in order to create energy. For all of my friends out there convinced that intermittent fasting is a healthier alternative, this post is for you! The word “breakfast” was invented in the 15th century when it became apparent that we were breaking the fasting period our bodies would undergo during sleep. Without a nutritional meal shortly after awakening we are doing our metabolism an injustice. When left without food for an extended period of time our body begins to feed on one of two things, our stored fat or our muscles. Neither of these two things are ideal and they are both completely avoidable if we prepare in advance and set ourselves up for success!
I like to ensure my breakfast includes at least 1 source of protein and 1 complex carbohydrate.
- Brown rice
These are just a few examples of foods rich in protein and complex carbs. My best piece of advice would be to try and stay away from refined sugars to avoid a mid-morning crash. Below are a few examples of breakfast products to avoid.
- Maple Syrup
- White bread
There are a ton of breakfast recipes out there that follow these guidelines. Pinterest is a great place to look if you’re feeling stuck and need a little inspiration! The best way to avoid rushing out the door and grabbing something on the go is by preparing your meal the night before. I keep my fridge stocked with eggs and fresh veggies at all times so I never have to stress when I wake up with a grumbly tummy.
Replace Coffee with Herbal Tea
Call me crazy I know. No coffee? Why would I sacrifice my sanity? I can’t live without coffee! Most of you will end up skipping this tip but I encourage you to keep on reading.
Caffeine is a stimulant which raises psychological and nervous activity in the body. Notice how your brain fog disappears after your morning cup of joe? Of course this is ideal for those of us with overflowing schedules and stressful deadlines, however our adrenal glands often times end up fatigued which can lead to a weakened immune system and even the inability to handle stress! If you’re still on the fence check out the benefits of herbal tea in my list below.
- Calming & comforting (helps reduce stress & depression)
- Mood stabilizer (theanine found in herbal teas affects serotonin and dopamine)
- Energy boost (licorice, ginseng, ginger)
- Antioxidants (anti-aging)
- Improves digestion
- Nutrient dense (relieves inflammation)
You can also try a cup of hot lemon water with or without honey. We naturally become dehydrated throughout the night which is why I don’t recommend starting off your morning with a caffeinated beverage. That’s not to say that I wasn’t a coffee fiend for many many years. I worked at Starbucks for 4 years and drank that sweet bean juice religiously! Over the last 6 months (after removing caffeine from my diet) I’ve noticed an enormous amount of positive results. I drink at least 1 cup of tea every day, sometimes 2 if I’m struggling to wind down before bed. It may seem insignificant but it is a 100% game changer!
It goes without saying that setting goals are what spark motivation in our day to day lives. Without a clear picture of where we are headed and what we want to achieve, our productivity decreases and we tend to lose sight of our priorities. Whether we choose to listen to our favourite playlist or podcast, we can all agree that these strategies have the ability to drastically improve our overall mood.
Lacking in motivation? Listen to a podcast while making your breakfast! The best part about this is that it allows you to multitask while simultaneously bringing awareness to your daily goals. My favourite at the moment is Ruth Soukup’s “Do It Scared”. By incorporating positive and encouraging perspective as early in the day as possible, we gain clarity and focus which subconsciously manifests itself into productivity.
Whether you’ve got fur babies or not, I highly recommend an early morning walk to wake up your body and get your day started off on the right foot. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant by any means. A quick 20 minute walk around the neighbourhood is perfect for me but you might find you require more or less time depending on your schedule. Not only do my boys love the exercise but I get to bask in the beautiful scenery and brisk morning air which I find thoroughly satisfying.
If you’re the type of person who tends to jump into your to-do list the moment you wake up, this strategy may not suit you. On the contrary, an additional self-love session could be exactly what you need if you find you’re struggling to organize your thoughts and priorities for the day. Are you fortunate enough to live within walking distance of your work? Ditch the bus pass or car keys and leave a few minutes early. Your body and mind will thank you, I promise!
No Train, No Gain
I know I’ve touched on the importance of exercise in my previous post, “4 Ways I Cope with My Bipolar Naturally”. The reason I stress the importance of working out (especially for those of us with Bipolar) is strictly because I find it to be one of the most effective methods for treating my mood fluctuations. And what better time than the start of a new day to treat ourselves to a sweat sesh? You got it, the morning!
Going to the gym in the morning use to seem like an impossible endeavour and I much preferred my evening workouts. Working your typical office job can definitely make this trickier if you’re forced to wake up early and commute in rush hour. Now that I’m working a few hours later each morning, I find it’s much easier to wake up at a reasonable hour and fit in my weight training before work.
So why do I love to train in the morning apposed to at night? Without the buzz from a cup of coffee my energy levels aren’t always where I’d like them to be. Some days are better than others but I’ll admit to yearning for that morning pick-me-up as much as the rest of you. The only way I’ve been able to truly satisfy this craving and provide my body with unlimited energy is by lifting within 2 hours of waking up. It’s the perfect way to sneak in some much needed me-time and results in increased mental awareness, a plethora of endorphins, and the discipline I so desperately need to function throughout my day. All in all, it’s amazing! The only thing I regret about training in the morning is not starting it sooner.
Note** – If you’re exercising daily whether it’s in the morning, afternoon, or evening do not stress. You’re still actively taking care of yourself regardless and the time of day is a personal choice. Applaud yourself for the hard work you’re putting in and do not overwhelm yourself trying to switch up your schedule if it’s working for you!
Beautiful Train Wreck