Everything I know about mornings has been challenged now that I own a Bed and Breakfast and am actually in charge of thousands of breakfasts per year. I have always had a morning routine that was intended to set me up for an organized, energized and productive day and that is only more important now that my day starts at the crack of dawn and is entirely devoted to starting the days of others.
My Bed and Breakfast has an open kitchen so I get to listen to multiple and varied conversations each week. It's like hearing a new podcast or talk radio show every morning as I hear/facilitate the conversations of others on vacation. The conversations normally begin with a sigh of relaxed companionship and the phrase "this is so nice, I wish I could do this every day" as they help themselves to a second coffee and finish off their fruit course.
There is often comment about what is missing in the typical morning, things that they do get while on vacation: leisure or family time, exercise, or meditation. Their experiences are echoed by current findings that most people eat breakfast alone, on-the-go, or not at all (yikes, not good!).
What else the research is saying:
- The Washington Post found that sitting down to eat together or as a family is now a rare occurrence, and new research from Centrum showed that as few as 33 per cent of Canadians sit down for breakfast as a family during the week.
- According to another study, families who eat together consume more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- On top of better nutrition, eating with others also offers opportunity to discuss plans and news of the day, which builds family and community ties (a modern scarcity, oh dear).
- Most Canadianswould love to add even a few minutes of deep breathing, stretching or a walk to their mornings (how in the world do we care for others when self-care is so lacklustre?)
- Those who grab something and run out the door feel the most rushed throughout the day and conversely, those who sit down alone to eat breakfast feel the calmest (perhaps the silent eating is their own form of "meditation". Whatever it is, finding a peaceful way to start the day seems to net better results in calm productivity).
Interestingly and anecdotally, most of my older guests reassure the younger families that it does get better over the life cycle. As kids grow older or leave the house they find more productivity by taking time to themselves. Their tips for living a long and healthier life include:
- Join a physical group. Some say that the book club is fine but they have time to do lots of sitting and reading so the challenge of staying mobile doesn't get addressed. A walking club, a cycling group or a yoga class are the first thing you should be adding and if you can make it first thing in the am rather than the end of the day, you are less likely to skip it.
- Say no to grandkids (sometimes). That's right! Making a schedule for yourself means that it's not always assumed that you're available and that you're not doing anything.
- Prepare healthy breakfast items in the am and then use those 10 cooking minutes to stretch and breathe.
Being short on time shouldn't leave you short on energy. It's important to have a breakfast rich in protein, fibre and vitamins to fuel your body for the rest of your day.
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