We crave routine. It helps us function, it makes us feel good; it is an essential aspect to starting your morning right.
For any who walk that hallowed path of the entrepreneur, routine can often be hard to find. Days are long and unpredictable, full of surprises and headaches and endless work.
With your time as crunched and uncertain as it is, it is even more vital to establish a strong morning routine, to ground yourself, but also to set yourself up for a day filled with productivity and success.
I find that the morning is one of the best times to accomplish things. Simply kicking my legs out of my bed when the alarm first goes off makes me feel primed and ready, if not a little bleary-eyed.
Now, everyone works a little differently, that’s true, but here’s a routine you can look at as an inspiration toward your own. This is not the end all be all, by any means, nor is this the best routine out there, it’s just one good, solid, 24-minute-long option.
#1 Brush Your Teeth
The best thing to do right when you roll out of bed is to brush your teeth.
Have you ever heard that saliva has healing powers? Well, it does. Saliva is full of antibacterial properties that not only keep your mouth healthy, but also help oral wounds heal quicker.
While you sleep, your mouth produces less saliva; it dries out and also grows bacteria overnight. Brushing your teeth gets rid of that bacteria, while also reintroducing water to your mouth, which essentially rehydrates it from your night.
And, as long as you’re at the sink anyway, I always like splashing a little cold water on my face. This feels especially good on mornings that are hard to leave my bed.
The cold water helps wake you up and makes you feel clean and refreshed. This only takes two minutes out of your morning, and it helps your mouth wake up, and make it productive morning.
Everyone knows that general daily hydration is a vital aspect to good health. In keeping with that, starting your morning with a tall glass of water is incredibly good for you.
The biggest thing that this does on a biological level is that it rehydrates your body. Just like your mouth dries out overnight, so does your body. Blood flow slows with your reduced heart rate when you’re asleep.
Starting off your morning with a glass of water on an empty stomach reintroduces water to your system, and gets your organs running again, faster than they would normally.
Drinking your early-morning glass of water does a bunch of other things, like improving brain function and your immunity system, removing toxins, and it may even help you with losing weight.
Plus, a glass of water after you brush your teeth allows for a blast of freezing cold minty freshness. It’s an easy way to refresh yourself, and it doesn’t take more than a minute.
Meditation gets a lot of flak as being this impossible task reserved solely for robed and shaven monks who have taken a solemn vow of silence.
In reality, mediation is an aspect of yoga that shifts in its capacity person-to-person. Good meditation doesn’t have time limitations or instruction, nor does it require you to sit cross-legged while you mutter “om” relentlessly.
Meditation is simply the clearing of your mind; the act of merely existing, consciously unconscious. You can meditate for about nine minutes in the morning; and you can perform the act by lying on your back on a mat with your head propped up and your eyes softly shut, or sitting cross-legged with your hands folded in your lap.
The key is to keep your body relaxed and comfortable, and to focus on your breathing. The reason people are often seen meditating while muttering “om” is that the word acts as a thing for the mind to focus on so that it can neglect other distractions.
An alternative method is to count your breathing. Take a slow, deep breath. As you breath in, count “one, two, three, four, five,” then hold for another five seconds, then release for five seconds. By focusing on the numbers, you allow your mind to retain singular focus.
Allow thoughts to enter your consciousness and then dismiss them. It is an empowering feeling.
After you’re done meditating, you don’t even have to move, just spend five or so minutes focusing on the day.
Come out of your thoughtlessness and think, task by task, establishing everything you have to accomplish and figuring out, mentally, how to accomplish these things.
This allows you to naturally prioritize your day, while also reducing underlying stress about accomplishing everything you need to accomplish because, if you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve got a lot to do.
This brings activity-focused clarity to your mind; a good way to follow the freeing flow of thoughtlessness that is meditation.
Everyone knows that exercise is good for you. And this should not be the only exercise you do.
But in those early mornings, getting your body moving for just five minutes, getting your heart beating and your lungs pumping, will help to wake you up, and help you feel refreshed and ready for the day.
There are plenty of apps out there that have timed workouts that can help you out, but you don’t really need one. Of course, they are helpful, just not always necessary.
Roll out of bed and do several sets of pushups and planks, crunches and situps. If you feel like it, you could even dash outside for a quick two-minute jog in your parking lot or driveway.
It might not sound appealing, but it will make you feel good, trust me.
Taking just a couple of minutes every morning to stretch can be tremendously helpful. Not only will it keep you limber, especially if you’re preparing for a day at a desk, it will help to lower your risk of injury.
Stretch your back, your neck (carefully; there is a right and a wrong way to stretch your neck; an injury here could be debilitating, so any neck-stretching you do, just be cautious), your arms and shoulders and chest, your legs, calves, and hamstrings.
Yoga feeds into this quite well, and doesn’t have to be formal. A couple of yoga moves can be blended into a three-five minute long routine that accomplishes minimal but powerful full body stretching.
That’s it. Six steps that can take less than a half hour. By the end of this routine, you won’t have to worry about uncontrollable exhaustion; your mind and body will be primed and excited for a day of successful and productive work.
Your mornings indicate how well your day will go. Take control of your mornings, and you’ll take control of your days.
I’m a personal trainer based in Denver (Matrix Gym) and a true fitness nerd. If I’m not training clients or working out at my home gym, I’m probably skiing, cycling or hiking with my dog Rufus.
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