8 Morning Rituals To Start Your Day Feeling Great

morning rituals

Is it time to give your morning routine a makeover? These 8 morning rituals may give you a few ideas on how you can start your day a little differently. 

The things you do, and the thoughts you think first thing in the morning, can either make or break the rest of your day.

I have found that if I have some sort of ritual or routine that I do every day, it helps me avoid the yucky funk of overwhelm and blah that I tend to get into first thing in the morning.

According to Ayurvedic philosophy, when you focus on morning rituals that work to align the body with nature’s rhythms, you balance the mind and body, create self-discipline and improve self-esteem.

Who couldn’t use that? I am going to share with you 8 morning rituals (habits) that I have implemented into my day that REALLY make a difference in the way I feel physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Don’t feel like you have to start them all at once. Adopt one or two things that ring true to you, and try it for a few weeks. Then implement something else when you are ready. Don’t be surprised if you begin to see mornings and life in a new light!

morning rituals

8 Morning Rituals

1- Get Up Early

I know for some of you, this may not seem too appealing, but read on. If you can roll out of bed before the sun comes up (at least 20 minutes before sunrise), you will experience the amazing energy that is in the atmosphere at twilight.

I love the lighting just before the sun comes up, the birds chirping, and the stillness in the air.

When you wake up early and give yourself some extra time in the morning, you are going to be much more grounded and ready for an awesome day.

If you get up rushed, feeling behind because you pushed the snooze button one too many times, or if you lay there in bed dreading what is ahead of you, you are setting yourself up to experience that same energy the rest of your day.

I find that after I wake up, it is best to just throw the covers off and pop out of bed. If I just lay there, my mind starts racing, and then it’s easy to start spiraling down into the pit, the pit of OVERWHELM. Does anyone else have that problem?

There will be some days that you will want to just stay in bed for another hour, but from my experience, that just makes it worse. You are better off just getting up and get moving.

morning rituals EFT

2- Tap Out The Bad/Tap In The Good

If you find yourself on the negative side of things in the morning, or if you can’t get motivated to even get out of bed, the best way to change this around is to take a few minutes to TAP IT OUT.

For those of you not familiar with meridian tapping or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) this is a quick and easy method of releasing negative energy from your system. Read more about how to do it here.

By using this technique you can quickly locate what it is you are feeling, tap it OUT and then tap IN some good yummy positive affirmations that will leave you feeling motivated and ready for your day. If you don’t take care of those crusty emotions first thing, you will find yourself attracting more experiences to feel crusty about throughout the rest of your day.

A good way to replace negative thoughts is to think about what you are grateful for. Why not start your day thinking of a few things that are good in your life instead of focusing on the bad?

Remember, what you put your attention on grows, GOOD or BAD. When you feel gratitude towards someone or something you will attract more of that.

There are several ways to have an attitude of gratitude;

  • prayer
  • meditation
  • writing in a gratitude journal
  • or it can be as simple as making statements in your head or speaking them out loud while tapping.

Start your day thinking about something or someone you are grateful for and tap it IN. See what happens, you might be surprised!

morning rituals lemon water

3- Drink A Glass Of Lemon Water

Your body is the most dehydrated in the morning and when you are dehydrated, your blood is thicker, so your organs have to work harder.

It is so important to get water into your system, with or without lemons.

Drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your health.

  1. It doesn’t take long to prepare
  2. it’s inexpensive and there is nothing better than to wake up to the fresh invigorating smell of lemon.

 

Here are some of the many benefits of drinking a glass of lemon water daily:
● Helps keep the body at a normal pH level.
● Prevents bacteria buildup in the body.
● Relieves symptoms of indigestion, heartburn, bloating, and constipation.
● Digestive aid and liver tonic.
● Clears mucus and phlegm.
● Helps maintain healthy body weight.
● Help dissolve kidney and gallstones.
● Gives your skin a healthy glow.

Get more facts and details here.

morning rituals meditation

4- Meditate

Meditation is something I have struggled with a bit, but the more I do it, the easier it is getting.

There are so many different styles of meditation out there. I recommend trying several different methods and finding what works for you. You can spend anywhere from 5 – 90 minutes meditating. Some even do it longer than that.

I recommend starting with a short guided meditation. One of my first experiences with a long meditation was not good. Before I was finished, I thought I was going to have an anxiety attack. (It was a 90-minute meditation). It takes some time to work up to being in a place of total stillness. I love it now! 

I believe you can also get into a meditative state without having to sit in the lotus position. (Common way to sit while meditating).

Walking, painting, or just taking a few moments to sit and quiet the mind are great ways I believe you can meditate.

Whatever meditation format you use, I do recommend it be part of your morning rituals.

Taking time to be still, physically and mentally is a VERY HEALTHY THING and so needed in our world today.


Go easy, start with a short meditation, be open-minded and give it a whirl.

morning rituals rebounding

5- Rebounding

This is something I swear by, and it’s part of my morning rituals.

Who would have thought that bouncing on a little trampoline could do anything for you?

Well, I am here to tell you, by experience, that it can!

Rebounding provides benefits to nearly every body system, from increased flexibility and skin tone to decreased stress.

