Are you a morning person? If you’re in the majority of the population whose workday begins between 7 and 9 a.m., you really don’t have a choice. How your day begins is usually a good indicator of your mindset for the remainder of the day.
If morning finds you feeling tired, rushing to pick up breakfast from a drive-thru window, and racing the clock to arrive to work on time, then it’s time for a change.
It’s never easy to reset your routine. As humans, we’re creatures of habit. And it’s true that habits are hard to break. But we have a few tips to help reset your routine and set the stage for a better day.
Begin the Night Before.
A good day begins the night before. The National Institutes of Health recommends that adults get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Many people claim that they don’t need that much sleep. They claim to “get by” with less. But do you really want to just “get by?” Studies show that people who get the recommended amount of sleep perform better on complex mental tasks than those who don’t.
To get sound, restorative sleep, it’s important to create an environment that’s conducive to restful slumber. Sleep experts recommend that your bedroom be dark, cool, and free from distractions. To fall asleep more easily, avoid electronic screens before bedtime. According to Scientific American, “The light from our devices is ‘short-wavelength-enriched,’ meaning it has a higher concentration of blue light than natural light—and You may think that using a color shifting night-time feature on your phone which changes your display to an amber hue is a solution. However research has yet to prove whether night-time mode actually negates the consequences of viewing blue screens.
Researchers are also quick to point out that the color temperature of the light emitted by your device isn’t the only factor to consider in your quest for a restful night’s sleep. Anything stimulating makes falling asleep more difficult. Your best bet for a good night’s sleep is to avoid screens before bedtime.
After lights-out, cut back on interruptions to your sleep schedule. Change the notification or do not disturb settings on your phone to limit whose calls, texts, and notifications you receive.
Timing is Everything
A little bit of extra time, as few as 15 minutes, will make a huge difference in your morning routine. When your alarm goes off, it’s tempting to hit the snooze button. But why delay the inevitable? Get in to the habit of putting your feet on the floor when the alarm sounds.
Adding a few minutes to your morning routine will help you feel relaxed and better prepared, helping you begin your day in a better frame of mind. You’ll have the time to deal with the unexpected coffee spill or a stain on your shirt or blouse. You’ll have a few minutes to chat with your spouse or significant other, help your child review her study guide for a test that day, or review news that impacts your job or business.
Just like you gas up the car before a long road trip, your body needs fuel to get through an arduous day. Do your body and your budget a favor and skip the drive-thru breakfast. It’s expensive, wastes time, and will most likely add inches to your waistline since most restaurant fare is high in fat, sodium, and sugar.
Eat at home or prepare a grab-and-go breakfast instead. The internet is chock full of suggestions for healthy breakfast choices that can be prepared in advance, last for days, and be eaten hot or cold. Check out these suggestions from Health.com, Greatist, and Cooking Light or do your own search for quick and healthy breakfast choices. If you don’t want to make a quick heat-and-eat or grab-and-go breakfast the night before, consider doing a quick kitchen inventory in advance so you don’t waste time in the morning searching the fridge and cabinets for your ingredients.
The Power of Positive Thinking
If the very thought of morning fills you with anxiety, maybe it’s time to reboot your mindset. While attitude may not be everything, it does make a major difference in how you view life and how you’re perceived by others. To paraphrase from the poem “Solitude” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, “Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry, and you cry alone.” This is a somewhat bleak observation, but there is truth to the verse.
People gravitate toward positivity. If you tend to have a more pessimistic outlook, it may be helpful to practice positive thinking. There are many benefits to maintaining a positive outlook, including the ability to better handle stress, which can negatively impact your physical and emotional health. Check out this article from the Mayo Clinic for tips and techniques on reducing stress through positive thinking.
How do you start your day? What have you learned along the way that gets your day off to a smooth start? Share your experience in the comments section below.