3 Healthy Ways To Use Your Phone in The Morning
When the alarm clock goes off (for those who use them), do you...
A) ease into your day.
B) get right up and hit the ground running.
C) hit snooze or groggily get out of bed without much thought about how you’re starting the day.
What if you gave yourself permission to take 7 minutes (or even 3 minutes) in the morning to put on your oxygen mask and nurture yourself (after you greet others good morning, if they're awake, of course)? This could make a world of difference to your heart, mind, soul and strength.
Your mental, spiritual and physical well-being will thank you—all within the first 3-7 minutes. I share some practical soul care and self-care tips to help get you up on the right side of the bed. If you prefer not to use your phone, that's fine, too.
1. Disclaimer: Use an alarm and not your phone to awaken you. Make sure your phone is in another room overnight, this creates a healthy social media/online boundary. Grab your cellphone and listen. Choose from one of the suggested meditation apps or use them all. I recommend that you spread out your use of them by considering which you'll use throughout your week day and on your weekend. Click on the images to discover more.
Yes, you heard me correctly. After the alarm goes off, pause and agree to only use your phone as your gateway to enter into a rhythm of guarding your inner being (and your mental health). This means you'll have to practice resisting the temptation to scroll through your social media feeds or checking the news.
The last thing you need in the morning is to activate your sympathetic nervous system, which regulates the body's unconscious actions by stimulating the fight-or-flight response.
During this 3-7 minute period, put your phone on "Do Not Disturb." Of course, if you prefer not to use your phone for these three suggested SOULutions, they can all be done old-school style.
My heart's desire is that those who do interact with a phone in the morning would have a healthy alternative.
Listen & Meditate with either of the following: the Proverbs, narrated by Max McLean, Founder and Artistic Director of Fellowship for Performing Arts, the Calm App, The Centering Prayer App, the Abide App for Christian meditation.2. Engage in a guided belly breathing session
Time given: 2-3 minutes
Breathing affects your relaxation response. Belly breathing, unlike chest breathing, fully expand your lungs and activates the relaxation response by supplying an excess of oxygen to the blood.
This creates a reserve of oxygen rich fuel for the body to draw upon, when needed, and it contributes to balancing your emotions. As the body senses this energy reserve it then begins to relax. The Breathe2Relax app provides:
Instructional videos on belly breathing
Body Scanner to describe how each part of the body reacts to stress
Tips and more
Download the Breathe2Relax app to engage in diaphragmatic breathing.
3. Think of 3 things or people you’re grateful for
Time given: 1-2 minutes
Let’s be women known for our gratitude—it might be a good night's sleep, it might be the trust your sleepless baby has in you, or your achy back that reminds you to call upon the Good Physician.
Gratitude likes to hide out in the most unlikely places, but we're empowered by the Spirit to seek it out, just like when we were kids excitedly playing hide & seek.
If you’re not in the best mood when you awaken, don't beat yourself up... pause and reorient with gratitude, this simple exercise can help.
Numerous studies have shown the link between gratitude and overall well-being. Research shows that gratitude can improve sleep, enhance empathy, reduce aggression, improve relationships, lower blood pressure, and strengthen the immune system.
You can use a journal or if you prefer to use your note taking app, either one can help you keep your entries organized for future reference. I turned an old Bible into my prayer/doodle journal.
If you're not big on writing and you prefer visuals, take pictures of what you're grateful for and create a digital album to store on any cloud service: Google Photos, Evernote, Google Keep, Dropbox, etc.
You could even text yourself a gratitude note to begin your day. Or if you prefer the handwritten approach, download the "My Values & My Gratitude" printable.
(Download this 2- page, interactive worksheet. It helps you identify & focus on your values and track your daily gratitude.)
When you get out of bed... Now that you've centered yourself and put on your oxygen mask:
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Your brain and body are about 75% water. To start your day drink water to replenish the loss of water throughout your night's sleep (and continue to integrate it throughout your day).
Your brain depends on proper hydration to function optimally. Brain cells require a delicate balance between water and several elements to operate, and when you lose too much water, that balance is disrupted. Your brain cells lose efficiency.
Researchers have found that when we're parched, we have more difficulty keeping our attention focused. Dehydration can impair short-term memory function and the recall of long-term memory. The ability to perform mental arithmetic, like calculating whether or not you'll be late for an appointment or work if you hit snooze for another 15 minutes, is compromised when your fluids are low.
Recipe One: I start my days with turmeric water. I combine turmeric, pepper (to absorb the turmeric better), honey, coconut oil, and hot water. Add ingredients to taste, no measurements needed.
- Reduces inflammation and helps boost antioxidant levels.
- Keeps your immune system healthy.
- Improves brain’s oxygen intake to you alert and able to process information.
Recipe Two: Blend room temperature or cold water, green leafy vegetables, blueberries, avocado, and coconut oil for an easy brain smoothie! You can experiment with many blends of fruit and veggies to see what you come up with. Add ingredients to taste, no measurements needed.
Blended Water Benefits
- Blueberries protect your brain from oxidative stress.
- Coconut oil raises the good HDL cholesterol in your blood, which is linked to reduced heart disease risk. It provides your body and brain with quick energy.
- Green leafy veggies like spinach, kale, or collard greens are good sources of vitamin E and folate (folate is a B-vitamin).
- Avocadoes help to keep a healthy blood flow.
Put on music that inspires you or listen to water or nature sounds to relax you. This causes your brain to release dopamine (and other "good-feeling hormones").
Identify what you truly value and prioritize based on your productivity capacity, which is distinct from your productivity. Your productivity capacity will vary based on several factors: personal development, focus, goals, emotions, maturity and mental health to name a few.
Significant: Your productivity derives from your capacity. Think goose (productivity capacity) and think golden egg (productivity). Advice - Nurture and treasure the goose (you) far more than you do your golden eggs (the results).
Keep experimenting to discover a sustainable morning rhythm that works for you. This will be rewarding to rehearse to help you adopt a cognitive reframing, which attunes you to Jesus' love.
Truly, you can be an advocate and ambassador of your own well-being to welcome your own belovedness each day.
It's also a more hospitable and sustainable way to nurture yourself when you don't plunge right into listening to all of the many voices, before listening to the One voice that matters the most.
Links for further discovery
Subscribe & Listen to my Soul Care Podcasts:
Gratitude & overall well-being Gratitude improves sleep
LEAVE A COMMENT: What do you do with the first seven minutes after you awaken? What does attending to your well-being look like most mornings? Please share your tips or recommendations. I'd enjoy sharing them.