Healthy Morning Rituals

New year, new me. Or should I be saying new decade, new me? 2020 is (almost) here, and it's time to start approaching our health in a new way. Whether you're ready to explore a sober curious lifestyle, try out a new workout class, or finally put down the JUUL, there's always room for improvement in our lives.

And we have a simple hack that's virtually guaranteed to make you feel happier, healthier, and better all day long: Do something good for yourself every a.m.

Morning rituals set the tone for the rest of your day. So if you take one positive or productive action first thing, your whole day will feel more positive and productive in turn.

Sound overblown? We promise its not.

Now, the word "ritual" can call to mind some elaborate ceremony. But the changes we're talking about making to your mornings could be small or large, anything from pledging to wake up the first time your alarm goes off (no more hitting snooze for an hour) to cooking yourself a healthy, warm breakfast every day (forget skipping that essential meal).

Here, we've found 10 morning rituals that you should consider committing to in 2020.

Start meditating.

"Consider setting your alarm just 10 to 15 minutes earlier and meditate," says Erin Stokes, a naturopathic doctor and the Medical Director of MegaFood. "Meditation has been shown to decrease stress, improve concentration and generate an overall sense of well-being."

If you're not sure where to start, Stokes recommends downloading a free meditation app, like Insight Timer. Remember: There are literally dozens of ways to meditate, so you can't do it wrong — and you'll likely find a method that resonates with you.  Photographed by Caroline Tompkins.

Eat a healthy breakfast.

You'll be shocked at how good you start to feel when you actually fuel your body in the morning. A study conducted by researchers at Cardiff University found that eating a balanced breakfast each morning directly correlated with students' academic success. Don't you want some of that same brain power for your day?

Incorporate recipes like gluten-free banana muffins and avocado and egg sandwiches, or whatever sounds good and nourishing.Photographed by Anna Jay.


Give yourself some extra "me time".

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Add in a green smoothie.

Only one in 10 adults meet their daily recommended intake for fruits and vegetables, a 2017 study by the Center For Disease Control found. Stokes says that the easiest way to get more veggies and fruits in your diet is to make a green smoothie every morning. 

"Alternate the greens you use, by including spinach, kale and chard on different days," Stokes says. "Keep it simple with a coconut water base, a banana, and a half cup of frozen mango chunks, plus the green veggie of your choice."

If you want to take your smoothie to the next level, Stokes recommends adding turmeric or a scoop of a booster powder.  Photographed by Mike Garten.

Take B12 (if you need it).

If you avoid meat and animal products, there’s a good chance your vitamin B12 levels are low. After all, the only foods that contain the vitamin are meat, dairy, eggs, and other animal-based foods.

B12 is essential; the human body needs it to make red blood cells, nerves, and DNA, according to Harvard Medical School. Low B12 levels can cause anemia, weakness, and fatigue. Before taking any supplement you should always talk to a doctor and likely get an exam or a blood test. But if you are lacking the nutrient, supplements can help boost your levels. The good news? B12 can seriously increase your energy.

Take advantage of that boost by taking the supplement in the morning. Another reason to make this an early-morning habit: Some research indicates that B12 may actually lower melatonin in your body, which would make it much harder to fall sleep if taken at night. Photographed by Megan Madden.

Start stretching.

Take a cue from your cat. There are a number of benefits to a solid morning stretch. It improves your posture, enhances circulation, and can help you release mental stress. And who isn't craving a good, deep stretch session after seven or eight hours of sleep?

Over time, if you keep up with this morning habit, you'll increase your range of motion, which can lower your risk of injury and correct muscular imbalances, according to the American Council on Exercise. Photographed by Caroline Tompkins.

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