Jump-starting our day on the right foot and maintaining high energy levels throughout sometimes seems a serious challenge in our 50s. Dividing our time across multiple roles might take a toll on us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t say goodbye to the midlife slump and hello to a new wave of vitality.
The secret is establishing a healthy morning routine that can increase levels of serotonin, helping to boost mood and productivity. Don’t get discouraged if you stray from it or have difficulty getting out of bed. Like all other regimens, establishing good habits will take time, dedication and intention but you’ll soon see the rewards.
Here are 5 steps to help you start your day on a positive note and improve your well-being as you age.
Wake up early and consistently to establish a morning routine
Whether you like it or not, aiming to wake at the same time each morning – preferably early- helps regulate your circadian rhythm and then clarifies your mind to set intentions and affirmations for the day.
“Our bodies have an internal clock known as the circadian rhythm, which regulates various biological processes, including our sleep-wake cycles“, says Nutritionist Clarissa Lenherr. “Waking up at the same time helps maintain a consistent sleep schedule, which allows your body to establish a rhythm and optimise the quality of your sleep, feeling refreshed in the morning“.
What’s more, by taking advantage of the relationship between success and early rising, “you’ll find that how you spend the first hour of your day becomes the key to unlocking your full potential and creating the levels of success you desire. You’ll quickly see that when you change the way you wake up in the morning, you change your entire life.“, explains Hal Erold, author of the bestseller ‘The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)’.
Mindfulness and meditation practices for mental clarity
Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and author of multiple books, says that we can add mindfulness to tasks we do every morning when we practice them with intention. “Brushing your teeth, drinking coffee—it’s all part of developing awareness, and you can build mindful habits around those morning tasks“, he explains. Ideally, “first thing on rising, before you do anything else (especially looking at our phone), we’d choose any feel-good activity and just enjoy it for at least three minutes, or for as long as you find it rewarding and doable“, he recommends.
The power of movement and exercise in the early morning
Any exercise is better than nothing, especially if you suffer from stiff joints, an early workout will help you start the day with more energy, focus, and optimism. You don’t have to rush to the gym. As little as ten minutes of exercise per day has been shown to improve or maintain cognitive abilities. You can either spend a few minutes stretching your body to wake up your muscles and increase blood circulation, practise yoga or -if you have time- even try to get outside first thing in the morning, by going for a walk (starting the day off with fresh air and a dose of sunshine is a natural way to boost your mood).
Here at CrunchyTales, we like warming up our bodies with the Five Tibetan Rites to gently increase physical strength.
Nourishing your body with a healthy breakfast and hydration
Research shows that those who eat breakfast have more energy than those who wait until lunch to eat. While coffee will help jolt you awake, your body will eventually crash without food. So, have a cup of tea, prepare a nutritious breakfast that is high in protein and includes a balance of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and plenty of fibre and don’t forget to drink plenty of water to rehydrate your body.
Your six to eight hours of sleep is a long period to go without any water consumption. Drinking two or three glasses of water right when you wake up is a good way to fuel your brain, get rid of toxins and increase your level of alertness. This is especially important after the age of 50: The National Council on Aging reports that “older adults experience body composition changes over time that leave them with less water in their bodies to start with.”
Get Organised to jump-start your day
According to Brian Tracy, author of “Eat That Frog, 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time“, mornings are when we have the most discipline and the fewest distractions. We’re not telling you to have a frog for breakfast but to start your day with a significant accomplishment before 10 o’clock in the morning by dealing with the hardest thing you have to do or something you dread doing will help you manage the rest of your tasks easily.
By focusing on nourishing your body with a nutritious breakfast, engaging in gentle stretching exercises, practising meditation or deep breathing, and implementing self-care practices, you can make a significant impact on your overall energy levels.
Bear in mind that sometimes you may need to reset your morning routine to meet changes in your life (sometimes hormonal imbalance and night sweats don’t help stay focused). Feel free to review and refine it over time, until you’ll find the perfect one for you. Above all, don’t forget to celebrate each day. Keeping a positive mindset and emotions is crucial for personal growth and development. It enables you to move forward and make progress toward your midlife goals.