When I worked at a corporate desk job, I had a strict routine. Wake up, make breakfast, lunch and snacks for the day, get ready for work and get out the door by 6:45am. It was not my favorite, but with an hour plus commute I simply needed to do what I needed to do to get out the door in the morning.

When I transitioned to working from home, and working on my own schedule more or less, I now had the opportunity to establish a routine that eased me into and grounded me for {two things that I value in the morning) the day. After several months of trying different practices, including one failed attempt at meditating which put me right back to sleep, these are the three practices that have stuck. All three help promote lymphatic drainage {goodbye more puff-face} and rev up digestion, something that is very sluggish and highly dependent on my stress level.

dry brushing and Gua Sha every morning during my morning routine

Dry Brush

When I wake up the first thing I do once I roll myself out of bed, is turn on the shower and dry brush as the water warms up. Dry brushing not only exfoliate the skin, but is also encourages circulation and lymphatic drainage. If you aren’t familiar with the lymphatic system, it {in addition to your circulation system} removes waste {toxins, excess hormones, etc.} from the body. I personally have a sluggish lymph system and prior to making a few adjustments to my daily routine, would wake up in the morning with puffy eyes and face that would last all day. After incorporating dry brushing and some form of lymphatic facial massage ever morning, my puffiness factor has gone way down.

There are lots of how-to’s for dry brushing that you can find online {Goop and Mind Body Green have good articles}, but the process is very simple once you try it a few times. I dry brush before I shower {you can do it after with oil if you choose} and start at my feet, applying mild pressure {it should not be painful} make long strokes up my body. After the legs, I move to my arms {wrist to shoulder} and under my armpit, followed by my neck, upper back and décolletage, chest, and abdomen all while using downwards motions.

Gua Sha

Post shower, after I wash my face and apply all my lotions and potions I usually sit on our bedroom floor and gua sha while I watch the Today Show. Similar to dry brushing, gua sha promotes circulation and lymphatic draining, but more specifically in the face and neck. It also helps relieve muscle tension, and I personally notice a more lifted appearance to my face after doing it.

I’m not going to attempt to do a tutorial, but there are a lot of great ones out there! Melissa Wood Health has a great IGTV on how she does hers, and Britta Plug is a great resource for all things gua sha including how to do a de-puffing and sculpting facial massage sans tools.

As for tools, there are lots of tools out there and in various types of stones. I prefer one that has a side that almost looks like the shape of your thumb to your pointer finger. It’s perfect for shaping and defining the jaw line and the cheek bone which I am all about. The most important thing to be aware of when buying a tool is that the quality of the stone. There are a lot of fake materials out there than can lead to skin {and energetic} irritation. I personally like the Mount Lai jade and rose quartz tools, but I’ve also heard great things about the Wilding one. This Instagram post from Britta Plug is also a good resource for brand recommendations.

lemon water every morning during my morning routine

Lemon Water

I always start my day with lemon water {and usually a green juice as well} which has transformed my daily digestion. If you think about it, when you’re sleeping {probably 7-9 hours a night} you’re not drinking water. Your body is also working hard to restore and regenerate. Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning helps kick start all your systems including digestion and lymphatic drainage. Lemon juice also contains vitamin C, a natural immune booster, which we could all use a little more of these days.

Since I’ve adopted this habit of drinking 1-2 glasses of lemon water first thing in the morning {before caffeine} more religiously I’ve noticed the biggest change in my digestion and skin. I am much more regular and my skin feel less congested. If you struggle with constipation and/or tired and congested skin, I highly recommend giving lemon water a try.

I am always eager to find out what works for other people! What are you morning rituals? Leave them in the comments below!

April 27, 2020

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