When I run into other busy moms and ask how they’re doing, the most common response I get is, “I’m ok. TIRED!” Whether you work, stay at home, or do a combo of both, life as a mama is exhausting! There is a constant string of demands throughout the day and we often feel like surviving is the best we can do.
Each morning we are gifted a new opportunity to start fresh, and what you do with those first waking hours often sets the course for your entire day. If you find yourself struggling to keep up with those kiddos, there is a strategic way to begin your day that can supercharge your energy all day long.
1. But first, lemon water.
I feel you girlfriend, trying to peel open your eyelids and making a beeline for the coffee pot. But first, I want you to choose lemon water.
We wake up in a dehydrated state as we’ve been breathing and losing water through respiration all night long without replenishing. Your first task for the day is to get a grip on that hydration, ASAP! Studies have shown that even mild dehydration can inhibit your ability to think clearly, decreases energy, and alters your mood. It also stalls your body’s natural detoxification processes and increases cravings.
Starting your day with warm water and the juice of half a lemon is an amazing habit to adopt for all-day energy. Not only are you hydrating first (coffee can come later!) but you are supplying your body with a great source of bio-available vitamin C, aiding detoxification, and prepping your gut for nutrient absorption. This is going to enhance your immune system, improve digestion, and boost metabolism.
I will prep my lemon water the night before by filling the tea kettle with filtered water, setting out a mug, fresh lemon, and lemon squeezer. In the morning, I will start to heat the water while I slice and squeeze the lemon (placing the other half in the fridge for tomorrow). The water should be warm but not boiling. I recommend using a stainless-steel straw to help protect your pearly whites from the acidity of the lemon!
2. Breathe, pretty lady.
Drawing awareness to my breath has had a transformational impact on my life. However, it wasn’t intuitive. I mean, who thinks about their breathing?? It’s one of the few things in my life that is running automatically, and I certainly don’t need one more thing to keep track of.
What I’ve noticed with myself and other busy mamas is that we are constantly operating in a state of shallow breathing that deprives our body of much-needed oxygen. The down-stream effect of this is low energy, increased anxiety, and feeling like a frazzled mess. Rather than use our full-lung capacity to breathe, we have a tendency to take short, shallow breaths. This way of breathing deprives our internal organs of oxygen and impacts productivity, digestion, as well as detoxification.
Take a moment to assess your breathing. Is your belly filling with air as you inhale and exhale, or is your chest rising and falling? What we want is for your belly to slowly expand and contract as you breathe in and out of your nose. When we are in a stressed state we tend to inhale and exhale with an open mouth, taking short breaths that cause our chest to rise and fall.
I understand that mornings can be stressful and it’s difficult to squeeze one more priority into your morning routine. Try this 1-minute breathing exercise to boost productivity and blood oxygen at the start of your day. Make sure to inhale and exhale through your nose.
- Inhale to the count of four
- Hold your breath to the count of four
- Exhale to the count of four
- Hold your breath to the count of four
Repeat this cycle for one minute. I like to do this exercise while I’m waiting for my water to heat up as I’m prepping my lemon water. Tying those two practices together helps solidify the habit. Anytime I feel like I’m lagging throughout the day I will turn my attention to my breath and repeat this exercise. It’s free, can be done anywhere, and will give you more energy than a second cup of coffee!
3. Eat a protein-rich breakfast within 90 minutes of waking.
As a busy mama, making wise food choices can be a challenge. You are constantly being pulled in a million different directions and often end up sacrificing your own needs to take care of your littles. This is why it’s important to make healthy food simple and convenient and to keep reminding yourself that it gets easier with practice.
Breakfast sets the metabolic tone for your day. Reaching for frozen waffles or cereal may be convenient but refined carbohydrates seriously lack the nutrients your body demands for energy and sets you up for a blood sugar crash that will totally kill your momentum and mood. Starting your day with a protein-rich breakfast helps balance blood sugar and sends signals to your brain that trigger satiety. In other words, you are going to feel full and satisfied, not retreating back to the kitchen for a pick-me-up snack two hours later.
Don’t make this more complicated than it has to be. My go-to breakfast options are a fruit-free smoothie with vegan protein powder or eggs with veggies and avocado. If I’m packing a breakfast to eat on-the-go I will choose hardboiled eggs, a 100-calorie guacamole pack, and chopped bell peppers. Leftover veggies from the night before with organic chicken sausage is another easy option.
Looking for a delicious fruit-free smoothie recipe? My Cookie Dough Smoothie is a favorite among my clients and is packed with protein, healthy fats, and a handful of green veggies that you won’t even taste!
There’s need to suffer unnecessarily with low energy and struggle to keep up with those littles. Starting your morning off on the right foot enables you to show up as the mama you want to be all day long! Supercharge your morning routine and you’ll be amazed as your day unfolds.
Lindsay Young is a Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist living in sunny Southern California. She’s a wife, mama of 3, food enthusiast, and embracer of imperfection. Lindsay specializes in helping busy women develop a nutrition and lifestyle plan that fits into their real life, so they can gain health without losing their minds. Feel overwhelmed with how to keep your health & fitness on track? Download her free Busy Women’s Weekly Planner to keep it all together! Come say “Hi!” on Instagram @lindsay.lives.well or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.