Are you a night owl? Free spirit? Lover of life? I am too and for a good portion of my life, I hated mornings. I was naturally more productive at night. I was groggy in the morning. I survived by being heavily caffeinated. I am a free-spirited Gemini with a solid case of ADHD and a major passion for spontaneous adventures, so it may come as a surprise to some of you that I have fallen in love with not only routines and structure, but also with mornings. Yes, I said it, I love the morning time.
I had tried every trick in the book to not fiercely dread mornings. I tried going to bed earlier by taking melatonin, CBD, and THC; I bought a very expensive special alarm clock with a light and no snooze button. None of it worked. I had trouble falling asleep at night and trouble waking up in the mornings. I was miserable. When my love for traveling started to overpower my love of teaching preschool I quit my teaching job and completely revamped my life. I went to school for holistic health coaching and started working remotely running my own business. My job became a mission of learning how to be happy and healthy and teach others how to do the same.
It was about 2 years into my health coaching journey that I learned to love mornings. I had heard all the research and arguments about why mornings were better but I was a diehard night owl who adamantly refused to concede to the fact that mornings could be productive and fabulous. But I was far enough along in my personal development journey that I decided to hand myself over to a particular book that came highly recommended. The topic? Morning Routines. I astonishingly became a convert!
Once I was a morning person with a morning routine I was all of sudden also an exercise person and that gave me the push to be more mindful about my eating, which let’s face it, was less than ideal for a health coach. My life was the best it had ever been. I am sure you have had those moments, a small meaningful change in your life starts to transform other aspects of your life in a snowball effect.
My new habits were the Life Savers from the book The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. His six tips not only transform your morning but have a way of transforming every aspect of your life. It is fascinating how a morning routine can change the rest of your day. The lifesavers are the following 6-morning habits:
- Silence- take time to pray or meditate. This can be 2-5 minutes of your time and there are many guided meditations on YouTube or apps (I like calm or headspace) which you can use if you have trouble sitting in silence.
- Affirmations- These are statements about who you are and what you are committed to that you read out loud to yourself. I read mine in front of the mirror.
- Visualization- what are your goals? Close your eyes and visualize yourself doing the actions to achieve them. Do you want to make enough money to travel to Japan? Visualize yourself having a successful sales call at work. What do you hear, smell, feel taste? Keep visualizing yourself successfully completing the small actions that will help you achieve your big goals.
- Exercise- the more you workout, the more you will want to. It truly becomes addicting but if you do not have the time, desire or stamina for a huge workout you can do 2-5 minutes of jumping jacks, crunches, or pushups.
- Reading- Take a few minutes each morning to expand your mind. Commit to 10 minutes or a certain number of pages of a personal development, business, or other Boko that will help you grow.
- Scribing- This is the time to write in your journal. I recommend doing this as soon as you wake up; free-write for 5 minutes. Record your dreams from the night before, intentions for the day, and anything else on your mind.
When I fully incorporated these habits I was not just surviving, I was thriving. I was the happiest and healthiest I had ever been, and that is when it was time for the ultimate test, traveling. How could I travel and not fall completely off balance with all my healthy habits? How does a person travel if they have current dietary restrictions, exercise goals, or sleep routines? It is possible and I would love to share some tips and tricks for how I have successfully traveled multiple times, including to Las Vegas without losing sight of my healthy habits and goals.
First, let’s talk about sleep. If you have healthy sleep habits which include waking up at the same time every day, it can be very jarring for your body to be thrown off it’s known schedule, especially if you have switched time zones. If you have not slept on your flight try your best to rest the first day you arrive at your location and wake up at your regularly scheduled time the next morning. Trying to stick to your wake up time in your residential time zone or travel time zone is up to your discretion; personally, I switch to the time zone I am visiting. Vacation is exciting but try to make a commitment to stick to a healthy sleep schedule as much as possible. I understand if you have gone to a festival, as I sometimes like to do, all sleep schedules will be thrown out the window upon arrival and in this case, make a commitment to rest as much as possible the first day you get home and get back to your regular wake up time the very next day.
If you have an exercise routine try to get your workouts completed first thing in the morning. Set your alarm early enough that you can complete a workout (even if it is just five minutes of intense activity) before your day. If it is possible to try to book hotels that have a gym available to you; if this is not possible you can count activities on your trip like hiking, biking, or dancing towards exercise and not feel guilty for skipping an actual gym. I have also found myself doing jumping jacks, squats, crunches, and lunges in my room at my resort when there were no other options. I know it can be difficult to have enough clothes for exercise as well as for the rest of the day but finding a way to bring your gym shoes will eliminate the grumpy achy feeling you get when you skip a workout your body is accustomed to. I take each outfit and lay it out on my bed and roll it into a little bundle. That way when I open my luggage I can clearly see what is for working out and what is not and I can pick up a pre-rolled bundle when I wake up in the morning to workout. Another hack is to sleep in your workout clothes instead of your pajamas. Not packing lounge clothes frees up space in your luggage for those workout outfits and when you wake up tired and groggy you just need to lace your sneakers, grab your water, and go! I am sure you already know this but if you are a runner please be very cautious about running alone in unfamiliar areas, especially in the evening or early morning. Better to skip the run and do some jumping jacks and pushups in your room if no treadmill is available.
The last thing that can be very difficult when traveling is sticking to a particular diet. I hate the word “diet” because it has become synonymous with losing weight but in reality, it just means a particular eating style. If you are traveling by car meal prep as much as you can at home and bring it with you in a cooler. If you will not have access to a kitchen you can bring foods that can be eaten cold (think veggies and hummus) and buy new ice each day for the cooler. If you are flying, bring your own healthy snacks for the plane. You can not bring liquids through security, but food is fine. Once you arrive at your location find a local grocery and stock up on some healthy snacks so you do not find yourself grabbing junk food on the go. One of the joys of traveling is trying the local cuisine. If this is the case for you to take a moment to close your eyes and breath before ordering and think about your long-term health goals. You can choose food that is delicious but is also one of the healthier choices on the menu! If eating out is stressful to do allergies or an elimination diet then eat before you head to the restaurant or bring your own food. I brought my own dinner to a restaurant in Las Vegas because I wanted to eat with my friends who were dining out. I politely explained I had some dietary restrictions and I left a few dollars tip at the end of the meal, the restaurant staff were very understanding and gracious.
My last piece of advice is to be compassionate with yourself. If staying on track is causing more stress and anxiety than feelings of freedom and accomplishment then allow yourself to step away from your routines and goals and get back on track when you get home. Each day is a new day and just because you are not on track with your goals today does not mean you can try again tomorrow. Enjoy your travels (and your mornings, they really are amazing!).
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