As we discover through other posts how stress affects our thoughts and emotions, our actions and interactions, all by forming our habits that we unconsciously live day in and day out, we may feel inspired to change the stress level of our life, one small step at a time, because we know that we can! Why start small? Because we want to set ourselves up to win—because when it feels good, we want more of it!

Healthy and predictable daily routines soothe and strengthen the nervous system, boost creativity, productivity, and brain health, and detoxify on the daily. All of this, combined with the need to change daily habits to actually UPROOT chronic stress, means that practicing a little bit everyday is more stabilizing and nourishing than a crash diet, or doing a lot a few times per week, or even a one-week or month-long retreat.

It’s been found that creating new habits is easiest to do after waking up, which is why a comprehensive morning routine is offered here. This morning routine is based off of Ayurvedic principles primarily and is meant to act as a guide in building a stable, personally-appropriate morning regimen.

Sustainability in practice is most important, so do things in ways you enjoy, and remember, a little bit is better than nothing!

"Loving yourself - it really takes a daily practice." RuPaul

Start by taking on one thing daily and then add another as you’re ready, so you won’t burn yourself out by taking on too much too soon. With time and perseverance, simple yet vital self-healthcare becomes second nature.

While it’s optimal to practice this list everyday, do what you can with the time you have. Perhaps some elements will make way into other times of your day, although many of these rituals are easier first thing in the morning or derive more health benefits when practiced in your first hours up.

Sticking to a morning program also strengthens your self-discipline, which increases self-confidence. Start your day off in a grounded, energizing tone, especially before everyone else is up if you are able—that is a great delight, the peace and quiet before the dawn of a new day!

The details of your practice can change day to day, according to your specific health needs and your time availability. Doing so will fine-tune your listening skills—to yourself! Practice with as much awareness, intention and mindfulness as you are capable. Treat yourself to your ultimate morning routine customized by you for you!

Meditation & Movement

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The most essential aspect of the morning routine, especially for those who don’t meditate any other time of day, is to lie flat on your back or sit on your pillow after you wake up and take some moments or minutes to set an intention for the day, give gratitude for a few things, focus on your breathing, or meditate however you wish.

This is crucial especially when the mind is racing upon awakening—begin your day with health benefits from meditation and intentional silence, peace, and/or positivity. While you receive more health benefits the longer you meditate—15-20 minutes is ideal—any amount of time spent in silent awareness is better than nothing.

Again, do what you are able and always remember, a little bit is better than nothing!

If you don’t have time, motivation and/or energy for exercise or movement in the rest of your day, take some moments for a full-body yawn, twist and curve the spine, raise your arms over your head, bring your knees into your chest, move your face and jaw around, smile wide and/or laugh—any basic movements and cat-like stretching to get blood and lymph moving, and release the happy hormones, endorphins and dopamine. 

This 15-minute daily yoga practice specifically designed for stress, anxiety, fatigue, and/or exhaustion, is an easy addition to a morning routine if you want guidance with your morning movement.

You can add any of these simple movements throughout the rest of your day, too, especially if your life is more sedentary, or you feel blocked in mind or body. Move that body! You’ll thank yourself for it.

Bathroom Basics (10-20 minutes)

👉🏼 Clear nasal passageways with a Neti Pot to clear mucus and bacteria from the sinuses for daily cleansing, while relieving sinus infection, colds, snoring, and allergy symptoms 

👉🏼 Pull Oil: swish 2-3 tsp. of raw and unrefined oil in your mouth

👉🏼 Dry skin brush

👉🏼 Hot & Cold Hydrotherapy

👉🏼 Wash with salt, and/or baking soda, or DIY soap, or just water

👉🏼 Dry off and apply oil on face and body and use any massage techniques

👉🏼 Apply a DIY Deodorant if desired

👉🏼 Spit oil in the toilet or wastebasket, salt water rinse, scrape tongue, brush and rinse! teeth and tongue

If you want to pull oil for longer—20 minutes is optimal—you can continue to do so while preparing your lemon water, probiotics, and/or fat & protein, writing the morning pages, or whatever else you need to do.

On an Empty Stomach Drink

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👉🏼 Purified Water: Cold water shrinks the blood vessels, hindering hydration and digestion, while producing mucus in the body that taxes the immune system. Room temperature and warm water enhance hydration, digestion, and detoxification systems. 

👉🏼 Lemon Water: Squeeze half a lemon and add warm, purified water to stimulate digestion, detoxification, and balancing pH, for benefits ranging from more energy, clearer skin, and better breath. Add a touch of Himalayan salt if desired for extra electrolytes.

