International Women’s Day (IWD) is March 8. Established in 1911, this is a day to celebrate women’s accomplishments and to raise awareness of gender parity issues. This year’s IWD theme is #ChoosetoChallenge—a challenge to honor women’s achievements and to draw attention to structural inequalities. In order to do that effectively, you need to begin your day feeling energized and centered. For International Women’s Day 2021, I’d like to challenge you to start with a morning routine that will set you up for an amazing and productive day. Let’s check out some easy ways to hit the ground running when the sun comes up.
- Starting International Women’s Day the Right Way
- Make Your Morning Routine Count
- Why a Morning Workout is #Goals
- Make Every Day Like International Women’s Day!
Starting International Women’s Day the Right Way
Some of us are born “morning people,” while others aren’t so lucky. Here’s how to maximize your wake-up, even if you’re a lifelong night owl.
Wake Up Early
For some of us, it’s easy to wake up on time every morning, no alarm required. For others, it takes serious willpower to resist smacking the snooze button again and again. Experts believe it’s best to go to sleep early and wake around sunrise, syncing your routine with the available natural light. Depending on your lifestyle and obligations, however, that may not be realistic for you. What’s most important is that you get the appropriate number of hours per sleep each night. If you’re a woman between the ages of sixteen and sixty, that’s at least seven hours, though some people may need eight or nine.
“Waking up early” can mean something different for everyone. If you’re a naturally early riser, you might not need to do anything differently. If mornings are difficult for you, try setting your alarm to go off fifteen minutes earlier than usual. You’ll have more time before work or school—and you’ll want that time for the next part of this challenge.
Spend Some Time with You
Begin your day by spending a few minutes checking in with your mental and emotional wellness. You might practice mindfulness meditation to help you relax and focus, or you could write in a gratitude journal to stoke a happy mood. You might spend a few minutes saying a prayer, or you could simply read something meaningful to you. It matters less what you do and more that you do it—any of these morning rituals will help you to start the day off right.
Make Your Morning Routine Count
Now that you’re wide awake and in a mindful state, it’s time to get moving. Here’s what to do next.
You already know how important it is to eat breakfast every morning. While you’re making your avocado toast or oatmeal with fruit, be sure to pour yourself something to drink too. Whether it’s coffee or tea, orange juice, or almond milk, having a beverage with breakfast helps you to feel full and stay hydrated. And yes, your caffeinated beverage counts as hydration, so feel free to enjoy that cup of joe each morning if it makes you happy. If you’re trying to reduce the amount of caffeine you consume, try decaf coffee or tea, or give ground chicory root a try. Its flavor is reminiscent of coffee, but it’s caffeine-free and lower in acid.
Regardless of what you sip with breakfast, be sure to follow it up with a glass of water. Staying hydrated throughout the day improves your workout performance, helps prevent unwanted weight gain, and keeps your body in its happy place. Aim for about eleven and a half cups of water per day.
Make a To-Do List
After you’ve eaten, take a few minutes to write a basic to-do list: your goals for today. They don’t have to be anything enormous—just the small stuff you’d like to accomplish at work and at home. Making a to-do list is a great way to motivate yourself and stay accountable. You may like using an app like Microsoft To Do to help you brainstorm and stay organized … but a good old-fashioned Post-It note will get the job done too.
Organize Your Space
It’s so much easier to stay relaxed and be productive when your living space is clean and neat. While you may not have time for any deep cleaning in the morning, even a few minutes of decluttering and organization can make a difference. Make your bed, put yesterday’s clothing in the hamper, and hang up the towels in your bathroom. Put your dishes in the dishwasher or sink and recycle the junk mail on your counter. These small gestures can help eliminate distraction and anxiety—you may even find decluttering makes you feel relaxed or energized. Later, when you return from work, school, or wherever you spend your days, a clean home will feel more welcoming than a scattered one.
Why a Morning Workout is #Goals
As healthy lifestyle habits go, making time for morning exercise is among the best. A morning workout will energize you and kick-start your metabolism. If you’re prone to exhaustion at the end of the day, exercising in the morning makes the most sense. (But don’t worry if you do prefer to work out after school or work. Experts say that’s fine too.) Try starting your day with fifteen to thirty minutes of stretching, yoga, Pilates, or light cardio. Thanks to the many streaming services available, you don’t need to leave your house to take an invigorating dance or HIIT class. You can try pretty much any form of exercise imaginable with a free YouTube video!
Make Every Day Like International Women’s Day!
Now that you’ve experienced a morning routine that serves you so well, I’d like to invite you to another challenge: keep the momentum going! Be sure to go to bed on time tonight, and set your alarm for the same time tomorrow morning. Once again, leave yourself extra time for these invigorating morning rituals. As your International Women’s Day routine becomes a habit, you’ll find that you won’t want to start your day off any other way.