Morning habits to improve your well-being

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The way you start your mornings can impact the rest of your day. Developing a healthy morning routine can make you feel more in control of what’s to follow and help you make healthier choices throughout the day, which is especially important as we work through the COVID-19 pandemic.

While everyone will start their day differently, I like to recommend a few tried-and-true morning mood and health boosters to my patients.

Breakfast

I always recommend that my patients have their largest meal earlier in the day. Enjoying breakfast will help you stay alert and energized throughout the day, as food is our body’s main source of energy. Also, eating your largest meal at the beginning of the day allows time for your body to burn those calories off before bedtime.

It’s a good idea to drink a glass or two of water when you wake up to begin rehydrating your body too.

Exercise

A brief workout in the morning can help jump-start your metabolism and, counter to what you may assume, boost your energy levels. A brisk walk or a short jog will get your blood circulating. You could even try playing your favorite music and dancing as a form of exercise. Whatever activity you choose, moving around in the morning is a good habit to build.

Meditation

Your mental health, which includes emotional, psychological and social well-being, directly impacts your physical health. Tending to your state of mind via meditation, prayer or yoga has been shown to reduce chronic pain and stress levels.

If you’ve never tried meditation before, there are many apps and websites that can help guide you. Even just spending a few minutes each morning thinking of things and people you’re grateful for can help relax and clear your mind. Practicing mindfulness will help keep you from stressing about future events.

I spend five minutes each morning in meditation and five minutes doing gentle yoga stretches. Though it costs 10 minutes of sleep, it goes a long way in improving the rest of my day.

Selim Sheikh is an integrative medicine physician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and an assistant professor in The Ohio State University College of Medicine.