👉🏼 Probiotic Beverage: Drinking any fermented drink, such as kombucha or diluted apple cider vinegar, on an empty stomach, is an easy and efficient way to ensure that the probiotics reach the gut. Make your own probiotic brew to save money (seriously), get creative, and enjoy probiotic health benefits no matter where you are in the world (a kombucha starter, the mother and mature kombucha both, can be traveled with if packaged in your check-in baggage—make sure it’s in a tightly sealed bottle and wrapped up so it doesn’t leak, though!).

👉🏼 Or mix half of a lemon with your probiotic drink.

*If you have histamine intolerance, you need to skip the lemon and fermented foods and supplement with specific pre- and probiotics instead.* (Accumulated histamine symptoms range from allergies, migraines, digestive issues, itchy skin, and overall stress, anxiety, and fatigue.) Because fermented foods aggravate histamine, you need to be cautious of the probiotics you consume. It’s a delicate balance—you need to rebuild your gut health to reduce excessive histamine, yet lemon and many probiotics exacerbate histamine. Check here for more information and a list of types of probiotics that will work for you, which can be found at health stores or pharmacies.

The Morning Pages

Image of person writing in notebook

The morning pages are meant to empty the mind upon awakening, as part of the morning regimen. Write out three pages by hand—writing by hand processes information differently than typing. If writing by hand stops you from practicing this ritual altogether, then write however you need to! Feel no need to stop to think, stop to read, go back and read, or write for sake of future reading.

The point isn’t great writing. The point is solely to release thoughts so they and their emotional counterparts don’t plague or distract you. If your mind is particularly stressed, this technique is helpful. It’s also shown to increase creativity and productivity for anyone, not only creative-types and writers. Check out The Artist’s Way for more details, testimonials, and health benefits.

Simply writing for a full-out release creates space to then consciously fill in with feeling, and writing out, gratitude. Writing in lists, or even better, elaborating on what all you’re thankful for as a daily ritual generates numerous benefits, including reducing stress, releasing happy hormonesand boosting self-esteem and interpersonal relationships. As a result, a consistent gratitude practice spills over into all aspects of life.

You will develop methods of journalling that work best for you over time, depending on your needs and what you feel inspired to write, or the day, time, year, circumstance. Remember that this practice is for you, so write how you most enjoy and gain the most benefit.

Prioritize Fat & Protein for Break-Fast

Image of seeds, nuts and blended berries in a coffee cup

After you have been up for at least an hour, ensuring your digestive system is fully awake for optimal digestion, prioritizing fat and protein consumption in the first meal of your day is grounding, helps stabilize the blood sugar level (BSL), feeds your brain, nourishes your nerves, and gives you proper calories to stabilize energy levels throughout the rest of your day.

You don’t have to eat a lot or weigh yourself down with calories. Listen to your body and give it what and how much it needs when it needs it unless there’s a sugar or processed food addiction at hand. If that is the case, you’re most likely unstable in the energy-level and BSL department, and in turn, focusing on protein and fat intake is crucial.

Pack in a nutritious punch with chia seeds, unsweetened nut butters, avocado, tahini, seeds and nuts, and raw and unrefined oils. Avoid high glycemic-index/loads food for better health, such as dried fruits, processed foods, refined grains, and flours, meaning most bread, starchy vegetables, and sweeteners.

Everyone, no matter whether hyper/hypoglycemic or not, is more insulin resistant in the morning, meaning, is prone to spiking and crashing blood sugar level and along with it energy, so if you can’t resist your glycemic-sweet-tooth, bread, sugars, simple starches, and super-sweet fruits are best to save for later in the day or after exercise.

If you practice yoga or movement after you break-fast, think of this as a boost of energy rather than filling up your stomach, and do your best to wait an hour after eating before a yoga practice. Otherwise, enjoy the many benefits of exercising before breaking fast, including stabilizing insulin resistance, enjoying higher energy levels throughout the day, particularly the afternoon, and increasing growth hormone and testosterone production. 

Let us know which of these practices most benefit you by commenting here, and be sure to keep in touch by subscribing below. No matter what, may you enjoy your mornings!

Holistic Liberation: Holistic Practices for Freedom From Stress Effects written on image of sun breaking through clouds over water

Jyllin is an integrative health coach and creator of the Holistic Liberation Method that repatterns chronic stress in the body, mind, beliefs, emotions, and lifestyle. Learn more about Jyllin and The Holistic Liberation Programs