13 Healthy Ways To Begin the Day

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by Mark Sisson Mark's Daily Apple

Recently by Mark Sisson: 9 More Reasons You're Not Losing Weight

     

In the midst of topical wound ointment, baby wearing, and gynoid fat, sometimes it's nice to just back up and focus on the basics. How much more fundamental does it get really than getting up in the morning? I think we can safely count it as square one. Whether you're stopping by today as a Primal newbie or old timer, most of us need the reminder at some point. Ah, morning. It's an alternately grim and comical scene in most American households. There's the snooze parade, rumpled faces, chronic grouchiness, catatonic showers, coffee frenzy, mad dashes, and neon colored breakfast with cartoon characters (fun prize included!). We're quite a species to behold at 6:30 a.m. What can we do to change this picture? Is there such a thing as a Primal morning short of rising from a sleeping bag in a remote corner of mountain wilderness? You decide. A more approachable goal this morning might be this: what can make the morning feel — and be — a little healthier and happier?

Drink Water

I don't buy the eight glasses a day commandment. I think water is overrated in fact. Nature gave us a sensation called thirst for a reason, and for most of us it tends to work pretty well. That said, after eight hours of total abstinence, your body could use the liquid. I see people down two to three cups of coffee, when they were probably more thirsty than insufficiently caffeinated. Maybe a productive rule would be this: water first, then coffee or tea if you want it.

Wake Up to Natural Light

Once again, reduce your dependence on caffeine by stimulating yourself biochemically with plan old light. Sunlight is ideal, but turn on the all the lamps (full spectrum bulbs are best) if you're up before the sun. Unlike caffeine, there's no impending energy crash waiting for you in a couple hours. If you can, use natural light to wake yourself with open curtains (unless outside artificial light will disturb your sleep at night) or a progressive light u201Calarm.u201D

Spend Fifteen Minutes (or More) Outdoors

Even if it's pitch black when you roll out of bed, try to get some time in before you leave for the day or get sucked into your at-home household/work routine. Enjoy your breakfast outside, shovel the walk now rather than later, throw the ball for your dog, water your garden in your bathrobe (the neighbors can deal with it), or take a walk.

Move

For me, there's just no substitute for a morning walk. It's something I've come to appreciate over the years. Nothing wakes me up, relaxes me, and focuses my thinking in quite the same way. That said, any kind of movement can energize you naturally and boost your circulation. Who doesn't want to begin the day with an endorphin rush? Getting your workout in first thing means you won't be tempted to skip it later when a meeting runs late, you have an event to attend, or you just want to chill out at the end of the day. If you can't bring yourself to workout or walk, do whatever you can: lunges while you brush your teeth, calf raises while you eat your breakfast, stretches while you wait for the shower to warm up. Anything will always be better than nothing.

Meditate

For some, it's cultivating quiet composure on a favorite pillow. For others, it's an invigorating yoga routine. It can be working with affirmations, prayers, relaxation techniques, or mindfulness exercises. However it works for you, you'll begin the day with a biochemical advantage that will hold stress at bay more effectively.

Play

I know, I know. Morning minutes are precious. You don't have time for fooling around. If you want to set a relaxed, creative path for the day, however, you'd do well to leave a little extra time for the wholly non-utilitarian. Rough house with the kids, play with your dog, do some doodling, or stop by the park on your morning run and hit the swings.

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