Three New Habits to Enhance Your Morning Routine

Breaking up is hard to do, especially when it comes to our habits. Okay, so some habits—brushing our teeth, signaling before we turn, minding our Ps and Qs—are necessary for our personal and social well-being. What we’re talking about here are those other habits, the ones that, ultimately, might not make us feel so hot in the long haul: staring at screens, rushing through our morning, not moving our bodies enough.

If you’re looking to establish a brand-new set of health-enhancing habits, here are three suggested replacements for tired old routines that can revitalize your entire being and get your day off to a great start.

Instead of looking at your phone when you wake up, do a body scan.

Though it’s tempting to get sucked into the Insta story of your best friend’s cousin’s dream vacation in Corsica while still groggy-eyed, all that rose-gold-filtered stimulation might be too taxing on your delicate senses first thing in the morning. Here’s something that could be more enlivening: Rather than reaching for your smartphone, try doing a mindful body scan, turning down the volume on the digital notifications and tuning into the sensation of the breath moving in and out of your body.

Before pounding the coffee, sip hot water with lemon.

For many of us, that first jolt of caffeine is essential in order to feel like a functioning human being. But what if there were an extra step that came before swigging the java? According to Ayurveda, starting your day with a mug of warm water, with a slice or squeeze of lemon added, gently flushes the system, cleansing the stomach and liver and stimulating the gall bladder and lymph. Then go for the coffee—or, if you’re ready to make a big change, find out how Erin Casperson, Dean of the Kripalu School of Ayurveda, said goodbye to her morning joe.

Stretch before you sit—and throughout the day.

Many of us spend our days driving and commuting to desk jobs, stressing our low backs and hip flexors. You can take a stand to address tightness by starting your workday with a stretch—it doesn’t need to be a repertoire of elaborate yoga poses, just a few simple moves that lengthen your major muscle groups (arms, chest, shoulders, back, hips, legs). Even better: Get up every hour and repeat the stretch to promote circulation, refresh your tissues, and keep you energized all day long.