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Morning routine

By April 5, 2023No Comments

Good morning, sunshine!

Are you looking to make your mornings more productive? Or simply reduce the stress level? Having a daily morning routine isn’t about adding more to your to-do list for the day. A solid morning schedule will actually help you manage time better! It’ll brighten your mood and give you more energy throughout the day, it will reduce anxiety, boost your productivity levels, and make you feel better overall. 

Take it from this lazy, disorganized oversleeper.

morning routine

I am a morning person. I perform better in the anti-meridian hours. As the day progresses and the light starts to dim, my eyelids droop. Which makes focusing on work past 5 pm during winter a real challenge. Before setting a healthy morning routine, my start of the day was chaotic and disorganized. I soon realized that how I began the day was responsible for it often going south. So I set out to find ways to regain order in my mornings.

As soon as I started paying attention and applying “rules” it immediately became clear that a morning routine meant filling my early hours with activities (and stillness, too) that actually helped me rejuvenate, reset, and refocus. The day ahead was soon looking better, and I’d stay productive even after the sun had set.

Some of the top benefits I noted thanks to adopting a good morning ritual: 

  • Improved mental health and overall well-being
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Better focus and drive
  • Oddly enough, I needed less thinking power in the morning
  • Feeling more grounded, connected, and confident

My morning routine now provides structure to the rest of the day, it gives me the power to take control of the household’s daily schedule. Plus it promotes better time management; it improves productivity and the overall quality of my performance at work.

Have I convinced you yet? 

Here are a few tips that I used to get there. Remember that you want to build the perfect morning routine that works for your lifestyle.

5 tips for a healthy start of the day

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1. Wake up to a sunrise alarm

I invested in a sunrise alarm clock. These essentially combine a digital alarm with a mood light: an artificial light source designed to mimic natural dawn or morning light. This simple device which gradually fills my bedroom with warm orange light, then emits soft sounds when the light is at its brightest. An effect similar to waking up on a sunny morning with warm rays peeking through the shades. Sunrise alarm clocks, also known as “dawn simulators,” are a growing trend with health-minded people who have understood the importance of sleep quality. Unlike traditional alarms that typically jolt us awake with a burst of loud, disorienting noise, dawn simulators enhance a gentler wake-up experience.

dawn simulators as part of a healthy morning routine

Do sunrise alarms work? The use of timed light has been shown to be an effective, noninvasive tool for improving the quality of sleep, mood, and well-being. Firstly, however, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. The CDC recommends adults get at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep. A luxury in some cases, I know. So think about using a sunrise alarm, but with one caveat: if you are a shift worker, you should avoid using these clocks to simulate dawn when it’s naturally supposed to be dark out.

Depending on the model, a sunrise alarm clock can run about $20 to $300. I have this one and I gifted my heavy sleeper son this one.

create a morning routine for your kids

2. Create a morning routine for the kids

If you are a parent, it’s important to start the day together with your kids, connecting and starting off the morning in the best possible way. Nothing benefits children more than routine and regularity. Encourage them to have structure every morning before heading to school. Having a routine teaches kids independence, it fosters responsibility, gives them a sense of security. Additionally, with a morning routine, kids know what to expect, which reduces anxiety, a common condition in post-Covid generations. 

  • Invite your kids to start the day by accomplishing an easy task like making their bed;
  • If time allows, squeeze in a stretch or a yoga pose together;
  • Give them enough bathroom time for teeth, hair, and personal care;
  • Allow kids to pick out their own clothing — from head to toe — to promote creativity and independence. No judgement!
  • Sit down for breakfast together and share thoughts, gratitude exercises or just eat quietly making eye-contact and smiling;
  • Go through backpack/sportswear checklists;
  • The night before, revise the following day’s plans together, checking in to make sure all logistics are covered (house keys, allowance, after-school pick-up, time management for homework, free time, meals)
eating a high protein breakfast as part of a healthy morning routine

3. Eat a high-protein breakfast

Health starts from the gut, it’s now a proven fact. Breakfast should provide at least 20% of our total daily caloric needs. For a long time I was a “breakfast skipper.” Not because of time-restricted eating patterns, such as intermittent fasting which has become increasingly popular as a weight management strategy. No, I just didn’t have the time for it. I managed my time sloppily and I would just have un caffè and sometimes a cornetto at the coffee bar. The worst kind of first meal of the day! Scientific studies have shown that ‘breakfast skippers’ are at a bigger risk for chronic disease and weight gain due to increased hunger driving hormones, spikes in hunger throughout the day. Agreed, breakfast is paramount, but simply eating breakfast may only be half the battle. The true victory comes when we consume a high-quality breakfast packed full of protein and nutrients. A high protein breakfast has been shown to offer overall health benefits from energy expenditure (calories burned), building muscle mass, moderating hunger, balancing hormones, regulating glucose and decreasing the desire to snack outside of mealtimes. 

