Revamp Your Morning Routine in 2016

There are compelling articles on health, wellness and even insights on morning habits of highly-successful people that should inspire us all to leap out of bed with fervor each day, but it's winter, how do you get into your AM groove? I'm in awe of people who wake up and go to the gym at 5am. If that's you, well done, you may not need any advice on morning makeovers, but read on anyway for a few tips.

DAY FOUR: Today is about #wellness. Don't live someone else's day, live your own, and design your own. Here are a few ideas to help inspire you to create a new morning regimen that you can customize:

1. Make your morning plans the night before! It's too hard to try and convince yourself 'today is the the day I am going to work out' amidst the early morning alarm sounds. Set your intention in the evening so you are prepared for the next day. 

2. Make the Bed, and let the sunlight in. Start your day by accomplishing one small task. I know I feel much better when the bed gets made in the morning, and it only takes a minute or two. Also, it's important to raise the shades. Light suppresses melatonin, which makes us sleepy. When you rise, you need every bit of energy that nature can allow.

3. Drink a Glass of Water when you wake up. Drink at least 8oz of water in the morning. I like to add a lemon wedge. Drink this through your 'getting ready ritual'.

4. Eat Breakfast. This is an important rule. Skipping breakfast can lead to over eating in the afternoon and also will slow metabolism. Your daily morning breakfast should be simple. Try to give yourself 20 extra minutes in the morning, so you can whip something up (or skip below if you are on the go). Great healthy low-calorie options to make at home: 

  • Oatmeal: Skip sugary oatmeal brands and just add honey.
  • Smoothie: Peanut butter berry smoothie (recipe)
  • Hard-Boiled Egg & Avocado
  • Scrambled Egg White on Wheat Toast 
  • Protein Shake: Almond milk, protein powder, peanut butter and banana. 

On the go? Sometimes, you are racing out the door. If your office has a toaster and a fridge, these are easy to carry with you and make in the office micro-kitchen: 

  • Greek Yogurt w/Berries: Add almonds for extra crunch.
  • Wheat Toast w/ Avocado: Add red paper flakes for a little kick.
  • Wheat Toast w/Almond Butter
  • Apple & Cheese: 1 to 2 oz lowfat cheese

Or, bake ahead, there are low cal recipes online like these Apple Oat Muffins that are great for the morning rush. 

The grocery list for these items is easy. Head to the store Saturday or Sunday to prep for the week. Here are a few necessities: 2 Lemons, Whole Wheat Bread, 14 oz Greek Yogurt, Box of Plain Oatmeal, Honey, Almond Butter, Apple Slices, Lowfat Cheese, Raspberries, Strawberries, Low-fat Peanut Butter, Bananas, 12 Organic Eggs, 3 Avocados and Almonds. 

5. Meditation. This mindful practice can set the tone for the day. And it doesn't take more than 5 minutes. The benefits of meditation are well documented. The simple known effects include decreasing anxiety and improving focus. There are several 'guided meditations' that you can google. Find your favorite. 

6. Read. Don't just read anything! Read something motivational or inspiring. Whether it's an excerpt from a book, or a few pages, time devoted to personal development is well spent. 

7. Workout. You are not required to join the 5am crowd at Spin, however it is a great idea to get the blood flowing. Spend 15-30 minutes walking the dog, doing a tabbata workout or practing yoga. 

8. Coffee. Now depending on your coffee preference, (mine is Starbucks) you might brew at home or grab a cup during your morning commute. Many studies show that coffee improves various aspects of brain function, such as mood, energy levels, reaction times, memory and overall cognitive function. Caffeine starts my daily engine, and I also personally enjoy drinking something warm each morning! 

When you kick start you new routine, try to incorporate one thing each week.