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An RD Shares Her Top 5 Ways To Have A Productive Morning

September 18, 2017
Registered Dietitian
By Lisa Hayim
Registered Dietitian
Lisa Hayim, M.S. R.D. is a wellness enthusiast. She received her master's in nutrition and exercise physiology from Columbia University.
Photo by Miachel Breton
September 18, 2017

Unlike most of my fellow wellness enthusiasts who enjoy waking up before the sun, I am not a morning person. I grew up with poor morning habits—snoozing the alarm clock, rushing through (or oftentimes altogether missing) breakfast, and always starting my day with my cortisol (stress hormone) levels cranked to its highest degree. This was the only life I knew.

In the last five to 10 years, I’ve realized that I have the power to control my own mornings and that this stressful morning life I once knew was simply a habit, not necessarily the way things had to be. During my dietetic internship, I had very early hours, sometimes having to be at the hospital by 5:30 a.m. This is where I learned that proper preparation and a solid morning ritual are actually the keys to thriving—a word I would have never associated with the morning!

Photo: Miachel Breton

In order to create a little extra time in the morning, I also picked up this pro tip: Prepping breakfast the night before is key. I learned that I need something easy to make, easy to eat, and that will hold me over until my lunch break, providing my body with the nutrients it wants. Recently I found Quaker Overnight Oats: Each single-serve container features a flavorful blend of oats, quinoa, flaxseed, fruit, and nuts—giving you the nutrition you want to help start your day. All you have to do is add your dairy or non-dairy milk of choice and let it cold-steep overnight in the refrigerator! Just a little bit of prep the night before and breakfast is ready to enjoy the next day.

After my internship, though I no longer had to wake up before the sun (on most days), I have taken with me the valuable lesson of choosing to create a peaceful morning. I have created a foolproof ritual that helps me stay calm and sets the tone for a positive-minded day. If you're looking to create a morning ritual but feel you do not have the time, give Quaker Overnight Oats a try. I personally enjoy using the extra time that I might normally be prepping breakfast to take some time for myself. Spoiler alert: My calming morning routine involves not using any social media.

1. Create a coffee routine.

I like to take time grinding my own organic coffee beans and then use a French press to make the coffee. I then add in some adaptogenic reishi to make my morning coffee a true treat.

2. Flow for five minutes.

In grad school, I fell in love with joyful movement. It was a shift between "working out to look good" to just an overall appreciation for movement that not only feels gentle and good on the skeletal system. You need only five minutes in the morning to do a gentle flow/stretch to set a positive tone for your day.

Photo: Miachel Breton

3. Get a gratitude prayer going.

I grew up always saying a morning and evening prayer. Over the years, I have made this tradition my own with a few personal spins. Before eating or drinking anything in the morning, I always take three minutes to find gratitude for just waking up and being able to move my toes. When I start my day like this, the world feels a little bit less heavy.

4. Baths are for adults, too.

Believe it or not, I’m a bath person. In fact, most of the time I aim to take two baths a day. During my hot morning bath, which soothes my nervous system, I like to sip on 16 ounces of room temperature water with fresh lemon.

Photo: Miachel Breton

5. Cardio, cardio, cardio.

Nothing gets your blood pumping and your heart thumping like cardio, and I find that it’s such an energizing way to start my day. Currently, I’m all about doing 25 minutes on the StairMaster—and thankfully, my Quaker Overnight Oats breakfast is already ready to eat the moment I get home.

Lisa Hayim author page.
Lisa Hayim
Registered Dietitian

Lisa Hayim, M.S. R.D. is a wellness enthusiast based in New York, NY. She received her master's in nutrition and exercise physiology from Columbia University in 2014 and started her private practice, The Well Necessities, a few short months after.

The Well Necessities (both the practice at the website) provides readers and clients with the tools to nourish from the inside while radiating from the outside. Lisa believes that the key to health and happiness is to mindfully eat real food. When Hayim is not seeing clients or working on her website, she is doing hot yoga, trying out new restaurants, or baking healthy cookies.