No, I do not always arise from bed at 6am, but it’s close enough…
How I Start My Day
When I wake up in the morning and am ready to start my day (as opposed to waking up but rolling over to get more sleep), I take these actions:
- Ab crunches and breathing exercises
- Drink water
- Set an intention
- Eat breakfast
- Look for inspiration
- Share inspiration
I cannot say I do each and every one of them every day, but I try, and I rarely fail to get off to a good start when I do them, or most of them. Since I started applying these activities a few years ago, I have felt much healthier and happier. More detail…
- Ab crunches, while still lying in bed. There is no curling of the neck or back involved; these are relatively light crunches whereby I lift my shoulder blades off the bed. Typically I do 5-10 individual crunches followed by 3-4 repetitions of “ab holds” — zippering up the abs, lifting the shoulders, and holding for 10 inhales/exhales. The breathing is extremely important and beneficial. I have found that the breathing alone helps me to “clear the cobwebs” more quickly and to feel awake without needing to use caffeine. Maxine, my yoga instructor, gave me the idea to do the ab work first thing. It really works!
- Drink water. You have heard this over and over. Many doctors, bloggers, and random advice-givers spout the benefits of hydrating, and hydrating early and often. All I am saying is that I have been doing this very consistently for years, and I have had virtually zero health problems ever since.
- Set an intention. I don’t always consciously do this, and it’s the activity I have added most recently to my repertoire, but I am re-doubling my efforts to make it a habit. On mornings when I do yoga, I benefit from my instructor’s reminder to set an intention. This morning, for example, my message to myself (knowing I had a potentially stressful day ahead of me at the office) was to “Stay calm, and breathe.” I admit I failed at times, but here I am near the end of the day, in one piece, still kicking, and with the peace of mind and strength to write this blog.
- Eat breakfast. Number one, people who know me know that I am always hungry and rarely miss a meal, so this is practically a given. Number two, it’s obviously nothing new, as far as health tips go. What I will add is that I specifically focus on grains with fiber and fresh fruit, and I nearly always have tons of energy. I alternate: raisin bran or shredded wheat with fresh fruit one day, oatmeal (not instant), usually with bananas and often with dark chocolate (yum) the next. If I am super hungry, I also eat some eggs. Especially on mornings when I intend to do a long run, hike, or bike ride, etc., oatmeal is my “go to” breakfast, and I never “bonk” anymore.
- Look for inspiration. Love it, hate it, or in between, Facebook is a useful source of positive messages for me as I eat my breakfast — not in and of itself as a social media platform, but because the news feed shows me links to many wonderful, inspirational pages and blogs. Without fail, I can always find something thought-provoking and uplifting that motivates me to attack the day. For example, one recent day I saw a re-run of this short but effective motto: “Wake up. Kick ass. Be kind. Repeat.” Yes! Words I can live by.
- Share inspiration. This is the key, the activity that truly makes me happy, because it makes me look outside of myself and my own little world and think about others and how I can spread cheer and love and perhaps help them get off to a good start as well. I borrow one of my favorite motivational thoughts, perhaps something I saw the day before or just found this morning, and share it over Facebook or email it to a specific person — someone who I think can use a smile. Which brings me to another wonderful way to start the day…
- Smile. Step outside and smile at everyone you meet! Walk confidently and happily, and project positive energy.
When I do these things, I usually receive an amazing amount of positive energy in return!