When you wake up in the morning are you setting yourself up for failure or success?
The Save Institute’s holistic approach to strengthening bones and preventing fractures addresses the whole of the body, and supports your total wellness. This approach is far more impactful than a quick-fix drug, or a diet-fad, because it addresses and improves lifestyle every single day.
And if you struggle to make it through each day, feel overwhelmed and stressed out by your to-do list and the challenges before you, try changing the beginning of your day to change the rest of it.
In today’s post we’re going to look at eight morning habits that will help you achieve your goals, including building younger, stronger bones.
1. The Early Bird Gets… To Feel Better All Day
The idea behind rising early isn’t to deprive yourself of sleep, but to shift your sleeping habits so that you have ample time before your first obligation of the day. If you’re waking up in a panic, ten minutes before you have to leave, your alarm blaring, grabbing bags and keys and eating who-knows-what as you run out the door… then you don’t have time to start your day intentionally or healthfully.
The rest of this post will lay out a series of actions to consider as new morning rituals. But you can’t do any of them if you don’t have the time before you need to be somewhere else.
If getting up early is new for you, take it in small chunks. Instead of setting your alarm an hour and a half earlier for tomorrow, just try fifteen minutes. Then, once that’s feeling natural, fifteen more. Give yourself an hour or two of morning self-care time before you have to be out the door. As you wake up earlier, go to sleep earlier. Don’t forget how important sleep is to building stronger bones, and to your overall health.
2. Your Mother Was Onto Something: Make Your Bed
Little things matter. The sense of accomplishment we get from completing a task is a real one, and it can help to motivate us onward to larger and more difficult tasks. This holds true even if the first task is as simple and easy as making your bed. Take advantage of the opportunity to start your day’s duties with one that you know you can knock out of the park.
Additionally, by introducing order to your space, you help to place some order in your day. This is especially useful if you spend part of your workday at home, as it can help transform your space from one use to another.
And then, at the end of your day, no matter what has happened, you’ll be able to return to your first accomplishment: a neatly made bed. It’s a great reminder that tomorrow you’ll get to start again, and you already know exactly how you’ll do it.
3. Find Your Inner Calm
If meditation has always seemed a bit strange to you, now is the moment to open yourself up to something new. While this practice might sound like pseudo-science, the impact of meditating on the brain has been well documented. Try it for yourself to see what it can do for you.
What it comes down to, in the simplest physical terms, is breathing, relaxing, and focusing. Lowering stress is incredibly important to bone health, as the cortisol released when your body is kept on alert for too long is deleterious to your bones. Meditating will help you release the physical tension that results from and exacerbates stress.
Find a comfortable place to sit upright, close your eyes and breathe deeply. Be sure you’re breathing down into your abdomen. Your breaths should expand down into your back and stomach, not up into your chest. Focus on your breath, and keep your attention on it. Do this for about three minutes to start, and as it becomes easier to hold your attention, extend the length of your meditation.
4. Just Because You’re Up Doesn’t Mean Your Body Is Awake
Engage your body. Sometimes, once your mind is active, you assume that your body is equally ready for action. But your body needs special attention and care to get going in the morning. Set aside some time for at least a short set of stretches.
For some, this might be a yoga routine, or even just a few sun salutations. For others it might just mean some simple stretches to get the blood flowing. This is also a great time to do your exercises. Whether you follow the Densercise Epidensity Training System, or have your own workout routine, the morning is a great time to build stronger bones through strengthening muscle.
Because your morning routine happens every day by design, and because you have carved this extra time out specifically for it, making exercise a part of the start of your day can help you be consistent. You should consider this especially if a later-in-the-day workout pattern has proven difficult to keep up with.
5. Get Up On The Right Side Of The Bed
Mood matters– not just to how you feel and how that affects your ability to accomplish your goals, but it literally impacts your body and how well it works. Plenty of people are a little grumpy upon waking, so take some time get your mind in a positive place before you begin your day.
