Using Morning Rituals to Better Harness Your Energy

544b78_d854b8dc67954c029f4cf2514871eb11-mv2_d_2048_2048_s_2.jpg

I wouldn’t call myself a morning person or a night owl. However, I feel that my best creative and mental work happens in the morning. Long ago, I wanted to find a way to better harness this energy, and developed a morning ritual that would get me from bed to productivity as quickly as possible. Caveat alert! Everyone is different, but I figured I would share what my current morning ritual looks like, and maybe you’ll find something that you can apply to your own morning. 

1) A quick walk. My dog needs one, and it is a good way to get the body moving and get some fresh air first thing in the morning. I often don’t feel quite ready for a more intense workout in the morning, so a walk is perfect. I used to try to do my workouts early in the morning, but it would drain me. Lately, my regular workout happens around lunch time. I have found that exercising at that time of day also helps me stave off the afternoon slump! But everyone’s different!

2) Breakfast. I know some people are not very hungry in the morning, but that is not me! I wake up ready to eat, and if I wait too long to eat my energy drains pretty quickly. My usual breakfast these days is some steel cut oats dressed up with frozen organic blueberries, shaved coconut, pecans, flax and chia seeds, and a heavy dose of cinnamon. I have been lowering my added sugars in the morning for months, and the blueberries give a nice sweetness that isn’t overpowering. And I try to pack in a lot of antioxidants and nutrition in this first meal of the day.

While my oatmeal is cooking, I steep some organic green tea. My favorite brand is Numi Organic Gunpowder Green Tea. I also have a small glass of almond milk, because I am usually feeling a little thirsty when I first wake up. Between the two beverages, I’m feeling well hydrated!

3) Brain Games. While I’m drinking my tea, I devote 10-15 minutes each morning to some sort of brain activity. Lately, I am using Duolingo to brush up on my Spanish skills. Otherwise, I try to do a quick meditation.

4) Game plan. I list the “must do” activities for the day. These are things that absolutely cannot be put off another day, or tasks that need to be worked on to keep a project’s momentum. This list also includes appointments or places I need to go. I try not to put a lot of things on the day’s to-do list. I have another list of weekly tasks that I can pull from if I have time for more projects, and I also pull from this list when creating my daily list so that everything gets done over the course of the week. Of course things come up, so limiting the “must do” list leaves the door open for those last minute activities.

Then, it’s time to get started! Start to finish, this morning routine is usually about 30-45 minutes. It may seem like a lot, but just taking that time to set up my morning makes a huge difference in my day.

What is your morning ritual? Is there something you want to tweak or add in your own routine?