I won’t lie. I used to hate waking up. Waking up was the first reminder that I had an insane list of tasks to accomplish and not nearly enough time to do so.
I’ve found that there are good and bad ways to wake up. The normal way (miserably drag yourself out of bed as the alarm blares, eat a rushed breakfast, drive to work praying that you won’t be late) is the bad way; it sucks. It starts your day off with tinges of misery and stress.
Fortunately, I have found that if I am intentional I can optimize how I wake up to feel full of mental and physical energy that erupts through the day and leaves me feeling calm, happy, and productive.
Below are four ways I’ve found to add huge doses of mental and physical energy to my day by kicking the morning off right. Any one action will work well – if you combine all four you’re going to feel like an absolute rockstar.
Wake up naturally (sort of)
The glow of electric lighting, computer screens, phones, and tablets, have made it addictively easy for us to stay up unnaturally late. Consequently, we need wildly irritating alarm clocks to wake us up in the morning.
The first step to feeling like you’re running off of rocket fuel is to change (ever so slightly) how you wake up and go to sleep.
First go to bed when you’re tired. I know, clicking one last link, watching one last episode, or having one last drink feels like it will bring infinite happiness in the moment. But it won’t. Did it last night, or any other night? No, of course not.
Resist the urge to stay up watching tv or looking at things online. Instead once you start to feel tired, read a book in bed until you drift away.
Now start waking up at the same time every single day. Doing these two things alone is going to adjust your sleep cycle to a more natural one that will leave you feeling rested and energetic in the mornings.
However, there is a killer hack to making the entire process even better and to help smooth over the times when you stay up too late. Get rid of your alarm clock, especially if you’re using your cell phone, and replace it with a wakeup light. What’s a wakeup light? It’s an alarm clock designed to mimic the rising of the sun and to wake you up naturally with light.
Wakeup lights are so incredible that after two days of using mine, my girlfriend bought one for herself.
Wake your body up
Now that you’re awake and hopefully out of bed, it’s time to charge your body, and the trick to doing that is exercise. The best thing to do is find some sort of exercise that fits well with your lifestyle and then start small.
Personally, I’m a runner. I like running because it gives me time to myself, gets me outdoors, and I can do it anywhere. I run at least three days a week. The other days I swing a kettlebell on my roof or jump rope in my room.
If you’re not already in an exercise routine, that’s cool. Pick an exercise you think you may enjoy (or if not enjoy, at least one that you won’t hate) and start small – like five minutes a day – then slowly add more time.
Exercising in the morning wakes your body up and keeps you healthy.
Clear your mind
So, you’ve started the day with as much energy as possible and fueled your body up with exercise. Now it’s time to optimize your mind for happiness and performance.
You have to find something that will help you focus, and give you the opportunity to clear your mind. Personally, I like to meditate for a few minutes. Like exercise, it’s completely cool to start small. I started at two minutes a day, and each week I added a minute. Now, I’m up to 12 minutes a day. I plan to keep doing this until I hit 20 minutes.
You don’t need to meditate to optimize your mind. The trick is to find an outlet that helps clear your mind and train your focus. You can write a list of things you want to accomplish for the day, make a gratuity list, go for a walk around the block, do a soduku or crossword, write etc.
Just make sure that you are exercising your focus and creating and opportunity to rid your mind of the residue from the day(s) before and the day(s) ahead.
Ride the wave
Now that your mind and body are awake, it’s time to set yourself up ride the wave all day long. The way to do this: put awesome foods into your body.
Many of us skip breakfast, or have something very light which is a bad idea if you want to feel like you have rocket fuel coursing through your veins. Instead have a power breakfast.
Power breakfasts are healthy breakfasts that have a solid mix of carbs and protein, and a bit of fat to keep you feeling great. My two favorites: smoothies (mine are kind of crazy with greens, nuts, fruit, chocolate, and whole milk) and eggs, beans, and bagel.
Eating a power breakfast will give you the fuel you need to keep your mind and your body alert and active throughout the day.
I’ve tried many things, but the above routine has been my most effective so far. What about you? What tricks have you found to make yourself feel like you are running on rocket fuel all day long?
(Photo credit: White Rocket in the Sky via Shutterstock)