Dr. Zen's Morning Routine
Many people will ask me “What is the one thing I can do that will make the biggest impact on my health?”
Truth is, out of everything I could talk about, including vitamins, nutrients, dietary choices, lifestyle modifications, exercise, or even cleaning living, the one simplest, but, most powerful thing you can do for your health is mastering your morning routine.
This is obviously easier said than done. So today, I thought I would share with you my morning routine and how I came about finding my perfect routine. I also want to share a few tips to help you build a morning routine that is just right for you.
Why is a Morning Routine so Important?
Creating your morning routine allows you to automatically set up your health for success with limited effort. Waking up early gives you the time you need to focus on your goals, your intentions, your health and your movement, allowing you to conquer the rest of your day with more energy, mindfulness and strength.
What My Morning Looks Like
I have always been a big fan of routines, but it wasn’t until I started perfecting my morning routine, that I was really able to reap the health and wellness benefits. There are four many pillars to my morning routine: Intention, Breathing, Movement, and Nourishment.
Each morning my alarm goes off at 5:15am. I have intentionally set my alarm to sound like birds chirping in the early morning. This sound is soothing and relaxing and helps me wake up my body and mind. I don’t press the snooze button a million times, instead, I give my body a big stretch and I say one thing I am grateful for before getting out of bed. I take a moment to also set an intention for the upcoming day. Sometimes I will simply use a word, for example, patience, while other days, I will have a detailed intention I would like to set for a particular situation or scenario I will be facing that day.
Once I have gotten out of bed, I go straight to the kitchen to drink a 16oz glass of cold filtered water. This helps me feel refreshed and re-hydrates my body after a long night. After my refreshing drink, I begin some cleansing breaths. I have done a variety of breath work over the years and I like to change it up every morning. One of my favorite breathing exercises is an ancient ayurvedic technique known as Anuloma Viloma (Alternate Nostril Breathing). This technique takes a little practice but helps those with busy minds find some focus and clarity. I try to do a breathing exercise for 3-5 minutes.
It wasn’t until we brought home our sweet rescued puppy Lula, that I realized the power of morning movement. I was a ballet dancer growing up and always had practices in the evening. I was used to working out at night and for a long time, I told myself I wasn’t awake enough in the morning to get a “true” workout. It wasn’t until I was forced in to waking up early to take my sweet Lula on a walk, that I realized I actually needed the walk just as much as she did. I realized that if I gave myself 20-30 minutes to get outside and have the morning sun touch my skin, I was more alert and felt better clarity for the rest of the day. This wasn’t just a phenomena I had, research has actually shown that exposing our body to morning sunlight within the first 30 minutes of waking up, can help optimize your hormones and your internal clock known as your circadian rhythm.
Creating my morning shake was a complete game changer for me. I was now able to get the proper nutrition even when I had limited time. I was able to load up on key nutrients including vitamins, minerals, anti- inflammatory fats, protein and fiber to help me stay sharp for the rest of my day. Prior to starting my morning shakes, I was totally guilty of eating highly processed, simple carbohydrate meals, like bagels and cereals. I would crash at 10am and feel so hungry that I needed another meal. Truth is, when I started getting the adequate nutrition first thing in the morning, I no longer crashed at 10am and I felt ready to take on the busy day I had ahead of me.
Ways to Master Your Morning
Start by slowly turning back your alarm clock in fifteen minute intervals.
Make it fun
Keep your morning routine fun and something you look forward to. This will help encourage you to get out of bed.
Get outside as much as possible.
Connecting with nature can be one of the most healing things we can do, especially in the techy world we live in.
Don’t scroll through social media in bed!
The artificial light emitted by our phones can negatively impact our circadian rhythm. It also means if you are scrolling through social media in the morning, you definitely have time for setting an intention and going through a few breathing exercises
Limit your To-Dos in the AM.
If you are responsible for getting the kids ready for school and worry that there is no way you can manage adding a morning routine to your morning chaos, do yourself a favor and maximize your to- dos the night before. Set out all their outfits, pack their lunches and prep their breakfast to limit the chaos.
Having trouble with your health? At NMD Wellness of Scottsdale, we offer personalized integrative solutions for all your hormone and fertility needs.
Dr. Zen is a licensed naturopathic physician specializing in Women's Hormones and Fertility. Her local private practice is located in Scottsdale, Arizona, however, she works with patients around the world. Her goal is to educate, inspire and empower women to take control of their health naturally. She believes in providing integrative healthcare options that get to the root cause of your unique symptoms. She has been featured as an expert in a variety of publications including Shape, Elite Daily and Forbes.
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