5 Ways to Make Sure You Start Your Morning Strong
Morning can set up the mood for your entire day. That’s why it’s important to create a morning routine that helps start your day strong and gets you (and your kiddos) out the door and ready for what the day has in store. So today, in partnership with The Quaker Oats Company, we’ve got five tips to help you have a great #OffYouGo morning and help you leave your house feeling like you can take on the world!
Prepare an Organized Gym Bag
To start your day off on the right foot, we suggest you get on your feet and exercise. We think organization is key in getting yourself to the gym. To aid you in doing so, we’ve created a tote bag with pockets for all of your essentials, including a shoe bag and a towel bag to keep your dirty items separate from your clean clothes after your morning trip to the gym.
– canvas tote
– shoe bags
– iron-on transfer paper
– heat bond
– “Rise and Shine,” “towels” and “shoes” template
– craft foam
– nylon heavy webbing strap
– sewing machine
– fabric scissors
Let’s do this!
First we are going to add towel and shoe bags to the existing tote. Use a sewing machine to hem the shoe bags to a length that will fit inside of your tote. Print the template onto your iron-on transfer paper, then cut out the words “towels” and “shoes” and the phrase “Rise and Shine, It’s Exercise Time.” Iron the “shoes” and “towels” decals to the front of the drawstring bags.
Pin the bags to the inside of the canvas tote. Attach each bag to the sides of the tote by sewing a small 5 x 3-inch rectangle on the inside of the bag (you don’t want to sew it shut!). This will allow you to utilize the drawstring on the bag.
Next we’re going to add a yoga mat strap to the tote. Cut two 23-inch straps from your nylon heavy webbing strap. Pin and sew these onto the bottom of your tote. Attach Velcro to the ends, measuring the straps around your yoga mat to make sure the Velcro is the right length.
Now we need a water bottle holder. Grab your favorite water bottle and trace the bottom onto craft foam. Cut out the foam circle and a 10.5 x 5.5-inch rectangle. Next, cut out pieces of heat bond the same size as the circle and rectangle, and iron them onto the craft foam. Be sure to put the correct side facing down or you’ll get sticky stuff all over your poor iron. Iron the craft foam, heat bond side down, onto a piece of fabric. This time, iron the fabric side — you don’t want to iron the craft foam or it will melt.
Cut out your pieces, leaving about a half-inch border of fabric around the edges. Hem the top edge of the rectangle, then sew the two side edges together to form a cylinder. Pin the circle to the bottom of the cylinder.
Now sew the circle in place. Turn the water bottle holder right side out and pin it to the outside edge of your canvas tote. Sew it to the tote as best you can. We were able to sew about a 1 x 2-inch rectangle at the top of the water bottle holder, and we used Velcro to hold the bottom edge to the bag so it wouldn’t flap around.
Iron on your final decal to the front side of the bag. You’re almost done!
Stuff your bag with all your gym time goodies and #OffYouGo!
Make Time to Work Out
If you’re like us, you might claim you’ll go to the gym after work… but then you are hungry, your favorite show is on and you need to pick up some supplies for your daughter’s science project. The workout gets nixed from the list. Shoot! But if you plan time to go to the gym in the morning, you won’t have any distractions or excuses. It’s a no-brainer, really. Make time for exercise and stick to it!
The buddy system also helps :)
Make a Morning Playlist
There’s no doubt that music can be a huge motivator. So many of us have exercise playlists, work playlists, road trip playlists and relaxation playlists to help us wind down or get pumped up. Morning is no exception, so we suggest you create an #OffYouGo playlist that will get you up and moving like a kid on Christmas morning.
To ease into the day, we recommend starting out with a few mellow songs — your favorite tunes that don’t have strong heavy drum solos or fast beats. Then switch it up to some rock ‘n’ roll or dance music to really get the ball rolling. Keep adding upbeat songs to the list so that you and your kids can happily dance your way out of the house.
Commit to a Morning Meditation
It’s becoming a well-known fact that spending even five minutes meditating can decrease stress, build creativity and influence your entire day. But there is a lot of confusion about what it means to meditate. Many of us were taught that it means completely clearing your mind of all thoughts, but that’s not necessarily the case. There are many ways to meditate. The most important piece is that you sit quietly, breathe, commit to the practice and be in the moment.
Learning to be present has so many benefits, including increased productivity, communication and happiness. If sitting still is your worst nightmare, no worries. There are many online aids to help with meditation, including guided practices that you can download and listen to. As a trained yoga teacher, I’ve got a little exercise you can try.
Five-Minute Morning Meditation
1. Find a comfortable seat and shut your eyes. This doesn’t have to be the cross-legged position you often see — sit in a way that works best for your body. Lay down if that’s most comfy — just don’t fall asleep.
2. Start by listening to all the sounds around you, near and far. Just notice them and listen. (30 seconds)
3. Now focus your attention on your body, moving from the feet all the way to the top of the head, paying attention to how each individual part feels. (1 minute)
4. Next, pay attention to your breath. Deepen it and start to count your inhalations and your exhalations. Breathe in for a count of four, hold for four, exhale for four, hold your breath out for four. Continue this pattern or increase the count if you are comfortable doing so. (1 minute)
5. Allow your mind to wander. (30 seconds)
6. In your head, say five positive affirmations and repeat these over and over. For example, “I am good enough.” (1 minute)
7. Again, focus your attention on the sounds around you. (30 seconds)
8. Slowly start to move your body, rotating your wrists, ankles and neck. Open your eyes and feel gratitude for the time you allowed yourself to meditate. (30 seconds)
If this doesn’t sound up your alley, I dare you to try it. Five minutes accounts for a fraction of your day, and it’s worth sparing for the benefits of the practice.
Drink a Power-Packed Smoothie
Okay, now that you’re organized, energized by music and present from your meditation practice, and feeling good from your trip to the gym, it’s time to nourish your bod with an amazingly delicious and nutritious smoothie that includes 100% whole grain Quaker Oats. With this added ingredient, you’ll raise the nutritional value of your breakfast and it will fill you up until lunch!
– ⅓ cup Quaker Oats
– 1 teaspoon flax seeds
– 1 cup coconut milk
– 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
– ¾ cup frozen pineapple
– 1 banana
Grab your blender!
Place ⅓ cup Quaker Oats and about a teaspoon of flax seeds into a blender. Mix until the oats become the consistency of flour.
Add the remaining ingredients.
Blend your smoothie until it’s nice and smooth…ie :)
If you keep your smoothie in a thermos, it will stay cool should you want to take it to the gym. The sealed top also allows you to shake your drink in case the ingredients separate. Make your smoothie the night before, pop it into the fridge and then bring it in your gym bag in the morning.
That’s it, folks! We hope these tips will help make mornings a breeze.
What other morning rituals do you have to fuel your day? Share them with us in the comments!
This post is in collaboration with The Quaker Oats Company.
DIY Production and Styling: Roxy Taghavian and Kelly Bryden
Photography: Chris Andre
Modeling: Misty Spinney, Cameron Rivinus, Marisa Kumtong, Ashley Perlman