Here are some protein-packed breakfast foods that I’ve started including in my morning routine:

Eggs are a no-brainer breakfast protein, but it’s important to remember that there are so many different ways to use them. One whole egg has approximately 5.5 grams of protein in only 68 calories.

All varieties of yogurt naturally contain some protein, however, the process of making Greek yogurt helps to increase the overall protein content per serving. There are 17 grams of protein in each 175-gram serving!

Sausages, period. You may prefer to start the morning with low-calorie turkey or chicken, but there is nothing unhealthy about using pork or beef sausages if that’s what you prefer. Regardless of what option you choose, be sure to read the ingredients and opt for a version containing only ground meat and seasonings, with minimal additives and preservatives. Two ounces of sausage contain 14 grams of protein.

Not only is cottage cheese a high-protein breakfast food that is quick and convenient, but it can be eaten as a sweet or savory dish paired with everything from fruit and honey to meat and grains. A mere 1/2 cup serving of 2% cottage cheese contains as much protein as a 3-ounce serving of chicken and more than a serving of eggs.

put proteins in your morning routine

Oily fish is an excellent breakfast food. Not only does it contain a ton of protein, but fish like wild salmon are also rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for optimal health. With 14 grams of protein in a 3-ounce serving, smoked salmon is an ideal breakfast food for your healthy morning routine. In addition to salmon, tuna, cod, and mackerel all work well for breakfast. If you are feeling adventurous, give oil-packed anchovies or sardines a try for a quick and easy high-protein breakfast option.

With 15 grams of protein per 1 cup, beans and lentils are not only a good source of plant-based protein, but they are a great source of soluble fiber which provides support for blood sugar balance, cardiovascular health and satiety.

Oats contain 5 grams of protein per 1/2 cup of dry product.

With a whopping 7 grams of protein per 2-tablespoon serving peanut butter is your friend at breakfast in a healthy morning routine.

Bacon (yes, bacon!) has 6 grams of protein per 2-slice serving.

Whole milk contains 8 grams of protein per 1 cup, and ricotta has 5 to 7 grams of protein per 1 oz.

Whole-grain bread has 4 grams of protein per 1 slice; and cooked quinoa waves its little vegan hand with 8 grams of protein per 1 cup!

In the seeds realm, a handful of almonds contains 6 grams of protein; pumpkin seeds have 5 grams of protein per 1 oz, and chia seeds boast 4 grams of protein per 1 oz.

Although not technically a food, high-quality protein powder is a good alternative for people who love smoothies, hate to cook, or are in a hurry. With 20 grams of protein in 1 scoop, you can assemble a quick smoothie using different kinds to choose from. However, not all protein powders are created equal. Natural whey is ideal, but harder to find and certainly more expensive. Also keep in mind that protein powder is considered a supplement because it is just that: a supplement to a food diet. So, if you struggle to include protein in your diet, a protein shake can be a good quick fix, but don’t look to it as a long-term solution.

express gratitude in your morning routine

4. Express gratitude

I can see your eyes rolling. Yes, I do a quick gratitude check-in every morning. Nothing fancy or complicated. No incense burning or new age tunes playing. I don’t even write anything down. As soon as I drop my son off at school, as I drive back home, I make a mental list of 3 things I am grateful for. I have to finish the list by the time I get home. And the drive is very short. Today’s was the following:

  1. Thankful for the sun coming out after a few days of gray skies.
  2. Thankful for a healthy boy in school and a happy pup in the back seat.
  3. Thankful for finding a parking spot in my street, opposite my apartment building. If you don’t own a garage or a private driveway in Rome, you know this is a big win.
include physical activity in your morning routine

5. Move your body

Whether you like to walk, run, do sun-salutations, or hit the gym in the first hours of the day, it’s wise to include some form of physical activity in your healthy morning routine.

Since I have started working out regularly, my life has changed. I feel the benefits in so many ways beyond stronger muscles and weight loss. I train twice a week with a professional, and on the remaining days, as part of my morning routine, I do a full body warm-up followed by a 20 minute walk around the block with the dog, which in and of itself is a workout given his very poor leash manners. Back home, I feel invigorated and ready to tackle the work day with a skip in my step.

What is your morning routine like?

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