4 ways to “wake up” without caffein!
1. Light Exercise
Start the day with some light exercise, even if it is just for a few minutes. Performing light strength exercises after a warm up of arm circles, leg swings and a few jumping jacks can really make a difference (or just stick to these if you are really crunched on time). Some simple staples are squats, sit ups/crunches or push ups. Pick one and do 25-100 reps or do 10-30 of each. Another great option is a few yoga salutation flows. These simple movements can do wonders to get the blood flowing and help invigorate and energize you for the day ahead! If you are interested in a morning yoga flow, check out yoga download. They even have free classes and flows!
Meditation or practicing mindfulness (being present) is the perfect beginning and ending to any day, and while it can be a difficult habit to develop, it can set you off on the right foot. Meditation has been shown to do simple things like increase feelings of wellbeing and non judgement but studies have also shown meditation can make huge improvements in our lives as an article in the Huffington post sates, ‘mindfulness can limit the “expression” of genes associated with inflammation’. Meditation has also been found to cause “neuroplastic changes to the gray matter of your brain” according to an article on Mind Body Green. If you are new to meditation, simply starting by focusing on and listening to 10 breaths before you get up. It is that easy to start! You can also try to add mindfulness into your daily actions by paying attention to your food, the tastes, textures and smells with each bite for one meal a day or set an alarm on your phone to cue you to be mindful and present in everything you do for the following 5 minutes. These little practices add up over time and can make a huge impression on the direction your life takes and people and energy you bring into your life. As you get more comfortable with this, and in tune with yourself you may want to explore further. Spirit Rock, a world renown meditation center, has some wonderful free meditation guides for those of you looking to delve further. * Follow the link and click on Audio Resources. To read more on the benefits of meditation check out this list of articles in the Huffington Post!
3. Eat breakfast!
Nothing gets the day, or your metabolism going better than a healthy breakfast. Some specific food to include that get the blood flowing are cacao powder and maca root powder. Nuts and seeds especially walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, ground flax and chia have a great combination of fat and protein to stabilize blood sugar, helping you avoid a crash later in the day and support your heart. Spices, especially cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger for the morning are a great way to add antioxidants and overall nutrition with just a sprinkle. They also have antibacterial qualities as well as help with blood sugar regulation, all with no calories…No who doesn’t love that! Whole grains such as quinoa, amaranth, spelt, teff and oatmeal are a good source of fiber, B vitamins and iron to keep you going strong. And, last but not least on our quick list is: Berries. Berries, add amazing zing and flavor to almost anything and have long been revered for their antioxidant, anti aging properties. Filled with magnesium, fiber and vitamins, you cannot go wrong! So how do you incorporate these into a breakfast? Here are some ideas!
1. Add cacao powder and maca powder to your oatmeal in the morning along with a sprinkle of nuts/seeds of your choice and top with cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg!
2. Tired of oatmeal? Have cooked quinoa on hand and mix in some seeds/nuts with raisins and cinnamon (nutmeg if you like as well).
3. Mix 1-3 tsp. cacao powder, 1-3 tsp. maca root powder, 1/4-1 tsp. cinnamon, dash of nutmeg, berries and a plant based protein powder in a blender with almond milk or water and ice. Top with some nuts or seeds and enjoy! If you really want to earn some points throw in a leaf or two of kale and a slice of fresh ginger.
4. Make your own granola by baking nuts/seeds, oatmeal and cinnamon in the oven until lightly brown. Enjoy with fresh or frozen berries and almond milk and a drizzle of honey.
5. Pour boiling water over fresh ginger slices. Let cool to drinking temperature and enjoy! You can even add a little turmeric and a green tea bag for more flavor and a higher antioxidant value!
4. Cold Water
Start the day off right by drinking some cold water before your breakfast to re-hydrate after a nights sleep…Dehydration is common in the morning, especially for flight crews who deal with the perils of dehydration on a daily basis. So, help you cells out so they can do their job by downing a glass of water first thing. Cold water is best.
A few other tried and true ways (although, they will not offer the same health benefits as drinking your water) are as follows:
– Douse your self with a bit of cold water at the end of your shower to shock the sleep right out of you (and give your hair extra shine…Ladies)
– Splash your face with cold water if you are skipping the shower
*Images in descending order by: Photostock, Marin, Serge Bertasius Photography and Theeradech Sanin. Featured image by: Dream Design