Ah, mornings. Sometimes we spring out of bed and can’t wait for the day to start, and other days we hit the snooze a few times too many. How can we make it so the former happens more often in our lives?
Jump-starting the day on a positive note not only makes us happier throughout the day but also makes us a pleasure to be around. Here are 10 ways we can all increase our chances of having a refreshingly great morning and wonderful day.
This may sound easier than it is for some of us, me included. But honestly, good sleep is where it all starts with the added benefit of strengthening your memory. Going to bed early is key, and having a ritual before bedtime can make a huge difference. I like to wind down at about 8:30 p.m. from the day with a cup of tea. Most nights, I journal about my day or write down ideas while enjoying my tea. Writing a to-do list for tomorrow can also be powerful to rest the spinning thoughts in your mind. Then, reading in bed around 9:30 p.m. is always a 1-2 knockout for me. Once you establish your pattern and avoid distractions (especially alcohol), you will be well on your way to a refreshing morning.
Since we’re going to bed early, it only makes sense to get up early as well. It might be difficult to spring out of bed at 5 or 6 a.m., but once you start this pattern, you will feel like the day is wasted if you don’t continue getting up early. If you’re having trouble, you can simply set your smartphone’s alarm clock or try one of these alarm apps. Once again, establishing a pattern will help you be on time for the rest of the day.
Nature is so peaceful and it can really awaken our spirits. I take my dog for a 15-minute walk every morning, rain or shine. I often joke and wonder if it’s benefiting my dog or me more? Or, you might go for a jog. Try to be mindful of this great time with nature. Connect and express gratitude in each step.
It may sound like some hippie new-age babble, but this works. I recently read “10% Happier” by Dan Harris and enjoyed it thoroughly. The concept of meditation is quite simple. Just choose a comfortable spot and focus on your breathing for five minutes to start. Then work your way up to 15-30 minutes. If your mind wanders away from your breath, and it will, bring it back. I guarantee this will start to have a dramatic effect on mornings and throughout the day. Try it!
If you’re married or have kids, be grateful for this time to share with those you love most. Use FaceTime or Skype if they’re not near. If you’re single, call your best friend and chat for a few minutes. The positive voices of friends and family is a sure fire way to have a great morning.
Mornings are the perfect time to increase your metabolism and have a killer workout. Switch it up. Throw around weights one morning, get into a hot yoga class another, or do 40 minutes on any machine. You could also mix 20 minutes of cardio with weight training. Staying in the gym for anything more than 45 minutes is just a waste of time. You will feel refreshed throughout the day, and feeling sore the next day is an awesome accomplishment.
We all know breakfast is the power meal of the day, but it depends on what we eat to make this true. Pancakes, waffles or donuts are junk and will slow you down for the day to come. Instead, choose to make an energizing smoothie with fruits, vegetables and a protein powder of your choice. Another option is oatmeal with blueberries or avocados with eggs, yum. I mix it up every morning while catching up on the news and my favorite blogs. This is also the perfect time to enjoy a good cup of coffee or refreshing green/black tea.
It doesn’t matter if you work from home or from the office. Your mind is the most fresh and creative in the mornings before it starts to get drowned by the chatter of others. Use this time wisely to work on critical tasks for your own business or your higher-ups. If you don’t keep a list of important tasks, mornings are a great time to create one. I always say, “If you don’t write it down, it won’t happen.”
I know most will say checking email is not productive first thing in the morning, but it can work if you’re not entirely reactive to it. Take a look and know which people you need to check in with around you. If however, there’s a critical message, your mind will be clear to respond properly.
I once heard a phrase about being on time, and it has stuck with me since. It goes like this, “If you’re 15 minutes early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.” If you’re driving to a meeting, leave early. If it’s a webinar, check in early and minimize the window until it starts. Being early will keep you less stressed and make you feel more productive.
The most important takeaway is to establish a pattern for your mornings. These 10 ways help me to create a great morning everyday (well, most days), and I hope they help start or re-enforce your morning routine for an amazing day, everyday.
Featured photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mukumbura/ via flickr.com
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