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Healthy Habits - A Liberating Morning Routine

Happy Wednesday! I hope your week has been productive and stress-free! If not, take a moment right now to breathe deep, talk a short walk, and reset for the rest of your day. You can always start (and restart) somewhere in order to be intentional about what you want to achieve. 

I began 2018 with a mindset of creating order, being more disciplined, and creating an overall better life for myself. On January 1st, I sat in my living room and wrote down everything that I wanted to manifest for the year ahead. I broke everything down into sections: body, mind, relationships, work, and play. I decided then that I was going to go full force in creating a life that I love and that I was going to make the changes necessary to get there, no matter how difficult they might be. I knew that my surroundings, life choices, and lack of proper motivation were all hindering me from being the best Chandler I could be. I realized that my life was seemingly falling apart around me, but I made choices that allowed some things to happen.

It all stemmed from how I chose to start my day. It's so easy (and practically instinctual these days) to roll over, check social media, turn on the news, drink coffee, etc, and go about your day. But what do you think that type of consumption is doing to your mental health? I started to notice that I was getting lazy and complacent with life in general, and would consume my mind and body with stuff that I thought would help me drown out my depression and anxious thoughts. These habits were telling me, "Check IG for likes, you'll feel better about yourself. Watch a show on Netflix, you'll distract yourself from the drama in your real life. Drink 2 cups of coffee before work, you won't feel so drained and down."

The truth is, I was unhappy with nearly everything. I tried to start my day with things that I thought were harmless. But I would see something upsetting on social media, or watch something with violence or trauma, or I would feel jittery and anxious from consuming too much caffeine and not enough quality rest. I was filling myself and my time with things and people who were bringing me down. So in January, I decided to make a change -- and to actually stick to it!

Mornings are peaceful. Mornings are sacred. Mornings set the tone for the rest of your day. A healthy morning routine will give you a successful framework for accomplishing goals and taking care of your mind and body. Morning routines can be different for varying personality types, industries, and schedules. However, whether you are an entrepreneur, in corporate America, or somewhere in between, developing healthy habits in the beginning of your day frees up your mind and allows you in invest energy into things that will help you progress. After checking out my morning routine, note what you can cut out or add to your own daily practices to cultivate more peace, joy, and motivation in your life. 

Here's my morning in a nutshell:

1. After my alarm goes off, I lay in bed for 5-10 minutes with my eyes open, and begin to move my body parts to activate energy and to meditate.

2. After meditation, I drink one full glass of cold water to begin my daily hydration. At this time, I take my daily vitamins and then brush my teeth. By this time, my body is awake and slightly warmed up, and my brain is moving.

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3. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF MY MORNING! Before I look at anything or talk to anyone, I read my daily devotional (on the YouVersion Bible app), and pray for my day to be aligned with what God wants for my life. It's so easy to get distracted by the world and to conform to society standards of living. But God is the author and creator of my life, and I would be ignorant and foolish to think that anything outside of His will and word can give me a better foundation for success in my daily life. I know all of my readers/followers may not be religious, but developing a spiritual practice can apply to anyone. Tuning into something bigger allows me to stay humble and focused on creating a positive environment, internally and externally. Try journaling as an alternative to faith-based practices. 

4. At this point, I'm feeling positive and already accomplished, and motivated to get it poppin' for the day. I will then take a walk or run outside to connect with nature and to get my blood flowing. If there's inclement weather, I will do a quick yoga practice indoors. 

5. After working up a good sweat, I will shower, take care of my skin, and get dressed for the day. I know this seems like a no-brainer, but for entrepreneurs or people that work from home, it can be really tempting to stay in sweats, pajamas, workout gear, etc all day. Refreshing yourself is a part of preparing for the day and respecting yourself. 

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6. Almost ready to start on the hard stuff! I like to give myself 30 minutes of creative time to get my neurons firing and to open my mind up to better problem-solving and task completion abilities. For me, that means quick sketches or writing a few haikus, but it can be whatever makes you happy or most creative. 

You should feel good about yourself and what's ahead before you begin your work or daily tasks. The energy you cultivate in the beginning of your day can be the difference between a breakdown and a breakthrough. Prepare your mind and body to perform at its best by developing a morning routine that you can rock with, and I promise you will see positive results in less than a month. 

Feel free to comment with tips for morning routines and share what makes you feel best at the start of your day! Stay healthy!

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