Get off to a good start: Tips from wellbeing experts on how best to begin your day
A good morning routine can set you up for the day - but where to start? Liz Connor finds out how wellness pros approach it
MORNINGS can be rough at the best of times, but when it feels as though the days all roll into one – with no weekend plans or evenings out to break things up – it can be all too easy to nudge your alarm later and later and drift through the weeks in a unproductive haze.
Even if you start off with good intentions, digital distractions and a lack of proper routine can make it difficult to focus.
That's where having a strategy comes in helpful. Wellbeing pros say often say mornings are our 'power hour' – that golden period of time where we can harness our natural energy and gently bring our minds on board to the challenges of the day. But where to start?
Here, wellness experts share their morning self-care, nutrition and productivity tips for making this most of the start to the day – no additional caffeine needed...
1. Hollie Grant, founder of Pilates PT (pilatespt.co.uk)
"I've had years of experience of working from home, so my best advice for a productive start is to get outside each morning for a walk. Even if you just walk around the block or put your trainers on and go for a jog, try to get some fresh air before you start your working day.
"It feels amazing to get moving, to get some much needed Vitamin D from the sunlight and it blows away the cobwebs of the previous day. I take my dog out for gentle stroll, whether rain or shine, and I've never regretted it."
2. Dr Megan Rossi, registered dietitian and nutritionist with a PhD in gut health (theguthealthdoctor.com)
"I eat kefir every morning. I'm a big fan and it's super easy to make. We don't have lots of clinical studies to suggest fermented foods and live cultures are good for our health, but we have some test tube studies to suggest there our benefits for our gut – plus our ancestors ate them for thousands of years.
"Gut health is an area people have just started to catch on to, but we've known for quite some time that it's key for overall good health. Foods like live yogurts and kimchi are great too, and I think we should all be trying to add them into our diet. Not only could they have health benefits but they're really tasty too."
3. Alice Liveing, personal trainer, author and Give Me Strength podcast host (alice-liveing.co.uk)
"My morning's are my favourite time of the day during lockdown. To keep myself sane I've found I've needed to set a fairly structured routine. I get up every day at 6am and sit catching up on the news with my coffee. Once I've had my caffeine hit, I then get ready to train (I do an hour of exercise, four days a week) and this helps me to properly wake up and ready myself for the day ahead.
"I then teach a live class on Instagram at 8.30am, before sitting down to breakfast and emails at 9.30am. It might be a bit regimented for some but I feel setting time goals gives me the most motivation to be productive whilst working from home."
4. Joe Wicks, personal trainer, presenter and author (thebodycoach.com)
"My tip is to get your exercise done first thing in the morning: 9am is a good time to start the day with movement, which is when I've been streaming my daily 'PE with Joe' workouts on YouTube.
"Early-morning exercise gives you routine, lifts your attention span and gets your more focused on what you're doing. The consistency for me is important. I feel better for exercising in the morning. Once you've done a workout and you've physically pushed your body, I think everything seems like you can physically take it in your stride a bit more."
5. Sasha Sabapathy, founder of Glow Bar (glowbarldn.com)
"Motivating yourself first thing in the morning during a time where it's almost impossible to have a routine or bigger purpose is incredibly hard. The one thing I've found that's helped me is to set my alarm early and not allow myself to hit snooze. I set my alarm every morning for 7.15 am, which is the same as I did pre-lockdown.
"I make my matcha latte, walk my dog, check my emails and listen to the news. I have a call every morning with a few members of my team at 10am, when I naturally would have sat down with them to go over the day's and week's tasks if we were at the office. I've found this really simple routine helps make my mornings more productive, more purposeful and more energised."
6. Rhiannon Lambert, author and registered nutritionist (rhitrition.com)
"I like to start my day off with a nutritionally balanced breakfast, which helps keep me going until lunchtime. At the moment, I'm loving yogurt with nut butter, berries and oats. I have a newborn but I'm still checking in with my team; this really helps us keep our motivation high and set out our goals.
"Mid-morning, I always try to get half an hour or so of exercise – post-birth I need to be careful – but I love going for a walk. The movement really does lift your mood."