Mornings are tough. There’s a lot of pressure on mornings to be productive, lively, and 'early'. You've heard the terms: “up at the crack of dawn” and let's not forget “wake up on the right side of the bed” (whatever that means). Whether you live for bright mornings or wish you got more done before your day truly starts, it's overwhelming feeling like you need to seize the day all the time. Here are five ways you can easily start your day right tomorrow, whether you need to seize it or not.
1. Wake Up Early
You know what they say, “early bird gets the worm”, but even if worms aren’t your thing (we don’t judge), we still think you should consider a wake-up time that allows for some personal time in the morning rather than a mad dash to get out the door or opening your laptop. Consistently waking up early is not only going to give you more time to do our morning hacks before work, but it’s also going to lay some great groundwork for a healthier overall sleep schedule. If you read 6 Surprising Reasons You Can’t Sleep you know how much of an impact sleep has on our overall well-being, and why a consistent, sufficient sleep schedule is paramount to a healthy you. When we routinely wake up early, our body shifts to having more energy in the morning and we fall asleep earlier at night. Eventually we begin to wake up without the need for an alarm (let's hear it for our body's internal clock), which studies have shown equates to better overall quality of sleep when compared to people with inconsistent sleep patterns and those who wake up to an alarm clock (Ikeda, et al., PMC).
2. Drink Water
As soon as you wake up, drink a big glass of water (at least 16oz). We find water bottles with measurements and timed reminders on our phones are helpful reminders for actually getting that amount into us during busy mornings. Usually, after lying in bed all night, you’re going to wake up dehydrated. Because we’re made up of 60% water, all our organs and systems need us to be well hydrated to function optimally. This goes double for our brains, which are 73% water. So go for the big glass in the morning to make sure your brain is alert and focused for you to slay the day.
We personally enjoy a nice warm glass of water, with fresh lemon juice squeezed into it - it’s a great way to cleanse and detoxify your body at the start of the day with an added benefit of vitamin C to keep your immunity in top shape (and we don't have to tell you why immunity is a key thing to consider).
3. Personal Time
We’ve found that using our new extra time in the morning for personal growth activities like working out, meditating, or a 5-minute journal are great ways to start the day off on the right foot. Journaling and meditation are both practises that allow us to focus on what our intentions are for the day, how we are feeling, and what actions we should take to reach goals or scratch things off our to-do list (read further in our list for more on this). Setting intentions seems redundant especially if you're itching to get going in the morning - but it's an easy way to focus on what you need to do and getting a sense of accomplishment once you actually do those things. Whether you’re journaling about your personal goals, inspirational messages, or things you’re grateful for, writing things down is not only going to sharpen your communication skills but it's also going to keep you more in tune with your personal growth.
If you’ve resolved to work out more, the morning is a great time to do it. Not only are gyms less busy, you’ll have more energy than you might after a long day at work. The endorphin rush or proverbial 'runner’s high' we get from a good heart-pumping workout is going to get your brain active and help you feel more energized and focused as you carry on with the rest of the morning. If you don’t have time to do a full workout, you can just YouTube a ten minute morning stretch routine. Stretching is a great option to get your body moving, increase circulation, and set you on the right track to start the day.
4. Eat Breakfast
Eating breakfast in the morning has several health benefits like balancing blood sugar and kickstarting your metabolism. It also increases energy and stimulates the brain. Our brains use glucose from the foods we eat as energy so eating breakfast first thing in the morning is how we jumpstart our brains for the day ahead. You’ve probably noticed that when you haven’t eaten in a while, you start to lose your ability to focus, your attention span decreases, and you just can’t concentrate anymore. This is because your brain’s fuel tank is empty and you’re running on fumes. Students who consistently eat breakfast perform better academically, and the trend carries over into our adult lives. so this is a great habit for all ages. In addition to the added mental awareness, eating breakfast is connected to reduced risk of diabetes and obesity as well as lower blood pressure (Better Health AU).
Something quick and easy is all you need. Right now, we love toast with some nut butter and bananas or pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top. For an extra source of iron and protein, scatter chia seeds on top and you’ve got yourself an all encompassing, two minute breakfast. If you're not having the 'personal time' hack this morning, a smoothie is the best way to get the nutrition you need while commuting, running errands, or whatever it might be. Check out Valeria's go-to morning smoothie recipe E-Book for inspiration.
5. Create a Short To-Do List
Image credit: Cathryn Lavery
While you’re eating breakfast, take some time to plan out your day by making a short, prioritized list of what you’re going to accomplish today. It’s important to be realistic when creating this list because it’s easy for us to get overzealous and write down a Herculean list of labours that mere mortals could never achieve in one day. This usually ends with us getting discouraged and unmotivated moving forward.
Don’t feel like there needs to be a standard of what is worthy for a to-do list. If it’s a day-off and all you feel like accomplishing is making your bed and going shopping, then put those on the list! Even the most spontaneous among us like to know what we can expect from the day and we get a great sense of accomplishment from crossing things off a list; regardless of how menial they may seem. If you’re really struggling to mentally get into list-making, a great trick is to put something you’ve already done or something incredibly easy to accomplish at the top of the list and immediately cross it off. Use that momentum to move onto item two.
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