More often than not, your morning dictates the rest of your day and mindset. Your mindset dictates your behavior, and behavior dictates you. How, then, can you make sure your morning aligns with what you want for the rest of your day?
The foundation for a healthy life begins in your morning practice; the way you begin your day profoundly sets up the way the rest of your day unfolds. By kick-starting your day in the direction you want to follow, you allow yourself to set the tone for the rest of your day.
The start of each day offers us many directions to go in. By incorporating practices into our morning routines, we often find that the day can unfold with intent and well-being. Below, learn more about adding practices to your day and one morning ritual, in particular, you can easily implement to get you started.
The Power of Practice
We often confuse routines for practices.
A routine is predictable and patterned. Routines allow us to go on with our day to day without much thought; they help get us out the door quickly, allow for more flexibility and optimization, and cut down on the time it takes to finish repetitive tasks.
Routines are delicate, though. When our morning begins in a new place, for example, we may not be able to go through the usual motions—typical processes are no longer triggered and dependable patterns now feel vulnerable. Those carefully constructed patterns may now feel damaged, even broken.
Practices, on the other hand, are activities you do regularly, but perhaps not every day or at the same time. A practice isn’t rigid and doesn’t follow a strict schedule; it does, however, help to reset, reorganize, and refocus.
Routines can often be violated by unavoidable, outside circumstances. Practices, though, are flexible. They are a lifelong activity you can return to time and again to recenter and better yourself.
The Morning Practice
Your mornings won’t always look the same. Depending on any number of external variables, the morning routines you have in place now may not exist in a decade or even six months.
Your morning practice, however, can stay the same, regardless of those circumstances. A particularly impactful morning practice is one of stillness and solitude, which can look like many different things.
Maybe that means 1-20 minutes of meditation immediately upon waking; perhaps that looks like a 5-30-minute walk outside before the rest of the world wakes. It could mean journaling for 5-15 minutes or reading for ten minutes or one hour. Regardless of which one you choose, these practices provide an initial calm to your day. They allow you to slowly integrate into the world and choose how you would like to proceed with the day ahead.
Drinking Water First Thing In The Morning
Another healthful practice you can use as a successful determinant for the rest of your day is setting aside a few moments to quietly sip water.
Water itself is cleansing. It’s constantly moving impurities out of our system. When our blood sugar runs high, for instance, we drink water to flush the excess glucose from the blood. Similarly, warm water upon waking helps to flush out anything our body no longer needs.
While we are deep in restorative sleep, our organs are flushing out their own waste. They process what happens during the day; the metabolic waste generated ends up in the lymphatic system. We can aid the lymphatic system as soon as we wake by drinking a 10-ounce glass of warm or room temperature water.
There are many claims to the particular health benefits of drinking warm water (as opposed to cold), like aiding in better digestion. But quite simply, warmer water first thing in the morning can be very soothing. It’s not as abrupt or alarming as cold water first thing, and can be a calming way to ease into your day.
If you prefer your water cold, however, that works just as well. Water is water—ultimately, you want to practice having it first (before coffee, working out, eating breakfast), so that it can properly aid in the flushing out, rehydration, and renewal of your system.
We can go further to boost the benefits of water by adding lemon juice to it. On an empty stomach, the acid found in lemons is much easier for the stomach to absorb and can assist in digestion. Additionally, juice from half of a lemon contains almost 20% of your daily vitamin C requirement, plus small amounts of potassium and some of the B vitamins. Not to mention, the citrus taste of lemon can add a pleasant zest to your water, which may make it more drinkable for you.
One thing to note before getting started on your morning practice: lemon water can contain enough acid to soften tooth enamel. Avoid brushing your teeth right after drinking your water, as the combination of acid from the lemon and mild abrasives in toothpaste can harm tooth enamel. If possible, try drinking your lemon water with a straw so that the acid doesn’t impact your tooth enamel as easily. After drinking lemon water, swish your mouth out with fresh water before brushing your teeth.
If lemon is too citrusy or acidic for your tastes, there are other flavors to choose from. Adding lavender to your warm water promotes calm; cucumber water has micronutrient and antioxidant properties. There are plenty of plants, flowers, and fruits to choose from for added health benefits and that extra burst of flavor.
Whatever you choose—warm or cold water, lemon or lavender—let this hydration technique early in the morning become a new, daily practice. This one simple practice, done regularly, can have a powerful impact on wellness and serve as a valuable starting point for the rest of your day.
This article has been clinically reviewed by Jamillah Hoy-Rosas, MPH, RDN, CDCES, and VP of clinical operations at One Drop, and Dr. Harpreet Nagra, PhD, VP, behavior science and advanced technologies at One Drop.