A tried and true morning routine to set up another wonderful day in your introvert life.
This headline is not a rallying cry for social upheaval. Otherwise it would have a comma (as the grammar nerds among you would well know). Rather, I want to examine, explore and ultimately enhance your morning routine. Enough excessive alliteration. It’s go time!
We all have our early morning ritual whether it is stumbling out of bed and staggering toward the coffee machine, checking emails on our phone or a bout of yoga. This week, I am going to share the routine I have developed over recent years that has as much to do with starting the day in a positive, uplifted state of mind as the physical benefits.
Straight after waking up drink this mixture:
• 500ml warm water
• 2-3 pinches of pink Himalayan salt
• 2 drops of lemon/lime essential oil or the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon/lime
If you use an essential oil take 500mg of Vitamin C because lemon oil has none as Vitamin C is water soluble. If you use fresh juice, drink the mixture through a metal straw or at least rinse your mouth straight away to avoid stripping the enamel from your teeth. Either way, take 1,000 IU of Vitamin D as well.
The water alone will kickstart your daily hydration and help wake you up. Everyone knows the importance of staying hydrated so I don’t need to say anything more.
The salt is included for its mineral content which serves to balance your body’s PH levels, aid digestion and improve circulation. Why Himalayan salt? Because regular table salt is heavily processed leaving you with just one mineral – sodium. Commercial table salt is typically 97-99% sodium chloride whereas Himalayan salt is only about 87% with the difference made up of over 80 different minerals and trace elements. Besides, it tastes way better and looks cooler.
The citrus juice/essential oil + Vitamin C combo has many benefits including combating inflammation, aiding digestion, boosting immune function and purifying the body. Some may wish to debate the wisdom of ingesting essential oils internally but as Oscar Wilde pointed out “it is only the intellectually lost who ever argue”.
Vitamin D is added to the mix for its positive effects on our circadian rhythm. Simply put, our bodies process Vitamin D from sunlight so a quick dose will mimic this effect and reset our body clock to encourage better sleep later in the day. Since adding Vitamin D to this regimen I have noticed a definite improvement in my sleep quality, which is a widespread issue for introverts with our penchant for rumination and overthinking at bedtime..
THE FULL ROUTINE
Now to put this in the context of a morning routine, drink this mixture straight away upon rising. If you have the time (or have made the time by waking up early enough), take a 20-30 minute walk to get your body moving and your metabolism firing. You’ll even get some extra Vitamin D! (Extra tip: Your body processes Vitamin D best through the eyes and exposure of the trunk so at least lose the shades though perhaps not the shirt). Then have breakfast when your body tells you, which is a very individual thing.
If you are going to drink coffee, this is the time to do it. Just as sunshine promotes the energy-moblising hormone cortisol, so does caffeine. So having it early in the day (BUT NOT FIRST THING) sets up your internal clock to sleep better later on. The equation is simple: if you produce more cortisol in the morning your body balances it out by producing less at night. This is ideal as cortisol interferes with melatonin production and, as you probably know, melatonin helps regulate our sleep-wake cycle.
That said, many introverts are caffeine sensitive and find that coffee overstimulates their nervous system resulting in shakiness, restlessness, rapid heart beat, anxiety, headaches or insomnia. The good news for non-imbibers is the morning routine outlined in this post will amp up your morning energy levels sans caffeine.
If you are in the opposing camp and regularly consume more than a cup of coffee a day (or like consuming other caffeinated drinks) keep in mind that the half-life of caffeine is 4-6 hours depending on your individual metabolism, making it a bad idea to have any amount of caffeine within 6 hours of bedtime.
If you are working out with resistance training or intense cardio in the morning, I definitely recommend two things:
(1) Wait at least an hour after rising before lifting weights. The spinal discs fill up with fluid while you are lying down overnight so your back is its tightest and most vulnerable first thing. Give it an hour to wring itself out and warm up gently before attacking the iron.
(2) Make an easily digested breakfast by getting a blender to do the chewing for you and mixing up oatmeal, banana, whey protein powder, organic Ceylon cinnamon (or a drop of cinnamon essential oil) and raw honey in a water-based smoothie half an hour before working out. Substitute whatever fruit you have available but be sure to include the oatmeal for sustained energy and the whey protein powder to get your body out of its catabolic state following your overnight fast.
I could also recommend other beneficial morning practices such as avoiding electronics, cultivating gratitude and setting your goals for the day but this post is long enough already. Give the tips above a try (at the very least start your day with a big glass of water) and watch your mornings improve.