May 22, 2014

Healthy & Refreshing Ways to Start Spring Mornings

As the weather begins to switch from the gloomy and cold winter days to the sunny and warm spring days, most people start to experience better moods and more energy. There’s just something about warm weather and sunshine that makes us feel better.

It’s safe to say that most of us have a set morning routine that we’ve had since the beginning of winter. Many of those routines aren’t very healthy either. For instance, during the winter, I’ve been known to hit the snooze button 3-4 times before getting out of bed (causing me to rush around and start my day off slightly irritable), running out the door and swinging through my favorite coffee shop for a latte before I “officially” start my day. Does this sound familiar?  
When spring arrives, it’s the perfect time to make healthy and refreshing changes to our mornings, don’t you think? Here are a few things you can do to get your spring mornings off to a bright start.
1.      Get up earlier. I know, who wants to get up earlier? Trust me, if you can get up and give yourself at least an hour before you normally leave the house, then you will feel awake and ready to face the day when you leave. This extra time will give you time to wash your face, watch the news, read the paper or whatever else you would like to do in the morning, but usually don’t have the time. More importantly, you won’t feel rushed. When you feel rushed, you’re stressed (even if just a little) and stress isn’t good for us or our bodies.

2.      Replace the coffee with a fruit smoothie. I will admit that breaking the morning coffee routine can be hard at first, but when you replace that coffee with something as yummy as a fresh fruit smoothie, the transition isn’t hard to make. Instead of loading your body up with tons of sugar and caffeine first thing in the morning, why not fuel it with important nutrients and antioxidants that your body will use for real (versus fake) energy and to support your immune system? Not only is this healthier than a cup of coffee, but you will notice that you stay fuller longer with a smoothie than you do with a cup of coffee. One of my favorite spring/summer fruit smoothie recipes is this:
1/3 C. Frozen Strawberries
1/3 C. Frozen Mango/Pineapple Mixed Fruit
1/3 C. Blueberries
2/3 1  Large Banana (also frozen)
½ C.  Non-fat Plain Greek Yogurt
1 T.   Honey
1 T.   Chia Seeds
3-4    Leaves of Baby Kale
2       Scoops Vanilla Protein Powder

3.      Take a yoga class. You may not enjoy hitting the gym for weights or high-impact cardio sessions first things in the morning, but you should try taking a morning yoga class at least twice a week this spring. Yoga is not a high-impact class that is going to wear you out and/or leave you sweaty. It’s more of a class dedicated to stretching and tapping in to your “inner” self. When I leave yoga, I feel refreshed, energized and incredibly relaxed. It’s an amazing way to start your spring mornings!

4.      Work in the yard.  On the weekends this spring, it will be pretty tempting to keep the winter routine of sleeping in until late morning but with the weather being so nice out, but don’t do it. Get up and get outside. Whether you start the day by mowing the lawn or working in the flower beds, your body will reap the benefits from the vitamin D it receives during this time. If you don’t have any yard work that needs to be done then go on a walk around the neighborhood. Not only does getting outside and working in the yard or going for a walk give your body the vitamin D it needs for the day, but these activities also burn calories and work to keep your metabolism going which keeps your body in good working order!

5.      Meditate. Meditating may seem like something only “weird” people do, but it has been proven to help reduce and manage stress. The people that I have known who have incorporated meditation into their morning routines won’t go a day without it now. In other words, they swear by it. I’ve only done it a few times, but am planning on starting it back up this spring. I can honestly say that the few times I did meditate, I felt like I was better prepared to face the day. My mind was clear and stress-free which allowed me to focus more throughout the day. I also found that stressful situations didn’t stress me out like they usually did on the days I meditated.

Hopefully, you have found a few healthy changes that you can make to your morning routine this spring that will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle anything the day “throws” at you. What are some of your favorite healthy ways to start your spring mornings?





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