Smile! Did you know that the physical action of smiling stimulates the release of mood enhancing neurotransmitters in your brain? We tend to think of smiling as something we do in response to feeling good, but it turns out that it’s a two-way street. Studies show that dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are released with every grin.1
The endorphins released are a natural pain killer, helping you feel physically ready to start your day on a good note. The serotonin lifts your spirits, improving your mood and helping you feel like you got up “on the right side of the bed.”
Smiling also triggers the release of neuropeptides that assist in reducing stress.2 They’re molecules that facilitate neuron communication, allowing messages to travel to the rest of the body when you’re feeling sad, angry, excited, or happy. So smiling improves both the medium and message.
This simple action – just thirty seconds will do – can change the way you start your day, both in how you feel now, and how you approach the tasks that your day holds. It’s fine if it feels a little strange at first, even a forced smile has the result you’re seeking. Try it in front a mirror, or even before you roll out of bed!
6. Spend Time With Your Partner
Use some of your newfound morning time to connect with your spouse or loved one. Having a partner is a valuable resource for your mental, emotional, and physical wellness, nurture that relationship to reap its benefits. Spending quality time together in these focused first hours of the day can help you to build a stronger bond and rediscover each other.
Many of the suggested morning activities here can be practiced together, like an exercise routine, or making a healthy breakfast with fresh, whole foods. You could make this check-in time a daily habit, or a weekly date, but don’t forget to include your special someone in your new routine.
7. What’s The Soundtrack To Your Perfect Morning?
You’re the DJ of your own life. Use the power of music to create the mood you want to set in the morning. Maybe it’s an ambient calm that trickles and burbles through the air, soothing your nerves; or maybe it’s an energetic rhythm that wakes up your feet and gets your blood pumping.
It could be different every day! Think about what sort of day you’ve planned, and pick a playlist accordingly. Or if music doesn’t feel right for you, maybe starting your day with an audiobook or a podcast is the best use of the airwaves. Pick something to perk up your ears and wake up your brain.
8. The Most Important Meal Of The Day
Savers know the importance of proper nutrition to building healthy bones. If you start off your day by providing your body what it needs to stay active and energized, then you’ll be more successful at accomplishing all of your days tasks.
When you rush your mornings, it becomes expedient to eat acidifying processed foods that are full of refined sugars and sodium. These pre-prepared items tend to be full of preservatives and chemicals that your body must filter from your system, expending valuable energy and overworking these critical systems. You don’t need those additives and artificial compounds. They’re wearing you out instead of supporting you.
Take the time to make yourself a breakfast that follows the 80/20 rule of alkalizing to acidifying foods. Focusing on delicious breakfast options that include plain yogurt, nuts, fresh fruits, or smoothies. By eating whole foods that keep your body’s pH balanced while providing you with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, you give yourself a solid foundation upon which to build your day… and stronger, more resilient bones.
If you like the sound of eating healthier and more delicious meals at breakfast, then you’ll be excited to know that Bone Appétit, contains more than 200 bone healthy recipes including many breakfast ideas. There’s also a bonus called Blender Magic, filled with delicious, bone-smart smoothie recipes. Mean n’ Green, Best of Both Worlds, Greener Pastures, and Sweet n’ Sassy are just a few examples of the scrumptious smoothie recipes.
Eat Your Way to Stronger Bones!
Discover over 200 mouth-watering bone healthy recipes for breakfast, smoothies, appetizers, soups, salads, vegetarian dishes, fish, and plenty of main courses and even desserts!
Let’s face it: changing your habits can be difficult, as expressed by the saying “old habits die hard”. But by making small, incremental shifts, you can move mountains!
Till next time,
1 R.D. (2000). “Neural correlates of conscious emotional experience. In R.D. Lane & L. Nadel (Eds.),” Cognitive neuroscience of emotion (pp. 345–370). New York: Oxford University Press.
1 Seaward BL. “Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Well-Being.” Sudbury, Mass.: Jones and Bartlett; 2009:258