We all have mornings where we wake up on the wrong side of the bed and nothing seems to go right. We end up running late, skipping breakfast, or not taking a few minutes for ourselves—and the consequences of those actions can produce stress that lingers throughout the day.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to get a healthier start to your day—and they all take 15 minutes or less.
Here are six reasons to wake up 15 minutes early this week.
Drink Lemon Water
You only need a few minutes to make and drink a glass of lemon water, and it’s a great thing to do for your body upon waking. Drinking a 16-20 ounce glass of lemon water first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything else has multiple health benefits.
For one, drinking lemon water helps balance your body’s pH levels. You may think of lemons as acidic, but once in our bodies they become alkaline, and an alkaline body is a healthy body. The key is making sure you’re using real lemon—whether it’s a physical lemon, lemon juice or lemon oil—make sure it’s not synthetic.
Lemon water also helps to flush out toxins and boost your immune system—two wonderful rewards your body deserves first thing in the morning. As you make your glass of lemon water, think of this as your time to consciously do something good for your body, setting a position intention of self-care and wellness for the rest of the day.
Eat a Protein-Packed Breakfast
We all know that skipping breakfast isn’t smart, but the kind of breakfast you eat also matters. Taking a few extra minutes to prepare a substantial meal in the morning can benefit your body all day long. Studies show that eating a high-protein breakfast helps prevent weight gain, as well as stabilizes hunger levels throughout the rest of the day.
A good, high-protein breakfast typically has about 15 grams of protein or more. Check out some of our favorite protein-packed breakfasts that you can even take on the go when in a pinch, like our McSkinny Egg Muffins or Overnight Oatmeal: Peanut Butter & Honey Chia Oats.
While it’s super tempting to rely on caffeine to power your mornings, getting the proper nutrients in your system along with your cup of coffee can help you feel less jittery, more balanced, and less likely to hit up those break room doughnuts at 10 a.m. because you forgot to fuel up before leaving.
Workout First Thing In The Morning
We all have increasingly busy schedules and multiple areas of our lives that demand our attention. If you’re like us, you’re probably juggling the demands of a busy family, job, and social life all at the same time. So sometimes getting a morning workout in before everyone else’s needs start to take precedence is the best way to make sure you carve out time for your own health—even if it’s just 15 minutes.
On mornings when you’re pressed for time, a 15-minute workout can still get your heart rate elevated, rev up your metabolism, clear your head, and put you in a better mood for the rest of the day.
The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that an early morning workout may help you sleep better, too—and getting a good night’s rest is probably the best way to ensure you start the morning off right.
Here are 3 super quick workouts that are PERFECT for a morning sweat session:
Related: 17 Excuses Why You Skip Exercise
If you’re on a rest day from cardio, why not try some light morning yoga? You don’t need to leave your house to warm up not-quite-awake muscles with some gentle poses—just roll out your mat.
Sun salutations are the perfect series to build strength, lengthen your muscles, and prepare yourself for the day ahead. Even a handful of minutes on your mat can provide mental clarity and cultivate a sense of inner peace that lasts throughout the day.
Place your mat in a space where you’ll have enough room and go through the motions of a traditional sun salutation series as many times as your body needs to feel awake and calm for the day ahead.
Start a Daily Gratitude Practice
It’s so tempting to check our emails, log onto social media, and immerse ourselves in information overload as soon as our alarms goes off. But instead of inundating our barely-awake brains with status updates or the news of the day, what if we took a few extra minutes first thing in the morning to count our blessings?
You don’t need more than 15 minutes to write down five things you’re grateful for each morning—big or small. From the comfort of your cozy bed to the love of your family and friends, taking those first few moments in the morning to cultivate an attitude of gratitude has the power to shift your perception for the rest of the day.
I know, I know. You know you should meditate, but some days it feels laughable to take five or ten minutes to sit quietly when you have so much to do. Guess what? It’s on the days that you feel too busy to meditate that you actually need it most. As the Zen proverb goes: “You should meditate for twenty minutes every day—unless you’re too busy. Then you should meditate for an hour.” We’re not suggesting you can take an hour, but we are betting you can take 15 minutes. And even five minutes a day can bring about radical health benefits.
A daily practice has been shown to alleviate an abundance of psychological and psychical conditions—including anxiety and depression—while also improving cardiovascular function, lowering blood pressure, and helping to manage pain. Taking a few moments in the morning for you can help you feel calmer and healthier throughout the rest of the day—and isn’t that more valuable than checking your email for the fifth time before you’re out of your pajamas?