Adrenal Recovery Challenge ~ Week 2: Creating a Gentle Morning Routine
If your sleep and the means of getting it are the most important piece of the adrenal puzzle, certainly a close second is the manner of waking up. You do not want to start your day in a state of high stress. Gentleness in our morning routine is the name of the game in dealing with our over-stressed, over-wrought bodily systems.
So, the challenge this week will be to establish a morning routine that will enable us to step confidently and calmly into our day, by spending the first hour or so gently waking our body.
While you are still in your bed
If you don’t have to set an alarm and begin your day by a specific time, I would encourage, during this time of healing, that you wake naturally. And once awake, don’t continue trying to sleep. However, I realize this a luxury most of us cannot indulge. After all, we didn’t get into this stressed out state by living relaxed lives of luxury. Most of us have lives full of commitments that require us to rise early. And while we all know from experience that the snooze button (and those extra minutes of restless sleep it affords you) is not our friend, a few extra minutes in the bed is a wonderful luxury which I strongly encourage. But you need to be intentional with that time, so as not to fall asleep.
I like to keep a bottle of lemon water on my nightstand overnight, so I can take a few sips of water first thing in the morning. You lose a tremendous amount of fluids throughout the night by sweating, and along with the fluids necessary minerals and electrolytes. The addition of lemon (and some even recommend a pinch of Himalayan salt, but I can’t seem to choke that down), adds trace minerals that help your cells to reabsorb the fluids it needs.
Most of us need to stretch out our and muscles joints in the morning, as stiffness sets in while you lay still all night. Stretching does a couple of things that are super-helpful for adrenal fatigue sufferers. First, it moves the lymphatic fluid which tends to collect around your connective tissues contributing to your body’s stiffness in the morning. Second, stretching increases blood flow to your muscles, giving you more energy to start your day.
Take the first moments of your day and commit them to God. You can do this while still in bed, but don’t lie down. 🙂 Spend time in silence, listening to God speak wisdom and peace to your heart. Wait for His guidance for your day. In a few minutes, you’re going to begin planning and working your plan. Take these quiet moments beforehand to get direction from God.
Move to the Kitchen
Once you have gently greeted your day, you should fuel up your body in a way that will continue to energize you for the day ahead. Folks with adrenal fatigue need to eat within 30 minutes of waking. All glucose is depleted from your nighttime bodily processes and must be replenished. You do not need to eat a large breakfast, especially if you don’t feel particularly hungry, but you should eat a complete breakfast, consisting of complex carbohydrates, a protein, and healthy fats. If you wish to eat fruit, low-glycemic fruits such as berries are a better choice for breakfast as they won’t cause your blood sugar to spike.
A word about coffee. Caffeine is not your friend if you suffer from adrenal fatigue. Caffeine activates the adrenal glands. Adrenaline is released every time you drink coffee. Adrenal glands that are already compromised cannot continue to be subject to this strain. That said, as with all parts of our healing, we have to approach this in a gradual manner and not cold-turkey. Any abrupt change to your body’s rhythms can actually release more stress hormones into your body. If you have a coffee habit, you should try to reduce your regular dose of caffeine by cutting your coffee with decaf, and gradually increasing the ratio of decaf coffee.
Another option is to switch to green tea. While it still contains caffeine, one cup of green tea only contains half the caffeine of one cup of coffee. Green tea also has many health benefits, not the least of which is helping to maintain a healthy weight. Green tea increases a person’s metabolic rate as well as actually burns fat tissue.
Try to find 15 minutes in the morning to breathe fresh air, stand or walk in the sun, and if you’re open to the idea, walk barefoot on the dewy grass. We were created to live on this earth, but how often do we really get out and enjoy that privilege? If you cannot make this part of your morning routine, at least open up the blinds or curtains, and on pleasant days, open the windows for an hour or so. The oxygen and vitamin are so life-giving, and you will feel so much more energized and ready to start your day.
Your day will go so much more smoothly if you decide on 1-3 goals that you want to achieve and fit them into your day’s structure. All the better, if you can fit them in before noon. Then if you need more time to accomplish them, you will have some time later in the day. To further help you achieve your goals, close your eyes, and envision your day going just as you want it to. Envision yourself meeting obstacles with grace. Later, when obstacles arise, you will not be surprised by them, and the stress will be minimized. As you plan, be sure to include plenty of margin between your day’s activities. Frustrations will come, but their blows will be so much greater of you don’t allow any time cushion them.
To further help you achieve your goals, close your eyes, and envision your day going just as you want it to. Envision yourself meeting obstacles with grace. Later, when obstacles arise, you will not be surprised by them, and the stress will be minimized. As you plan, be sure to include plenty of margin between your day’s activities. Frustrations will come, but their blows will be lessened if you allow some pockets of time to cushion them.
Begin your day
Just a couple more strategies to help you step lightly into your day. Try to begin the day with something you enjoy. Having something to look forward to shortly after waking up will motivate you to get started on your day. It doesn’t matter what it is. Reading, painting, jigsaw puzzles, gardening. Consult your LifeCraft list, and choose something that you would enjoy doing before everyone else needs your time and attention. Just 15-30 minutes is enough to improve your mood as well as your mental clarity.
To signal the end of your personal morning routine, and the beginning of your shared day with the rest of your familly, consider creating an upbeat playlist. Joyful music can help keep the morning running smoothly as everyone gets their breakfast and takes care of their grooming. And you can help elevate the mood of your family as well. Choose your music based on your family dynamic. Upbeat can mean different things to different people. Some families might prefer more energetic, driving music. And others might enjoy a more lilting, gentle sound first thing in the morning.
Family members might also appreciate some uplifting essential oils. If you have a diffuser, consider diffusing a wake-up blend of 3 drops of orange, 3 drops of grapefruit, and 2 drops of peppermint.
Mornings aren’t so bad, now are they?
Spend some time this week creating your own personal morning routine. For more tips and resources (including some great yoga poses for your morning stretch time as well as some alternative essential oil blends), sign up below to receive the Adrenal Recover Challenge Newsletter. Then hop on over to Facebook to be a part of the private Facebook group ‘Healing our Hormones‘. Let’s encourage one another, and share our great ideas on how to have a great morning!
Sign up for the ADRENAL RECOVERY CHALLENGE here!