Its up-and-down movement improves circulation and lymphatic flow and gently massages the internal organs for whole-body health.

I keep my rebounder in my closet where it is easily accessed or under my bed.

Most days I will turn on my Pandora playlist and listen to 2-3 songs while I jump and then I am off for a little yoga or other things.

Some days I will jump longer and some days I will just pop on there for only a few minutes to shake things up. You can find out more about it here in a previous post.

morning rituals skin brushing

6- Dry Skin Brushing

Here is another gem that I highly recommend!

Again, it is one of those things that does not cost a lot of money, is simple to do, does not take a lot of time, and is chuck full of benefits. Here are a few of the many benefits.

● Stimulates blood and lymph flow
● Helps eliminate toxins from the body
● Removes dead skin cells
● Encourages cells to regenerate
● Helps combat cellulite
● Results in smooth glowing skin
● Anti-aging through cell regeneration
● Strengthened immune system
● Stimulated nervous system, toned muscles, and tightened skin
● Stimulates both the sweat and sebaceous glands (contributing to the restoration of moist and supple skin)

Skin brushing has been one of my morning rituals for quite some time. I can tell a big difference in my skin and in the way that I feel.

To get the scoop on how to do it, I have a few previous posts that you can check out here.

morning rituals cold showers

7- Ending Your Shower Cold

Yep, you heard it right, and you may be asking why in the world would I torture myself with cold water first thing in the morning.

Here are four good reasons why you may want to add this to your morning rituals.

1-Better Circulation

Warm water makes the blood rush to your skin, and cool water makes the blood rush to your organs and glands.

This switching between hot and cold triggers better circulation throughout your whole body.

COLD water stimulates blood flow to the CORE of the body, thus bringing FRESH blood to the organs and glands and ALL parts of the Body!

This means, OXYGEN & NUTRIENTS IN and TOXINS & PATHOGENS OUT!

2-Better Looking Skin

When you shower with warm water, it opens up your pores. After washing it is a good idea to close the pores with cold water.

This will prevent the pores from being clogged with dirt and oil, preventing skin acne and other irritating skin conditions.

Another benefit is that cold water makes your blood vessels constrict which reduces swelling and the appearance of dark circles under your eyes.

3- Healthier Hair

Cold water makes your hair look healthier and shinier. The cold water closes the cuticle which makes the hair stronger and prevents dirt from easily accumulating on your scalp.

4- Mental Benefits

Cold water energizes you and invigorates your entire being with the essence of life.

Give it a try, you will definitely feel more alive! It can also lift you up if you are feeling a little down or unmotivated.

I love it because it gives you that same invigorating feeling of jumping in a cold running river or jumping off the boat to go water skiing. (a little shock, but a good refreshing shock).

DON’T TORTURE YOURSELF.  Start with a level of cold you can deal with, and slowly make it colder after each shower.

Make it a habit to end your shower COLD or at least COOL!

Let the cold water run over your scalp, face, the front of your body, then down your back, or you can just turn down the hot water and stand back and put your hands in and splash your face and the front of your body.

Give it a try!  You will be hooked!

morning rituals berry smoothie

8- Eat A Healthy Breakfast

I know everyone has different body systems and different nutritional requirements, but most everyone can benefit from a good healthy breakfast.

There are many philosophies and beliefs out there about food and nutrition and it can get really confusing about what you “should” be eating. Am I right?

What is important is that you find foods that support your system, foods that sustain you, make you feel energized and clear, and eat them for breakfast.

morning rituals berry smoothieHere is a breakfast berry smoothie that I have for breakfast frequently because it sustains me.

I feel like it has a lot of nutritional value, and it works for me.

morning rituals muesli breakfast bowlAnother one of my breakfast favorites is this muesli recipe.

Think outside the box. What you have to eat first thing in the morning does not have to be traditional “breakfast” food. Sometimes I have some bone broth, soup, or leftovers from dinner the night before.

Whatever you do, give your body some good fuel to start your day.

So now you have heard what my favorite morning rituals are, now it’s your turn to contemplate and decide what works for you.

Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

Stretches in Bed – Start Your Day the YOGA Way

stretches in bed knees to chest

Stretches in bed? Getting out of bed some mornings can be a little challenging I know. Perhaps your body is stiff and you just want a few more minutes to rest your aching bones.

Well, you go right ahead and stay there for just a few more minutes. Yep, stay there and do some morning stretches right in the comfort of your own bed.

I’m going to show you eight different exercises and stretches that will help alleviate some of that stiffness and get your blood flowing. You’ll be able to pop out of bed energized and ready for your day.

Feel free to do the exercises in whatever order you choose, however, I do recommend starting with a full-body stretch.

Morning stretches in bed

Full body stretch

  • Kick off the covers and stretch your arms overhead. (You may need to scoot down in your bed to give you room). Reach down with your feet at the same time to feel your WHOLE body stretching. Take a few deep breaths

BENEFITS

  • Increases circulation and awareness of your body
  • Stretches your arms, back, neck, legs, and feet.

Knees to chest

This pose is also referred to as a wind-relieving pose or Energy freeing Pose. Yep, wind-relieving.

