We know you know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so even when things get chaotic, you’re def putting something into your body to help fuel you through the morning…right? But it turns out, there are ways to make your breakfast way, way better, and they’ve got nothing to do with how to poach the perfect egg. There are several things you should do before breakfast, even when you’re rushing off to school or work.
Yes, before you groggily open up Twitter to check on what’s going on in the world, you ought to give yourself a minute or two to stretch that weary body of yours. It’ll feel good to move your body a bit, even if you’re not doing full-blown workout. Studies show that a quick stretch can increase your blood flow, improve your posture, give you more energy, and even help with aches and pains, and we could all use that in our days, couldn’t we?
We’re big fans of meditation, even for just 5 or 10 minutes. If you’re new to meditation, there are plenty of apps that will teach you how to meditate. (We love Calm and Headspace as good places to start.) Both are user-friendly and offer basic meditation exercises for free, so you can get your om on before you even turn on the coffee machine. There’s nothing better than starting the day in a state of mental bliss before you’ve even headed into the kitchen for breakfast.
3Drink plenty of water
Having spent the last 8+ hours sound asleep, your body is likely craving some hydration, even if you don’t feel particularly thirsty. We know it’s tempting to enjoy a piping hot cup of coffee, but before you even get there, grab a glass of water and bottoms up. You can add lemon or lime for a fun twist, and you’ll just feel better starting the day thoroughly hydrated.
The jury is out on whether you should eat before you exercise or get your fitness on first thing on an empty stomach, so we recommend you do what works best for you and your body. If you’re doing any sort of intense physical activity, you absolutely have to fuel your body adequately. We recommend some light yoga stretches or a brisk walk before breakfast to truly start your day off right.
5Make your bed
OK, so this one is more for your mental clarity, but it still applies. It might be easy to roll out of bed and into the kitchen to get some food in your belly, but taking five to 10 minutes to make your bed and organize your space will help you feel so much calmer, no matter what the day ahead brings.
6Enjoy some natural light
If you’re totally not a morning person (and hey, we get it!), you probably dread the thought of someone opening up those shades any second earlier than necessary. But opening up the windows gives your body a much-needed boost of fresh air and light, which will help prepare you for the day. Dr. Michael Breus, PhD, also known as The Sleep Doctor, says that adequate natural light in the morning has plenty of surprising benefits.
“Giving yourself exposure to light — particularly sunlight — in the morning and the early part of the day is one way to improve your alertness and energy during the day, and may help you to fall asleep at night.”
Basically, how much light we’re exposed to early in the day impacts our sleep-wake cycle, exerting “a controlling influence over the body’s circadian rhythms.” He adds, “Exposure to light and to darkness drives the circadian system, which in turn helps to regulate sleep-wake cycles over the 24-hour day and night. Circadian regulation of sleep involves several physiological processes, including changes in body temperature and neurological function. Also under circadian influence are hormones that affect sleep and alertness.” We’re sold.
7Spend quality time with loved ones
It’s so easy to fall into the habit of checking those notifications before even fully opening your eyes, but we recommend taking a few minutes to check in with your partner or spouse to simply say, “good morning.” Or if you’re sleeping solo, say hi to your roommate. If you live alone but have pets, enjoy a quick morning suddle sesh before doing anything else. It’s a great way to start your day without feeling stressed or anxious, and spending time with someone you love — even just a few minutes before breakfast — will set the tone for a happy and hopefully more relaxed day ahead.