The number one concern I hear from my clients when we talk about choosing healthier daily habits is that they don't have a lot of time — and that's been true even during the pandemic, when a lot of people have been working remotely.
Here are some ideas to help give your morning wellness routine a little extra boost:
Some of the stretches that feel the best can be done just after you wake up. Gently roll out from under the covers, stand beside the bed and do a mini version of a sun salute: Start with your arms by your sides and reach up with your hands above your head. Focus on your breathing as you lower your arms back down.
Instead of drinking your coffee while reading your work emails, try sipping your coffee while doing some breathing and meditation exercises. Inhale for a count of four, hold for a count of four and then exhale for a count of four. Repeat several times.
After you hit “blend” for your smoothie, do 10 rapid-fire squats. Start with your feet as wide as your hips, then lower down into a squat. Do this 10 times, while making sure to keep your back straight. Enjoy your smoothie reward when you're done.
Take the time to squeeze in a quick ab workout while taking a shower. Standing with your feet shoulder width apart — make sure your shower floor isn't slippery — then pick up a full bottle of shampoo or conditioner and twist your body to engage your core. If you don’t have a nearly-full bottle of shampoo or conditioner, just point your arms straight in front of you.
Moisturizing your body is one of the best things you can do for your skin. Applying lotion on your back can seem like a struggle for most, but if you use it as an opportunity to work on your flexibility, then you’re doubling up the benefits.
Put your right arm behind your neck and the left arm behind your back. The goal is to join your hands together.
Applying eye makeup can take some serious concentration. While you’re doing your eyeliner or eye shadow, try holding your breath for 10 seconds, then inhaling for five seconds. Do this three times to relax while perfecting your look and preparing yourself for the day.
You never know how strong your arms are until you’re trying to curl your hair. Make sure you’re holding the curling iron or wand like you would a weight. Keep your arm at a 90-degree angle and make sure to only hold your hair around the wand for a maximum of 10 seconds. If curling isn't your thing, blow-drying your hair will also help work your arm muscles.
Why bother ironing your outfit when you can steam it in 30 seconds and improve your balance at the same time? One of my favorite ways to steam my outfit is while balancing on one foot. This engages your core while your clothes release their wrinkles.
Try putting on your shoes while you touch your toes. Make sure to keep your legs straight without locking your knees. This can help with your flexibility while you tie or slip on your shoes.
Making a salad for lunch can help you up your overall greens and veggie intake while also acting like a shake-weight. Prepare your salad and then put it in a container with a lid and shake it up. Once you add in your toppings and greens (leave out the dressing) shake your container up and down for a minute.
Whether you're still commuting to your workplace or you're just transporting yourself from your bed to your computer, taking a little break to properly stretch out your neck can be a great morning tension tamer. Roll your neck from the right side to the left side and back again — just don't roll it backwards. Do this for about 30 seconds.
Stephanie Mansour is a health & fitness expert and weight-loss coach for women.