Believe me, I’m a yoga instructor and it’s not a complete yoga class unless someone “relieves some wind”.  It doesn’t always happen but frequently. No biggie! 

We got to let go of that gas somehow. So if you do relieve some WIND, embrace it and count it as a good thing, especially first thing in the morning. Ok. Now on a more serious note.

  • Bring one knee at a time towards your chest. Take your arms around your legs and give yourself a big hug. (This may be your first and only hug, so make it a good one)!
  • Rounding the spine, bring your forehead towards your knees.
  • Rock side to side to massage out the back.

BENEFITS

  • Stretches the body
  • Eases Tension in the lower back
  • Easy to do
  • Massage the abdominal organs
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Reduces bloating
  • Rebalances your energy
  • Reduce the hip fat
  • Relaxes the mind and body
  • The best pose to relieve gas

Spinal Twist

  • With your knees still drawn towards your chest, let both knees drop over to one side.
  • Take the arms straight out to the side, like the letter “T”.
  • Turn your head in the opposite direction of your knees.
  • Stay there for several deep breaths.
  • Repeat on the other side

BENEFITS

  • Stretches the IT band, glutes, lower back, abs, chest, shoulders, and neck
  • Improves spinal mobility
  • Relieves compression at the lower back
  • Relaxes the body and quiets the mind
  • Relieves stress

Feet to the sky, ankle circles

  • Lying on your back, lift your legs up so your feet are directly over your hips. Your knees can be bent.
  • Circle your ankles several times in one direction and then change directions.
  • Point and flex your feet a few times.

BENEFITS

  • Moves any stuck or stagnant fluids that have accumulated in the feet.
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Increases circulation and flexibility of ankles and feet
  • Soothing to the low back

Hip Circles

  • Lying on your back, bend both knees and place feet on the mattress.
  • Take one knee towards your chest and then pull your knee over to the opposite side. (It won’t go very far). You should feel a stretch in the outer side of the leg (IT band).
  • Now let the knee drop open away from the body. Move the knee back and forth a few times.
  • Starting with the knee towards the chest, allow the knee to drop out to the side and then slide your foot away from you, straightening the leg out.
  • Bring the knee up towards your chest, slightly rolling to that side, making a complete circle.
  • Do two circles on each side.

 

Sit-ups

My dear friend who just turned 100 years old this month, shared with me that she does 10-15 sit-ups every morning before getting out of bed.

This amazing woman still lives alone, still cooks her own meals, AND exercises every day. She does “Sit and Be Fit” from the television three times a week and always ends each session with the chair yoga sun salutations.  On the other days, she does chair yoga.

So if June can do a sit-up at 100 years old, I think we can at least try. She said to me one day “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it”. She is so RIGHT! (More about June coming up).

If you haven’t done a sit-up in a while, most likely it’s going to be a little difficult or maybe even impossible. NO WORRIES! You can work up to it.

  • If it’s been a while, start in a seated position.
  • Hold behind your legs for support and start to roll slowly down to a reclined position.
  • Then roll back up. (Hold behind the legs if you need to. If that is still too challenging, only roll down halfway).
  • If that is too easy, let go of your legs and do full sit-ups.
  • Wanting more of a challenge? Cross your arms over your chest and then do your sit-ups.
  • Do 10-15 reps in the thought of JUNE. More or less depends on your ability and desire.

BENEFITS

  • Obviously, improves core strength
  • Improve hip flexor strength
  • Increase flexibility
  • Help lose tummy fat
  • Tone the ab area
  • Improve posture

Wrist circles

  • Reach your arms up over your chest and simply make several circles with your wrists.
  • Change directions.
  • Do several reps.
  • Make a tight fist and then spread your fingers out as far as they’ll go. Open and closed several times.

BENEFITS

  • Improves circulation
  • Increases mobility
  • Reclined Pigeon Pose

Reclined Pigeon Pose

This pose is also referred to as the Eye of the Needle pose. It is a great alternative to an upright pigeon pose, which can be very stressful on the knees and hips.

  • While on your back and with bent knees, take one foot and place it top of the other thigh. (Just above the knee).
  • Flex the foot that is on the leg.
  • That may be enough stretch for some. If not, gently press the knee away from you to increase the hip stretch.
  • If that is still not giving you the stretch you want: reach your hands behind the leg that is underneath, and pull your leg towards you. (This will increase the stretch in your gluteal muscles).
  • Hold for a few breaths and repeat on the other side.

BENEFITS

Releases tension in the muscles of the lower back, hips, and hamstrings.

Opens the hips and reduces the symptoms of sciatica.

Enhances blood flow in the lower back

***CONTRAINDICATIONS***

Those suffering from knee injuries or sacroiliac conditions should avoid practicing this pose. If you experience tingling, numbness, or pain in your hips, legs, or lower back, immediately stop.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes and do a few stretches in bed. Trust me, you’ll feel better if you do!

More resources for yoga and stretching

Office yoga

Exercise That Anyone Can Do

Tension Release For Neck & Shoulders

Chair Yoga DVD

Jan Howell Yoga YouTube Station

Start your day the yoga way!

 

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Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More