20 Apr Thriving from Home During COVID-19 Quarantine: Healthy Morning Routine
With many of us under quarantine at home due to the COVID-19 crisis it can seem pointless to try and create any type of daily routine. But now is the perfect time to create and hone your daily health and happiness routine, to improve your health and wellbeing, boost your energy and lower your stress levels.
Feel in Control With Healthy Habits
Healthy habits and a daily routine can not only boost our health and immune system, but they give us a sense of control and agency in a world that right now can feel unsafe and unstable.
A healthy morning routine creates the tone for the rest of the day both mentally and physically, and performing healthy habits in the morning means you are more likely to make healthy diet, exercise and self care choices throughout the day.
In the second installment of this new series (Part 1 can be found here) created to help you stay healthy whilst we shelter in place, Holistic Nutritionist and Corporate Wellness Consultant Jennifer Hanway shares her top tips for creating a healthy morning routine for thriving during COVID-19 quarantine.
1. When and How You Wake Up Is Key
Wake up at the same time and in the same way every day, 7 days a week. Yes, even at weekends. Our bodies thrive on consistency, and waking up at the same time everyday and going to bed at the same time everyday is key to ensuring high energy levels throughout the day, and a night of restful restorative sleep.
The first 5 minutes after you wake up can be optimized to make a huge difference in your health, and I recommend the following steps:
- Drink a large glass of water upon waking (this boosts detoxification)
- Expose yourself to as much natural or artificial light as possible (simulation sunlight to set your sleep/wake cycle for the day)
- Put on warm clothes or turn the heat on (regulating circadian rhythm as above).
2. Mental Health and Mindset Matters
I do three things for a healthy mindset in the morning:
- Read for 30 minutes
- Meditate for 10-15 minutes
- Write in my Gratitude and Goals journal
Before I even get out of bed in the morning I read for a minimum of 30 minutes. I keep my Kindle on my bedside table, and read something from the genres of self-help, business, autobiography or health, whilst drinking a cup of organic coffee.
After this I head downstairs to meditate. I’ve only been able to cultivate a consistent meditation practice since the coronavirus outbreak, and it has become one of my key self-care tools to prevent anxiety and to stop myself heading down a ‘panic spiral’. I’m a huge fan of Headspace as it has taught me how to meditate, and gives me actionable tools that I can use throughout the day to manage stress. I’m determined to keep this healthy habit once we are out of quarantine!
Following this I ‘habit stack’ writing my Gratitude and Goals journal – I’ve only been able to stay consistent with this habit since moving my notebook and a pen next to the chair I sit in to meditate, and not leaving the chair until I’ve finished writing! I write down 5 things that I’m grateful for that happened in the last 24 hours and then my top 10 goals.
Writing out my goals everyday not only makes you more likely to achieve them, but it helps you stay consistent with your healthy habits. For example, you are more likely to go for that morning run if your goal of ‘lose 20 pounds so I can get off my blood pressure medication’ is top of mind.
3. Move Your Body
Next I’ll workout for 30 minutes, typically before breakfast, and right now I’m alternating cardio x3 a week and strength training x3 a week, with the seventh day for yoga/pilates/hiking.
I decide the exact workout in advance, and make sure I have everything ready the night before. As I’m only training for 30 minutes a day I do not need a rest day. And I’m usually training fasted as I leave a minimum of 12 hours between finishing my evening meal and starting breakfast (this is one of the light intermittent fasting principles from my Lean and Clean Program).
I choose a morning workout for two key reasons:
- It boosts energy, raises metabolism, relieves stress and regulates my circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle) for the day ahead
- There is less chance of the day getting in the way!
Please do not neglect your strength training whilst under COVID-19 quarantine. Resistance training is especially important whilst we are all more sedentary and we need it for maintaining bone density, healthy muscle mass, joint health, stress relief, preventing insulin resistance and maintaining a healthy weight.
Whilst online workouts are great typically you will stop seeing results with these after 3 weeks as they are not personalized, so I recommend working with a great trainer who can create online programs (we offer this service here).
4. Breakfast: The Most Important Meal of the Day
I’ve always touted the benefits of a high protein breakfast as it has energy boosting, hunger satiating properties, and will balance your blood sugar and insulin levels for at least 3-4 hours. It also helps boost productivity and has stress relieving benefits! Here is the base recipe for my Breakfast Smoothie
- 20-30g of protein powder (I love New Chapter’s protein powders and collagen peptides)
- 2-3 handfuls of veggies (choose from leafy greens, zucchini, cauliflower rice)
- 1 tablespoon of fat (choose from avocado, nut butter or MCT oil)
- 1 tablespoon fibre (choose from ground flaxseed, psyllium husk, chia seed gel or acacia fiber)
- 1.5 cups plant milk (unsweetened, I love Elmhurst 1925, use code JENNIFERHANWAY20 for a 20% discount)
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5. Sunshine for Energy and Sleep
Adequate and timely daylight exposure is one of the key regulators of circadian rhythm and our sleep/wake cycle. Not only will adequate and timely light exposure boost energy, improve your mood and reduce anxiety, it will also improve your sleep.
When our pineal gland is exposed to light (natural or artificial) it tells our body to stop producing the hormones that make us feel tired and sleepy. It also sets up a cyclical hormonal response – 12-14 hours after the first light exposure your body will know to produce those sleep inducing hormones. So if you are not getting out of bed until 9am, you will struggle to get to sleep before 11-12pm. So get up early, get some light, and ensure periods of light exposure throughout the day.
Book our ‘Thriving From Home During COVID-19 Quarantine’ Corporate Wellness Webinar developed by Corporate Wellness Consultants Tim and Jennifer Hanway (or any or our employee wellness workshops) and receive a FREE Zoom workout for your team! For more information on how to book this or any or our Corporate Wellness workshops please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more: Tips on How to Optimize Productivity and Performance during COVID-19 from Boston based Performance Coach Tim Hanway.