What you do in the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. Invest in your health, and you’ll feel accomplished and empowered. And that will fuel healthy choices for the rest of the day.
Of course, it isn’t always easy. Humans are creatures of habit. We’re programmed to wake up and set our minds to the day’s tasks, upcoming events, or general worries, all of which prevents us from living in the moment. And the moment is where real change can happen—or get ignored.
To help you establish morning habits that set you up for success throughout the day, we consulted Rhondee Baldi, M.D., Physician Leader at Emcara Health. Start with these seven tips from Dr. Baldi and work with your Emcara physician or nurse practitioner to kick off every day on the right side of the bed.
When you have a lot on your mind, you might miss the early signs of a change in your overall condition that will only get worse as it goes unnoticed. For example, don’t shrug off the signs of an infection like feverishness and chills.
“If you have COVID-type symptoms, you may feel hot and sweaty, or have lightheadedness and chills,” Dr. Baldi says.
Other sensations could indicate a shift in a chronic condition, so it’s important to take some breaths and tune into your senses to determine whether you’re feeling like you usually do in the morning. If not, check in with your Emcara Health clinical services manager to find the best course of action.
Changes in our strength, balance, and mobility can quite literally happen overnight. Maybe you tweaked something, and your body didn’t let you know until the next day. Or a change in your medication threw off your balance. Either way, falls happen when we think we’re ready to get up and get after it … but our bodies feel otherwise.
To prevent that, practice easing into your first movements of the day. “Put your feet fully on the floor, sit up on the side of the bed, and make sure you’re not dizzy as you get out of bed,” Dr. Baldi says. “Can you stand up without your hands? Can you stand up on your toes?”
If you’re feeling unsteady when you get out of bed, an Emcara Health physical therapist can work with you to identify your individual strength and mobility needs and come up with a daily routine to help you start every day on solid footing.
Several times a month, you’ll want to review your medications and make sure you have a plan to refill your prescriptions with your Emcara Health pharmacist. To keep track of your inventory, discard empty bottles, and expired prescriptions and over-the-counter medications.
If you live with anyone else, you’ll also want to safeguard any prescriptions that could be abused. “Check to make sure controlled substances can’t be accessed by grandkids or people in your home,” Dr. Baldi says.
For people with diabetes, checking your blood glucose level first thing in the morning is crucial. “Fasting blood glucose levels help us manage insulin doses and medication,” Dr. Baldi says. “And it helps you know whether your diabetes is under control, so you’re aiming for a fasting blood glucose of less than 125.”
To stay on top of your levels, use a finger stick test each morning and get in touch with your clinical services manager if you notice a change in your fasted blood glucose.
Just as daily blood glucose checks are important for people with diabetes, routine weight checks are important for people with heart failure. A change of 3 pounds from the previous day or 3 to 5 pounds over three days means you should check in with your Emcara Health physician.
“With heart failure, you’re checking your weight because it’s a proxy for measuring intravascular fluid,” Dr. Baldi says. “Heart failure is made worse by having too much fluid, so part of self-management for heart failure is monitoring your weight. Most people don’t do it every day, but every other day is a reasonable alternative.”
Diet and exercise are major factors in how you feel each day, but it can be difficult to follow through with constructive decisions if you don’t start your day with a plan. Instead, think about how you’re going to nourish your body with healthy foods. And try to get active shortly after you rise in the morning.
“Ask yourself: ‘What am I going to eat for breakfast? Can I sneak in some vegetables at breakfast? Can I get in lean protein like eggs?’” Dr. Baldi says. “And make an appointment with yourself to exercise, even if it’s walking for 15 minutes.”
If you wake up feeling listless or not knowing what you’re going to do today besides managing your conditions, plan to connect with a friend, a family member, or your community.
Social connectedness is good for our mental and physical health, so it can be helpful to make a plan for who you’re going to talk to or which social activities you plan to engage in.
That could mean calling a loved-one, listening in on a church sermon, or visiting with a neighbor—whatever helps you feel connected to the people who give you energy will be great for your overall health and wellbeing.