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8 Alternatives to Coffee to Start Your Day

8 Alternatives to Coffee to Start Your Day

Sleep is important. Getting enough of it is essential. If you are getting enough sleep, you shouldn’t have too much trouble waking up in the morning. But if you do have trouble, there are ways you can feel invigorated and ready for your day without a cup of coffee, or three!

Drinking coffee first thing in the morning is a comforting ritual, but if you find that you are jittery or unfocused, are having health issues that could be related to overconsumption of coffee, or are just plain addicted, here are a few different ways to wake up in the morning that are caffeine-free.

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1. Music

No, I don’t mean blare music at yourself to wake up. But music can help you get in a good mood in the morning. I bake bread for a farmers’ market every Saturday. This means I have to wake up very early on Saturday morning to get all of the bread baked and ready. While I do make coffee, I realized that I wasn’t drinking it because I was too busy doing my work. Instead, I play music that I enjoy on my phone. This gets me singing and in a good mood, despite the fact that it’s 3:30 in the morning.

2. Drink Water

Drink a glass of cold water or two first thing in the morning. Besides the icy feeling enlivening your senses, we all wake up dehydrated according to Susan Kleiner, a dietitian and author of “The Good Mood Diet” (Springboard Press). All of our thinking and metabolic processes depend on us having water, so get hydrated and feel more awake sooner.

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3. Wash Your Face

Get in the bathroom and use cold water and a scented soap or essential oil like mint or lavender to wake yourself up. Mints and lavenders awaken your senses and the cold water can help you get the sleep off your face — making you feel more ready for your day.

4. Go Outside.

This may seem impractical, but go outside first thing in the morning. A breath of fresh air will make you feel more awake and ready for your day — even if you’re still in your slippers. Just getting up and moving around will get your blood moving and help you accomplish more in your day.

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5. Eat.

Eat a good breakfast, like oatmeal or bacon and eggs. Something that your body can really work on and that will give you lasting energy. Studies have shown that eating breakfast helps kids concentrate more and remember things better than their breakfast-skipping peers. Eat a good breakfast and be ready for whatever the day throws at you.

6. Engage Your Brain.

Do your most brain-intensive activity first. I usually do my writing first thing in the morning as that is when I feel my most active and ready to take on more difficult tasks. Try and save email (if you can) or other correspondence for later in the day when you need a bit of a brain break, unless your correspondence is essential to your job. Lifestyle author Scott Young says, “Start your day with work that actively uses your mind. Creative activities like writing, drawing, programming or designing work better than passive activities like reading. By focusing your mind early you can stay focused and brush off any unwanted drowsiness.”

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7. Drink a Smoothie

A healthy, green smoothie gives you a boost first thing in the morning. Try this recipe:

  • 1 1/4 cups orange juice, preferably calcium-fortified
  • 1 banana
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen berries, such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and/or strawberries
  • 1/2 cup low-fat silken tofu, or low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Handful chopped kale or spinach

This smoothie tastes great and gives you the vitamins and minerals you need to be on point for your day.

8. Oil Pulling

Place a little coconut oil in your mouth and let it dissolve. Don’t swallow it. Instead, swish it around in your mouth for 10 minutes or so. This takes practice but oil pulling is a method used by many to prevent tooth decay and pull toxins out of your body. Just the effort involved can wake you up! Oil pulling with coconut oil can help you sleep better, boost your energy and has many other benefits from clearing skin to sinuses.

More by this author

Michelle Kennedy Hogan

Michelle is an explorer, editor, author of 15 books, and mom of eight.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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