Three super-simple wellness habits to get a better start to your day (and WHY)

Super-simple wellness habits!

Real wellness doesn’t have to be complicated. And sometimes, I think we can become overwhelmed at all the things being sold to us or all the things being talked about on social media that we think there’s no chance we can do it all. If we don’t know where to start, then we don’t start. But you don’t have to do it all. You just have to have some healthy simple habits and stick to them consistently. 

I know from my recent blog-reader survey that a lot of you are busy full-time working ladies (many are mommas too), who really don’t have much time to yourself. You want to feel healthy, but you are constantly in a rush. I get it. And this post will feature very simple things to add to your routine, that won’t slow you down in the morning or throughout the day.

I’m sharing three simple wellness habits in this one, including one that has totally helped me recently.

Three super-simple wellness habits to get a better start to your day (and WHY)

Three super-simple wellness habits to get a better start to your day (and WHY) by A Lady Goes West

Let’s get to the wellness habits …

1. Optimal hydration with a twist: Start your day with a big glass of water, and add some sea salt to it. Drink this before anything else, shortly after you wake up.

I’m not going to include “drink more water” in this post. Because you always hear that. What I’m going to share with you is a little health tip I started about three months ago, and I’ve felt a huge difference in my overall hydration throughout the entire day just from this.

I add a sprinkle of pink Himalayan sea salt to my water every morning. I had heard about this salt trick a long time ago, but finally implemented it after reading about it again in Shawn Stevenson’s latest book, “Eat Smarter” (which I would definitely recommend as a great resource).

I don’t add the sea salt all day, just that first big glass. Doing this gives your water only a slight salt taste, but nothing bad or displeasing. And those little salt crystals serve as electrolytes, helping your body to get extra hydrated. The salt gives your water structure, and there is potassium and other trace minerals in there to nourish your cells.

Sea salt water in the morning by A Lady Goes West

And if you take nothing else from this post, I encourage you to try to add in some sea salt to your water in the morning. Then drink the whole thing, right after you wake up, and definitely before you have any coffee/tea/juice/breakfast. This is your rehydration process, and the sea salt gives it a super power. If you’ve ever drank a ton of regular water and felt like you were still dehydrated, that’s because sometimes your water needs structure with more electrolytes, and that’s where the sea salt comes in.

Now, I’m not talking about the white-clear table salt you find at restaurants. I’m talking about sea salt, so make sure that’s what you’re using. There are all sorts of different quality levels, and I usually get my sea salt from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. 

Back to my experience: I have felt more hydrated all day, based on this initial 32-ounces of sea salt-infused water I drink every morning. And I also feel a little boost of energy from it. Now, this is an essential part of my daily routine, and it takes no time at all. I literally can’t start my day without it. I crave it. Maybe you want to see if it’s something you enjoy too?

Salt water in the morning by A Lady Goes West

2. Planned movement: Before you wake up in the morning, you should already have a plan for if/when you will work out the next day and exactly what you will be doing and when. 

There’s nothing worse than knowing you should work out, but not having any idea of what to do. In fact, this is probably the reason a lot of workouts are skipped.

While I don’t think you have to follow a planned program, I do think you need to operate with a loose plan in mind for your movement each week, and that means having the next day planned before you go to bed at night. This will help you stay consistent, and this will take away all that decision fatigue, which doesn’t need to be wasted on your workouts. (Because we know we each have a million decisions to make each day on the spot. And getting these workout decisions done ahead of time means you don’t have to worry about them.) Especially if you are an early birdie exerciser, you need to know exactly what you are going to be doing, so you don’t waste time making the decision once you get up and get your workout clothes on.

You can do this planning weekly. For instance: If you know you are going to work out three times a week, then plan those days as Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and plan on what time you will fit it in. Then, you need to choose the exact workout, i.e. a 20-minute outdoor run in your neighborhood, a 15-minute Peloton yoga session or a 45-minute class at your favorite studio. You want to make sure you include cardio, strength and maybe flexibility in your week too.

Write these workouts in your calendar during the times you have available, and wake up each morning knowing exactly when and how you will exercise. You won’t complete them every day, but you can sure try. And yes, you will schedule in rest days. And if it’s a rest day, you don’t have to keep thinking “should I work out today”? Because you won’t need to.

