“Start the day with 15–20 minutes of mindfulness meditation,” says Dr. Vates. “Centering yourself and clearing the mental decks for the day ahead is good for making you more effective and grateful for what life has in store.”
We’re big believers in meditation here. We recommend these free guided meditations from UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center. They run anywhere from five to 19 minutes, so even if you’re pressed for time in the morning, you can take a few moments to center yourself.
Dr. Vates also recommends stretching first thing in the morning, which “purposefully helps to get your joints and muscles ready for the day.”
If you’re interested in making stretching or meditation a part of your regular morning routine, check out our guide to creating a meditation/yoga space in your home.
Eat a good breakfast
Another crucial element of a healthy morning routine is a solid breakfast. Here’s how to balance your first meal: “Focusing on a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats is important. As far as carbohydrates go, you want a combination of sugars that are absorbed easily to give you an early energy boost (e.g., fruits) and sugars that are more slowly digested and released over the course of the morning (complex carbohydrates that come from food with whole grains).”
“As far as protein goes, any type is good as long as it doesn’t travel with bad fats (eggs or milk-based proteins are good; for vegans think of different soy- or nut-based proteins). Nuts are a good food because they have a balance of protein and healthy fats, but avoid processed nuts like nut butter with a lot of added simple sugars.”