A conscious morning routine can help you tackle the challenges of daily life. How exactly? Simon Kersten, yoga coach and former tennis pro, has the answer: five steps for a healthy morning routine.
Good things take time. This is also the case when it comes to relaxation. You don’t need to turn your life upside down overnight in order to counteract the effects of the daily hustle and bustle. Making small changes in our day-to-day lives is often enough to get us closer to our goal. To get the day off to a good start, the Zurich-based yoga coach Simon Kersten recommends practising a morning routine. Because, according to Kersten, “How we start a fresh, new day has an influence on our well-being.”
Helsana Coach will show you how to create your own morning routine. A short meditation is a relaxing way to start the day.
Keeping your mind fit is essential if you want to be able to perform to the best of your ability. “Subconsciously, I’ve always had a morning routine, which used to be going for a run. Nowadays, I prefer a calmer start to the day,” says Kersten. Meditation and breathing exercises are his go-tos. Even just three minutes are enough. One hand on the chest and the other on the stomach, feeling the breath as it flows through the body. “Many people have forgotten how to simply do nothing, how to endure this quietness. But in doing so, you discover so much about yourself. What thoughts pop into your mind? Just let them come and go.” The calmness and relaxation have a lasting effect. “You’re more focused, motivated and balanced throughout the day.”
Tip: you can find a simple guide in the blog article Four breathing exercises for relaxation.
What’s the first thing you do in the morning? Check your phone? It’s best to wait, stresses Kersten, “Otherwise, your thoughts will already be flooded with things to do, appointments, the news.” Scientists also agree that our thoughts affect our health. So, don’t leave any room for negative thoughts to sneak in.
Tip: take the stress test and uncover your mental stress triggers.
Most people are now working from home as a result of the coronavirus. Are you among them? Then routine is key. Get up at the same time every day and try to maintain a healthy morning routine. You’ll start the day feeling replenished.
Finland and other Nordic countries are well-known for swimming in lakes all year round. You can do this in Switzerland, too – as long as you live near a river or a lake, like Kersten. He goes for a dip in Lake Zurich every morning, which makes “you feel like you’ve been reborn.” Whether it’s a cold shower or an ice-cold bath, the body’s response to the cold strengthens the immune system. Blood tests have shown that white blood cells, or leukocytes, increase after a 150-metre swim in cold water at a temperature of 6°C. It’s the best way to protect your body from inflammation.
Is exercise not really your thing? Start out with two to three feel-good stretches, such as “cycling” while lying in bed, stretching out your arms, doing head circles, stretching your neck or the cat-cow pose. Doing this activates the metabolism and boosts flexibility. Slowly increase your routine by incorporating exercises for strength and stamina. After all, people who are active in the morning start the day with a sense of achievement and have more time for other things in the evening.
A positive morning routine doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes time for changes to cement themselves in your routine. “Failure often happens because people try to change too many things at once,” Kersten emphasises. “Practise the same ritual for two weeks.” Ten minutes are enough for your morning routine to begin with. Start out with some breathing exercises and stretches. Then, later on, add some yoga or another form of morning exercise. After two weeks, try 15 to 20 minutes – adjust your schedule accordingly. Want to make a start? There’s no time like the present! Short exercise sessions such as Simon Kersten’s yoga video are the perfect way to get started.
Simon Kersten was a professional tennis player for many years. Nowadays, he’s passionate about yoga and all kinds of HIIT (high-intensity interval training). He founded athleticflow together with his wife Nora and combines yoga and HIIT in a new kind of training. Simon Kersten runs the Helsana courses with Urbanrise. He gave the editorial team advice and input for this article.
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