Three super simple wellness habits by A Lady Goes West

To get more specific: I would recommend making specific days for specific activities, and sticking with them (while allowing flexibility for work and life as needed). You could make Mondays and Wednesdays your weight-training days and Tuesdays and Thursdays your cardio days. I’ve written a few posts on how to schedule your workouts, and you can refer back to this one for some extra guidance:

But what matters most is that you wake up, start your day and mentally know if you are working out or not, and you know exactly what you’ll be doing. The more specific your plans, the better, and the more likely you are to complete that planned workout.

For me, it’s easy, because I know that most days, my workout will take place when I teach my classes or practice for my classes mid-morning at the gym. But when I was primarily working out at home, I kept some days as days I knew I’d do weights and other days I knew I’d do cardio.

During the year when I worked out exclusively at home due to COVID, if I didn’t have an exact workout picked out, and I was staring at the screen of Les Mills+ (formerly Les Mills On Demand) or Peloton wondering what to do, I would waste so much time internally deciding what I was in the mood for — this ultimately meant I did a shorter workout from that wasted time too. And by the way, if you use either of these streaming programs (Les Mills or Peloton) for your workouts, you can screenshot or bookmark the ones you want to do. Or, even better, you can follow one of their planned programs, because both Les Mills+ and Peloton offer programs with workout calendars you can follow. I highly recommend that.

And here’s a post detailing a bit more on these programs:

A note on the timing of your workouts: If you have kiddos, early morning workouts before they get up are usually ideal. But if that doesn’t work for you, invest in a gym or studio with kid-care, or try to sneak the workout in during your kiddos’ naps or while they are at school.

And one more reminder: Your workouts don’t need to be long. A great 20-minute session can be totally sufficient. Even if it’s short, have a plan for it, so you can get your day started on the right note. And yes, the chugging of the sea salt water happens before the workout. 

3. Purposeful wake-ups: Instead of immediately reaching for your phone when you wake up, leave it be, and open your windows for some natural light on your eyes instead.

You will have a better start to your day if you don’t start your day with your nose in your phone. And I know you’ve heard this a million times, and I hope you’ve at least tried it out.

This tip is so very, very simple, but it could really provide a good boost. There’s not only the mental distraction and derailing of checking your email or checking social media, but there’s also the physical aspect. Our bodies like natural light first thing in the morning, so you should totally seek it out. And I know a lot of you wake up when it’s still dark, so that’s fine — just don’t go right to your phone, and as soon as the sun comes up, head outside for a moment of sunlight on your face, or head to the nearest window. This literally takes no time at all and can be very beneficial, and I had to include it on our list of simple wellness habits.

Of course, there are a lot of things you can do to improve your sleep (which ultimately improves your day), and we’ve covered a lot of them before, like going to bed and waking up at consistent times, avoiding evening caffeine, powering down technology at least an hour before bed, cooling your room and more. But another way to improve your sleep is to expose yourself to sunlight first thing in the morning to support your natural circadian rhythm (this works best when you actually step outside, by the way). And that’s another reason to start your day this way.

Three simple wellness habits by A Lady Goes West

Here’s another post with some sleep-hygiene tips: 

It took me a long time to actually control the “phone in the bed” habit, but once I did, I realized I wasn’t missing anything without using it in the bed. Now, I don’t look at my phone until right before I start my quick morning meditation (and at that time, I don’t check anything, just go straight to the Headspace app). And before that, I’ve already hopped out of bed to open the windows. This process energizes me, gets me moving and tells my body it’s time to start the day and rev up.

Yes, I absolutely check my phone and email and notifications in the morning, but I wait to do all of that until I’ve had my sunlight, had my sea salt water, gotten myself organized and am ready for what’s next. This works for me. It’s a very small habit that goes a long way.

And those are my tips on super-simple wellness habits!

My three wellness habits by A Lady Goes West

(In the pictures in this post, I’m wearing these leggings in a medium, using this stainless steel water cup, and here’s a similar sweater.)

Thanks for making it through this post on wellness habits, and I hope you found at least some of it helpful. Please let me know in the comments if you already do some of these things or plan to try them out! 🙂 xoxo

Other posts you may like …

Questions of the day …

What’s one part of your morning routine that you know you do well?

What’s one part of your morning routine that you need to improve?

