Morning Habits to Set You Up for a Great Day
What you do in the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day, so it’s important to start off on the right foot if you want your day to be productive and fulfilling. Check out these morning habits to set you up for a great day, no matter what you’re doing or where you’re going.
Wake up early
Whether it’s 5 am or 7 am, getting up early gives your body and mind time to wake up before starting your day. The earlier you get out of bed, the more hours in your schedule that are open and clear. Try setting your alarm an hour earlier than usual, then use that time to practice mindfulness or meditate--not only will these activities calm and center you, but they can help increase productivity as well. You’ll feel less stressed throughout the day if you manage stress better in other areas of your life, such as by writing down whatever is bothering you before bedtime so it doesn’t nag at you while awake.
To help you get up earlier, start to make changes to your bedtime routine. Consider removing all electronics from your bedroom, including televisions, computers, phones, and tablets. They emit blue light that tricks our brains into thinking it’s daytime when we should be winding down for sleep. Instead, find something to do with yourself before hitting the hay (such as reading) that gets you focused on something else.
Skip breakfast, and you’re likely going to feel tired and hungry during your morning commute. This can lead to consuming more calories than usual; when your blood sugar drops and hunger kicks in, it’s easy to grab an unhealthy snack--and most of us tend to choose high-calorie, high-fat options like doughnuts or muffins. Choosing healthy items from a range of food groups--especially whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables--will keep you full until lunchtime. And if you pack your own lunch before heading out in the morning, that’s even better!
Water is essential for your body’s overall health, as it flushes out toxins, transports nutrients, and aids in digestion. Not drinking enough water can cause headaches and make you feel tired--two things that will certainly detract from your productivity. By starting your day with two glasses of water (and staying hydrated throughout), you’ll give yourself all the benefits of proper hydration and wake yourself up at the same time. Water also helps balance your blood sugar levels, so drinking some first thing in the morning can help prevent those afternoon crashes that make it hard to get anything done.
Have a morning workout
Let’s start by noting that there is no best time to exercise, as long as it fits into your schedule. However, it is known that regular exercisers tend to be healthier and happier than their sedentary counterparts. If you’re not yet an avid exerciser or if you can only squeeze in time for workouts on your non-work days, starting with a morning session may give you something positive (and productive) during your weekdays.
Get some fresh air
Getting outside in the morning is a great way to reset your mindset after a long night and de-stress before work. The smell of fresh air and sunlight can help boost your mood and make it easier to power through your emails with a positive attitude. Plus, taking time every day to focus on something other than work will leave you feeling refreshed when evening rolls around. If you’re having trouble getting out of bed early enough in order to get some sun, try setting an alarm--try a Sunrise Alarm Clock that slowly increases brightness over time so that it doesn’t feel jarring when your eyes are closed (plus, it plays relaxing sounds as well).
Starting your day with meditation is beneficial in many ways. First, it forces you to take time out of your hectic schedule and find focus. Next, it helps get rid of stress before it has a chance to build. This can be especially important if you struggle with anxiety or depression--meditation may also help combat those symptoms. And finally, meditation helps put things into perspective and remind us that we are not in control of everything that happens around us every moment of every day. On top of all that, meditating gets your soul energized for what’s ahead; they give your mind peace and strength for whatever comes next throughout your day.
Set intentions and plan the day ahead
The most productive people take time each morning to plan their days. This allows them to organize, prioritize and accomplish everything on their to-do lists without feeling stressed or overwhelmed. The best way to start is by asking yourself, “What is one thing I want to accomplish today?” and write it down. Next, figure out why it’s important. What will accomplishing that goal do for your life? What will not accomplishing it mean?
Write down all of these things so they are crystal clear in your mind as you get ready in the morning. Then ask yourself, Which three other goals would make my ‘top priority’ goal even better? Prioritize these secondary goals and write them down as well, next on your list of what needs to be done for today.
There are so many different ways to start your day, and what works for some may not work as well for others. Try some of these tips out, test them in your daily routine, and watch how your days improve.