How you start your day has a big influence on the quality of the rest of it. Jumping out of bed at the last minute and grabbing a coffee on the go or living in chaos every morning won’t help you to feel the best that you possibly can as you begin the day. Here are some ideas to help you start your day the right way, for you:
1. Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is vital to starting the day well. If you are constantly getting by with less sleep than you really need, it is time to get in the habit of making sure you get a good night sleep most nights. We are all different; some of us thrive on four hours a night and others on nine. Be honest with yourself and find the amount that works best for you and then make sure you implement it on a regular basis. If you decide you would really like to be in bed by 10.30pm for example, you could put a reminder on your mobile phone or alarm clock an hour before that time, to remind yourself to start getting ready to unwind. Assess your schedule honestly and find a way to get to bed earlier that works with your life.
2. Leave Enough Time
If you find it hard to get out of bed in the morning, it can be tempting to get up at the last minute and just leave yourself the minimum amount of time to get ready. You might have other responsibilities (kids to get ready, dogs to walk) that mean you’re left feeling that you never have enough time as you start your day. If you notice that you never have enough time in the mornings, get in the habit of getting up earlier to leave plenty of space for everything you need to do. Leaving yourself more time than you need helps you to start the day in a more relaxed and unhurried manner and allows you to be prepared for any eventualities. You may even find time in your morning for other activities that help you start the day on the right note.
3. Eat a Good Breakfast
It is often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you don’t already eat breakfast or find yourself always eating unhealthily or on the run, have a look at incorporating a healthy breakfast into your morning. For example, there are many health benefits to eating oatmeal for breakfast. Smoothies are also a great way to incorporate fruit and vegetables into your breakfast and ensure you are getting some of your fruit and vegetable quota into your daily diet.
4. Be Prepared
A little preparation goes a long way. What can you do the night before to take the pressure off your morning schedule? A few suggestions:
- Plan the next day. This doesn’t need to take long; even five or ten minutes looking over what you have planned for the next day can help you get clear about what needs to be done and enable you to be prepared and on top of what is happening. Pick out the most important two or three things that need to be accomplished the next day and plan them into your day as early as possible.
- Get the clothes you will wear ready. This means that you will need to spend less time deciding on what to wear the next day and have more time to choose clothes that look good. Also, if you discover that someone in your home has borrowed what you plan to wear or the cat has slept on your shirt, you still have time to sort out something else!
- Prepare Your Food. If you are going to work, would it help you to prepare your lunch the night before? It might stop you buying expensive snacks or eating things that don’t fit in with your health goals. Could you do anything to prepare your evening meal? It would mean one less thing to worry about in the morning and could help you save money and eat healthily.
Meditation is an excellent way to start the day. There are a whole host of benefits that have been found from adopting a regular meditation practice including better management of physical pain, better problem solving, increased mental resilience and focus and a better ability to process information. Meditation is also a good way to step off the treadmill for a little while and just “be”. Mediating in the morning helps you to start as you mean to go on; it helps to infuse the rest of your day with a sense of calm and can help you to stop the sense of hurry that many of us carry around.
Exercising is vital for good health and a sense of wellbeing. If you can incorporate exercise into your morning routine it means that you are more likely to do it (rather than putting it off if your day gets busy) and it gives you a sense of accomplishment before the day has even begun. Exercise also means that endorphins (hormones associated with happiness) are released, which enhances that feeling of wellbeing.
Ideally, exercising in the morning shouldn’t add stress to your day. Find a way to exercise that you a) enjoy and b) that you can realistically do. Approaching exercise in this way means that you are much more likely to see it as something to look forward to rather than a chore and consequently that you continue exercising over time. When my schedule is very busy and I am starting work early in the day, I will practice fifteen minutes of yoga or pilates with a DVD at home. This means I can still exercise and do something I enjoy, but it doesn’t mean a huge time commitment or having to get somewhere else before I exercise. Maybe you could walk the dog or incorporate some exercise into your commute? Little and often, makes a big difference!