What are your mornings like?
Do you spring out of bed early, ready to take on the day with the enthusiasm of a kid at Christmas? Or, do you wake up only after pressing snooze a few times, and already feel overwhelmed at all you’ve got to do? Whether you consider yourself a “morning person” or not, the way you spend the first few moments of each day can be the difference between feeling frustrated and behind, or feeling relaxed, intentional, and amazingly productive. If the start of your day is a good one, chances are the whole day has a better chance of going well, too!
The better you get at tweaking your mornings, the more you’ll find you have time to spend on things that really matter, like your health, your family, and just finding the time you need to slow down and breathe. Try any (or all!) of these morning tweaks to get your day headed in a positive direction, and you’ll have more good days than bad.
Set your goals (and your outfit) the night before.
This morning tweak actually begins the night before, with you writing down the 2-3 of the most important tasks (“MITs”) you must get done tomorrow. Don’t make your MIT list too long – that will only lead you to more overwhelm – just a few essentials. You can always save the longer list for when you get to the office. Listing your MITs will set you up for a purposeful next day, and help you “brain dump” before bed, allowing you to relax and get a restful night’s sleep.
Don’t use the snooze.
While the snooze button might seem like the greatest invention known to man, trying to “gain” more sleep in 9 minute chunks at a time is actually not helping you at all. Our bodies naturally go through a kind of “booting up” process before waking, gradually raising our body temperature and releasing the hormones we need to regulate our metabolism and combat the stresses of the day. When wake up and then hit snooze, we are shouting, “False alarm!” to our system, causing stress for the body and the brain as it tries to adjust. Do your body a favor and once you’re up, get up. If you really find this impossible, you should probably look at going to bed earlier.
Let the sunshine in.
Your internal body clock is sensitive to light and darkness. The longer you dwell in your dark, albeit cozy, bedroom, the harder it becomes to kick-start your day – and your metabolism. A Cleveland Clinic study found that when the body’s internal clock is out of sync, it results in symptoms like emotional and gastrointestinal distress.
The Northwestern University School of Medicine also found a correlation between people who are exposed to earlier sunlight and lower obesity rates. Simple ways to get some morning sun? Open the curtains, eat breakfast on the porch, or just go for a walk outside.
Breakfast literally means, “break the fast”, and it’s one of the best morning routines you can have. After going for hours without any food or water, refueling yourself with the right nutrients helps restore glycogen levels and keeps you from being “hangry” throughout the day (ask my daughter, hangry is a thing).
There is new research on just when the best time to break your fast might be. However, what’s not up for debate is that your first meal should be a healthy one. Read your cereal box ingredients! Your breakfast doesn’t have to be gourmet, and time crunch doesn’t have to be an excuse. I have literally two minutes in the kitchen before heading out the door for school drop-off and work traffic, so my go-to breakfast for years has been my morning superfood shake in the car. So stop running on empty and eat some breakfast.
It goes without saying that exercise is good for you. Whether you drive to a gym, go for a walk, or workout from home, getting in a workout before you start your day leaves time for other priorities later. How many times have you said to yourself all day long that you’ll find time after work or after school to get it done and then life happens? If you schedule yourself first and put it on the calendar like an appointment to the dentist, you’ll be more productive throughout your day, you’ll have time later on for family and free time, and you won’t feel any guilt because it’s done!
Are you ready to start being more amazing and start making over your mornings? The trick is to be intentional, choose your priorities, and to eventually develop good habits. Using the precious minutes of your morning well can set you up for lots of great mornings, and a whole lot of great days to come!
What are your morning routines? Leave a comment and share your best tips!
Have an amazing day!