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12 Comments

  1. I’ve got #2 on the list down pat. I’m definitely going to start trying #1. I already have organic pink Himalayan salt so this is an easy addition for me. I know those Liquid IV sticks are all the rage right now and I haven’t tried those, but this seems like a free way to get those electrolytes in first thing. Thanks for sharing!

    xoxo.

    1. Hi Courtney! I figured you would have your workouts scheduled and planned. And let me know what you think of the sea salt water. So, YES, Liquid IV has a lot of electrolytes, and I drink those sometimes, but I wouldn’t rely on them every morning, because they do have sugar, and I feel like the sea salt water is a cleaner first thing option. But I like the Liquid IV mid-day if I’m at the pool or had a lot of wine, ya know … 🙂 Happy Monday, my friend. Have a great start to your week!

  2. cold or warm water for you?

    I try to do warm water with lemon in the morning.

    I’m really good about my phone, it goes into sleep mode at 10pm and when I wake up, after I silence the alarm on my phone it goes in the pocket of my robe and then I “wake up the house” turn on lights, open a window, put on morning music, turn on the water for coffee and have my water!

    Love these tips.

    Are you still tongue scraping? I haven’t gotten in the habit with that one yet…

    1. Hi Sabrina! That’s so great you do warm lemon water — I was just not a fan of that as much as I tried, whereas I like the sea salt water. I think you can use warm or cold, and I do somewhat cold water. I LOVE to hear that you have some phone boundaries and a good morning routine — you are killing it! I am absolutely still scraping my tongue right after I get up and right before bed, and Dave does it too. It’s weird, but you get used to it! 🙂 Have a great week, my friend! Keep up your awesome healthy habits!

  3. Hi Ashley! I actually wanted to ask if you’re still doing the tongue scraping, but I see you’ve answered it above 🙂 Have you noticed any benefits? I know there are benefits, just wondered whether they were noticeable. I bought myself one today, so I am excited to start using it. I have gotten into the habit of drinking a big glass of water first thing in the morning outside to get some sunlight and fresh air, and I have found that this helps with my headaches. I often wake up with a headache, and then it stays with me through the day, but this habit does seem to be helping! I definitely need to work on not looking at my phone first thing though. Have a lovely week!

    1. Hi Shelby, I used to get bad headaches all the time when we lived in a tiny city apartment, and I never officially figured it out, but I think it was actually pollution and air quality from our old building and living on a low level with windows open and no A/C. I doubt that’s your issue, but just felt like mentioning it. I’m glad you are in the habit of having water outside in the sunshine — that’s amazing. So for tongue scraping, Dave and I have been doing it for years. It’s supposed to help with fresh breath, and for me, I feel like it makes my mouth feel cleaner and gets rid of the “overnight taste” you can sometimes have, you know? It’s also suppose to improve your taste, but I don’t know if I think that. I am so used to doing it, I like to have a clean tongue, but truthfully, I can’t pinpoint any major game changing benefits on myself. But I will not stop doing it now heheh! 🙂 Hope that helps, let me know if you notice anything when you start scraping. Have a great week!

      1. I get what you’re saying with the overnight taste haha! I also heard it can help digestion but even if I don’t feel any noticeable benefits, I do like the idea of it and will continue! Your headache thing makes perfect sense, even though I don’t live in a super polluted area, I don’t think the air quality is as good as I’d like to think it is! Fresh air is always good!

  4. I like that you included the Why behind each tip! I’m really good at drinking a big glass of water first thing but never thought to add sea salt, I’m going to try that tomorrow! In the morning I like to enjoy my coffee, pup snuggles, read for about 40 minutes, and practice some journaling/gratitude.

    1. I love your morning routine — and mine also includes pup snuggles. Let me know how you like the sea salt, Jessie! 🙂 Have a great rest of the week!

  5. Hi Ashley,

    I like your tips and need to try adding sea salt to water, you made me curious.

    I plan my workouts and meals every week so that bit is OK and makes life so much easier.
    My morning routine is very baby-oriented at the moment, you just prompted me to do something for myself each morning. Thank you 🙂

    1. Hi Andrea! I love to hear that you already plan your workouts and meals — a big necessity as mom to a little one, but of course, things always happen to derail us. Let me know if you try the sea salt in your water! 🙂 Have a great day!

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