GOOD MORNING, SUNSHINE!

Holly Golightly

Taking joy in living is a woman’s best cosmetic.

Rosalind Russell

Hello from the United Kingdom! My new year began with a new adventure — a three-month exchange programme in Birmingham. Since I got here, I have been determined to make the best of it. There’s something about being in a new place that makes you want to hit the reset button. For starters, I have decided to do something about how I start each morning ☀️. You may not think much of it, but that extra 15 minutes to yourself, a good breakfast 🍳 and having a plan could make all the difference to the rest of the day. They don’t call it a fresh start for nothing.

Taking joy in living should begin the moment you open you eyes 👀. So I hope you’ll find the time to cultivate some good morning habits. Not sure where to start? Try these. They work for me, and apparently, for power women like Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham, too. 🙋🏻

Gwyneth Paltrow

OIL-PULLING

Gwyneth Paltrow and Shailene Woodley are fans of oil-pulling — an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth on an empty stomach for about 20 minutes. It is said to draw out toxins in your body, whiten your teeth and clear up your complexion. I’ve already added this to my morning routine. So far, so good! 😬

Margaret Zhang

NEVER SKIP BREAKFAST

You over-snoozed. You haven’t planned your outfit 👗of the day. And now you barely have time to put on your Boy Brow. You can forget about breakfast, right? Well, wrong. It’s so tempting to forego your most important meal of the day when every morning minute counts. Well, know this: Audrey Hepburn never skipped her breakfast — even when it was not at Tiffany’s; even when she was doing her monthly detox. It can be real simple — and quick. Think wholemeal bread with organic peanut butter, or yogurt with nuts (there are tons of recipes online if you’d just take five from Netflix to Google them over the weekend!).

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EAT FRUITS

I feel like fruits are still having a bit of a bad rep. But seriously, guys, it’s no longer as boring as it sounds. There are myriad creative ways of consuming fruits 🍎. If you’re really lazy or busy, get a juice, or three. And FYI, cucumber, avocado and tomatoes are fruits. Will it help if we told you Victoria Beckham is a fan? The posh one famously has them for breakfast. And look what fruits can do for your Instagram feed (thanks, Margaret Zhang)!

REPLACE COFFEE WITH TEA

I know, I know. Give up coffee? Whaaaat? Nobody is asking you to go cold-turkey, chill. Try reducing your ☕️ intake for a start, as I have recently done, and substitute it with some tea for a pick-me-up. Why? Coffee has been said to cause dehydration, and too much of it can contribute to restlessness and insomnia. Yup! So, I’m following in Jennifer Aniston’s footsteps and opting for tea instead (also, I’m in England, duh!).

Olivia Palermo

WAKE UP EARLIER

Lady Gaga reportedly takes five minutes of me-time every morning when she wakes up. It may not sound like much, but waking up earlier to do something that composes you and makes you feel good (for example, taking your time to wash your face, read the news and meditate) can actually up the positivity and productivity of your day. Now that I’m in a new environment with a beautiful lake just five minutes away, I’ve taken to getting up one or two hours earlier than usual to say hi and feed the ducks. Yes, how very Blair Waldorf! Her doppelgänger, Olivia Palermo, by the way, also enjoys getting up before everyone one else does to enjoy “the calm before the storm”. Sold yet?

Mr Paddingtonbear

STRUCTURE — STICK TO IT

Lastly, however you decide to spend your mornings, remember that it will determine your state of mind and set the tone for the rest of your day. So decide what works best for you, be realistic, and adhere to it. Cultivating new habits is never easy, but persevere and before long, it’ll all come naturally to you. 💪

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Photos: Fast Company, Margaret Zhang, OliviaPalermo.com, Mr Paddingtonbear

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