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)
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🖐🏻 ME . 👥 I’ve had quite a few new followers recently, so thought I’d say ‘Hi’ . 👩🦳 I’m Hollie Grant (well, technically Hollie Gordon since getting married). I’m 33, wife to @stugordon100 and mother to my unutterably adorable daughter Freya . 💪🏻 I’m a highly experienced Personal Trainer and Advanced Pilates instructor, and also a small business owner; I own and run Pilates PT Ltd, with two London based @tatlermagazine award-winning Pilates studios, where my incredible team of master trainers and I teach our amazing clients. Shout out to @pilatesbycharlie @victoria__roper @roccabody @lucyppilates @nylonpilates @vassford @kirilouisefitness. . 🙏🏻 My mission, for the past decade, has been and always will be twofold: . 1️⃣ Spread the word of Pilates and it’s enormous array of whole body benefits; I truly believe it is the most incredible exercise methodology...period! 2️⃣ To empower women to love exercise, no matter their body shape, fitness level, or motivation, and to encourage women to exercise for the vast array of NON-AESTHETIC benefits it affords you! . 🥘I don’t believe in dieting: I eat anything and everything and do my best to intuitively eat. As far as I’m concerned, everything in moderation . 💧 I don’t believe in faddy exercise regimes, or fitness professionals who mask calorie restricted meal plans with unnecessarily intense exercise. I believe in exercise habit change for life, rather than for short term weight loss . 🗣 The way that I spread the word of my mission is varied; 🔹in studio 🔸on my social media 🔹Through my online plan (The Pilates PT Method Online™️) 🔸 On my podcast (The Strong Women Podcast - soon to return) 🔹 My Instructor Workshop series with @victoria__roper. 🔸 In ANY media requests I receive 🔹In ANY brand collabs I participate in . 🙋🏼♀️ My dream is to build a brand in Pilates PT that genuinely impacts as many women (and men) as possible; a brand that is known to not prey on insecurities, a brand that couldn’t care less what you look like, and a brand that cares more about your happiness than your bodyfat % . 🤷🏼♀️ Who’s with me? . 📸 @lydiaxcollins
“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)
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Groceries & #covid19. Should we all be disinfecting our food?! . In a nutshell, no, there’s currently no good evidence to suggest transmission through food is one of the major routes. 👥 It’s much more about who you’re in contact with - so please stay safe at home. But there are sensible things you can do when it comes to food: 🔸Wash your hands before eating, and before, during and after cooking. 🔸Keep your kitchen benches clean, spray down between food preparation. 🔸 Cooking at 63c+ for at least 4minutes means the food reaches a high enough temperature to destroy most of the covid virus according to France’s health and safety agency. 🔸If you’re worried, stick to cooking through (but there’s no official advice saying you need to eat everything ‘well done’). 🔸For things you eat raw, like fruit and salad, wash thoroughly (NOT with detergent or soap, as these haven't been approved for food and could do more harm than good!). Or of course just peel things in natural wrappers, like bananas. It’s about being sensible. There’s no need to get really obsessive or go to extreme lengths - that can create even more anxiety and being super stressed can also have a negative impact on your health and immune system. ⚠️ And please don’t bleach your food! Eating bleach isn’t good for anyone. And don’t worry about the hand sanitiser for your gut - 'just don’t drink it' - the wise words of @drjoshuawolrich who I chatted with (over some breakfast of fermented overnight oats 😉) about #covid19 last week- it was great to have so many of you join in!
“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)
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What a week it’s been. It’s been absolutely incredible 😀 I’ve had so much fun. I hope you have enjoyed the workouts too. 13 million views in 5 days. Thank you for all your shares ❤️🙏🏼🌏 Couldn’t have had this impact with you. See you Monday-Friday next week at 9am 😊 #fitness #workout #pewithjoe
“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 your 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)
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HOW TO TRAIN YOUR BRAIN 🧠 As we settle into self-isolation, it’s never been so important to LOOK AFTER YOUR MENTAL HEALTH. Let's start thinking about resilience and peak brain performance in these testing times, not just working up a sweat! . We all want our brains to brave any challenge and this week's Food For Thought podcast (link in my stories) explores how everything most people want from life - health, happiness, wealth, love - are all governed by our ability to think, feel and act - our brain! 🤓 Perhaps you're keen to learn something new, maintain a fitness routine or launch a new business, Neuroscientist @DrTaraSwart explains how we can all harness the power of your brain to reach any goals 🙌🏻 . I absolutely loved recording this episode, understanding how to unlock our potential with both food and science, and realising that THIS IS YOUR TIME TO SPRING CLEAN YOUR BRAIN. Go and have a listen to the podcast and here’s four simple steps to get you started! . CLEAR DISTRACTION ☁️ Clear any mess at home, your desktop, unsubscribe to relentless emails and unfollow anyone making your feel down. Regain a sense of control and set aside as little as 15mins a day to strategise or practice mindfulness, whatever you can without distraction . POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS 👍🏻 Every time you drift toward “You’ll never get this right” or “You don’t deserve this” know they haunt us because their habituated. The more you repeat a positive affirmation, the closer you will be to abundant thinking (the evidence-based antidote to negative beliefs) . MAKE SPACE FOR NEW THINKING 💭 Focusing on new desired habits, our brain map grows - it's called neuroplasticity making it more efficient. Aerobic exercise (oxygen and endorphins release to clear the mind), new life experiences, quality sleep and a healthy diet all help the growth of new brain cells . RETHINK YOUR LANDSCAPE 🌳 Treat your mind as you would do your dream home and you’ll have better focus, sharper memory and better motivation. Don’t infest it with stress and bitterness! It’s everyday care to basic housekeeping that keeps us optimised and ready to take on more challenges to be better. . #Rhitrition #BrainHealth #MentalHealth
“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.”