As the year continues to surge forward (can you believe it's April already?), it's safe to say we're all feeling the effects of a very busy 2017. We can't physically slow down time for you, but we can at least offer some guidance to help you find moments of relief amid the chaos. The first step toward having a happier (and more productive) day is to create a morning routine—it sets the tone for the entire day. And the best time to start is at golden hour, before 7 a.m. when everything is still and quiet. Here, you can realistically seek a moment of clarity before you're pulled back into the inbox vortex.
If being an early riser doesn't come naturally to you, then don't put too much stress on yourself. Just start small—even 10 minutes earlier will help. If you get up at the crack of dawn on your first day, you won't stick to it. So set reasonable expectations and incorporate a few small healthy practices into your morning routine every day. To get you started, here are a few things healthy, fit people do before 7 a.m. every day.
They Practice "Beditation"
We all know about the benefits of meditation, but for those of us who can't ever find the time, or just can't sit still long enough, celebrity wellness maven, birth doula, and the founder of Mama Glow (she's helped everyone from to Alicia Keys to Serena Williams), Latham Thomas, has a simple answer: beditation. "Each morning I start the day off with mindfulness," Thomas says. "I rise up around 5:45 a.m., sit on my soft carpet and Samaya meditation cushion. … I do some light movement and take a few minutes to meditate. … Sometimes when I am slow moving I will do a 'beditation,' where I lie on the bed after it's made and check in with my body and breath. I sit back down on the edge of my bed, and I say a mantra out loud, right now it's this one:
I create my own reality, today and every day
I define my own success and my own limits
I am thankful for this day and this life."
Sadie Lincoln, founder of Barre3, also swears by meditation first thing in the morning. "I recently started a 15-minute morning meditation ritual," she said. "To make it happen, I get up before my family stirs. My meditation is relatively simple. I sit with my back supported and head free, and I repeat a one-word mantra for 15 minutes. I finish by simply being present and thinking about what I am grateful for. This is a huge change for me because, for years, I would brew a massive cup of tea first thing after waking up and then, with mind busy and heart rate high, I would dive into being a parent, wife, and business owner. I am amazed how much more productive, clear-headed, and happy I am after adopting this routine."
They Set Their Intentions
If you've been feeling frantic and unorganized lately, then it might be time to take a few moments each morning to set your intentions for the day. This vital first step helps Danielle DuBoise, co-founder of Sakara Life, to achieve focus and clarity. "I always set my intention for the day when I wake up," she told MyDomaine. "So adding a part about spreading love in the world through each being I come in contact with will help turn my thoughts into action."
They Check in With Their Goals
While we've spoken about the importance of writing your goals to achieve success, how often do you check in with them? Olympic swimmer and seven-time gold medalist James Magnussen told MyDomaine that assessing them daily helps him stay on track and achieve them. "I think about my goals when I wake up and what I have to do that day," he said. "Then, at the end of the day, I do a recap and think about what I did well and what I could have improved. Athletes can become solely focused on long-term goals and lose sight of what they have to do each day in order to achieve those goals."
Mother of two and founder of her popular lifestyle site Camille Styles also agrees with Magnussen and makes it a habit every morning. "I have two kids under the age of 3, so early morning, before everyone else wakes up, is a rare moment of peace and solitude," she said. "I always try to write one or two notes to friends, take a few minutes to pray, and look over my goals for the day. I'm also a strong supporter in #butfirstcoffee."
They Swap Coffee for Superfood Lattes
Okay, we get it, ditching coffee sounds like a bad idea when you're trying to wake up earlier, but hear us out. While it might seem like an energy fix, turns out, the caffeine-charged beverage could be the reason you're tired all the time—try these nutrient-dense beverages instead. Claire Tregoning, co-founder of P.E Nation, told MyDomaine she replaced her coffee with matcha. "[The first thing I do each day is] wake up when my kids come and get in bed with me, usually around 5:45 a.m., then we all lie there until 6:30," she says. "Everyone gets a super smoothie, I make myself a matcha tea in a flask, get the kids dressed and out the door at 8 a.m. for daycare drop-off. After that, I do phone calls and catch up on WhatsApp updates on the way to work."
Re-Hydrate in Style
They Wake Up to Natural Light
While we've been told excess light can negatively impact our quality of sleep, in an interview with MyDomaine, Meg He co-founder of popular athleisure brand Aday, said she swears by natural light to wake her up each day. "[The first thing I do in the morning is] wake up with the sunrise—no curtains!" says He. "Optional: Work out. I’m easy in the mornings. I either go for a run, do my Kayla [Itsines workout], or go to ConBody. I usually play Audible’s New York Times daily digest while I brush my teeth (I have a separate electronic toothbrush by the sink and in the shower)."
They Ditch Technology
Jordan Younger, founder of The Balanced Blonde and author of best-selling book Breaking Vegan, told MyDomaine, "First, my rule is absolutely no phone until about 20 to 30 minutes after I wake up. When my alarm goes off, I cuddle with my kitten. You'd be surprised how grounding it is to start the day by giving your full attention to such a loving little being. No technology, no distractions, no human weirdness. Then I get out of bed and do some stretching and meditation on my yoga mat. I set intentions for my day and do a few heart openers. This works wonders with getting me in the right headspace for the day, keeping me calm and reminding myself what is truly important.
"Then I make a glass of warm water with lemon, followed by an aloe, coconut kefir, cayenne detox drink that I have every morning. Then a green smoothie. Boom! Then it's usually either writing time or workout time."
They Drink Lemon Water
If there's one daily routine we've all read about, it's the health benefits of drinking lemon water. But there's a reason why this simple beverage is on most healthy people's must-drink list. "Lemon is packed with vitamin C, which can help boost the immune system,” says Amy Myers, doctor, and author of The Autoimmune Solution. Not only that, it’s also "very high in bioflavonoids that destroy harmful free radicals that damage blood vessels and cause inflammation," osteopath Vicky Vlachonis tells Health.
They Recite Positive Affirmations
When it comes to morning routines, Jessica Sepel has it nailed. The Australian nutritionist, wellness coach, and founder of JSHealth doesn’t look at her phone until she starts working, practices gratitude, and prepares breakfast at home. But it's the part she does before 7 a.m. that has us intrigued. "Deep belly breaths with positive affirmations," she told MyDomaine Australia. "This works absolute magic for me. I love taking a few minutes when I first wake up to center myself. Giving some gratitude and setting positive intentions for the day puts me into the right frame of mind from the start. Before I even get out of bed I set five positive affirmations, such as 'I love and accept myself for who I am' and 'I am good enough.'"
They Jump Out of Bed and Get Going
If there's one thing all of these healthy people don't do each morning, it's hit the snooze button. Celebrity personal trainer Lacey Stone is definitely anti-snooze. "I’m very organized in the morning because I wake up so early," she said. "I like to have everything ready to jet out the door. When I wake up to my alarm, I jump out of bed because the longer I lie in bed the more I worry about what I have to accomplish that day. If I jump up, I get right into making it happen. Out of my head and into my body."
How do you kick-start your day? What keeps you motivated to live a healthy lifestyle?