Especially after daylight savings rolls around and we turn our clocks back an hour, waking up in the morning can be a serious challenge. With fewer hours of sunlight each day in the winter season, it’s far too easy to hit the snooze button an extra time and skimp on self-care first thing in the morning. However, your morning routine affects how you will think and feel during the rest of the day, which makes your earliest actions even more crucial at this time of year. Here are some healthy morning habits and routines to try for yourself to promote wintertime wellness.
Let the Natural Light In
The human body naturally prefers to rise with the sun, so if your schedule allows, plan to wake up with the sunrise. Consider opening your blinds or curtains up a little before you go to sleep so that the natural light will help awaken your body. It is much easier to wake up this way rather than in a dark room that makes you want to pull the covers over your head and hit the snooze button.
Stretch Your Body
After lying still all night, your body needs to stretch first thing in the morning to awaken your muscles and joints, as well as to prevent possible injuries. As you sit up in bed, try doing a forward fold over your legs and then extending your arms high into the air. Bend from side to side while in a seated position and do a couple easy twists to stretch your core. Once you get out of bed, consider doing at least 10-15 minutes of yoga to stretch and strengthen your muscles in preparation for the day ahead. Sun salutations are a great yoga exercise to do to welcome the day and stretch your body from head to toe.
Sip Some Herbal Tea
There are few things more comforting than sipping hot tea on a cold winter’s morning. Since caffeinated and sugary beverages initially wake you up but often lead to a subsequent crash, try drinking an herbal tea that contains no caffeine or artificial ingredients. Peppermint tea is a great choice for the morning because its flavor is invigorating without all the unwanted additives your body doesn’t need. Squeeze a little lemon and a few drops of honey in your tea for extra flavor and health benefits.
Write a Page in a Journal
It’s also important to stimulate the mind first thing in the morning and to set an intention for your day. Many of us rush out the door in the morning without giving intentions and gratitude a second thought. But with the winter holiday season right around the corners, now is a great time to start building a journaling practice into your morning routine. Set an initial goal to fill one page per morning in your journal, and you can fill that page with whatever you like. This is a great place to jot down notes about a dream you had, make a to-do list for your day, write a few lines about something you’re thankful for, or just observe the sights and sounds around you.
Get Some Morning Sunshine
Getting enough vitamin D during the winter can be a challenge for people in many parts of the world, but the human body craves sunshine for mental health and immune system functioning. Even on cold winter days, bundle up to get a bit of sunshine and exercise to start your day. This could involve taking your dog for a walk, going for a light jog around the block, or simply opening the door and letting the brisk air reach your lungs and the sunshine hit your face.
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Before you leave the house for work, school, or errands, make sure to fuel your body with healthy foods to set a precedent for healthy eating all day long. If you skip this routine and head to the fast food drive-through or local doughnut shop instead, you’ll be more inclined to make unhealthy food choices later in the day as well for lunch, dinner, and snacks. A hearty bowl of oatmeal, an energizing smoothie with pomegranate and berries, or a glass of carrot juice can boost your metabolism and help you make better choices throughout the winter days.