Morning Routine - How Do You Start Your Day?
What is the first thing you do in the morning? Do you plan it or is it just an automatic response, a habit, something you have always done? Maybe you get up in a rush after pressing the snooze button 5 times, jump in the shower and grab a coffee on the go to make the train or tube to work? Maybe you have to get the kids ready to go to school and you don't have a minute to think until you have dropped them off at the school gate?
Why do I ask? Well, I believe that a few small changes to your morning routine may change your life. The start of our day is usually where the foundations are set. We have all experienced that day when something went wrong in the morning, then we got stuck in traffic or missed the train on the way to work and it just continued to be one of those days from hell! So, what if there were a few small things that you could do to try and set yourself up with the best mindset, focus and motivation to tackle that day head on?
For health and fitness (and when I say health I mean mental health as well as physical health) good habits can be the difference between success and failure. On average research says it takes around 66 days to build a new habit, so if you try some of these suggestions don't worry if it takes a while for them to become a part of your morning routine on a regular basis. Just the open minded approach to try them is great and it is an acknowledgement that we never stop learning and can always try to better ourselves and help ourselves to achieve our goals.
- Don't be a victim of social media. Try to leave your mobile phone to one side for the first few minutes when you wake in the morning. Don't let yourself start scrolling through your phone when you are still in bed, it is a sure fire way to loose countless minutes or even hours!
- Try not to keep hitting that snooze button. Set your alarm for approximately 7-8 hours of sleep and aim to get up at the first alarm, ready to start the day. Snoozing means we fall back into a false sleep and then we are hit again by the alarm making us feel groggy and sleepy.
- Drink a glass of water first. Don't rush for the coffee or a cup of tea, start the day by hydrating the body with a glass of water, preferably at room temperature so it is more easily absorbed. This will start your metabolism and give you a boost of energy. Add lemon to the water for a detoxifying effect and for additional taste.
- Stretch it out. Whenever you see a dog or cat get up from sleeping or lying for a period of time, they get up and stretch (the downward dog!) When you wake up in the morning do a few stretches and use the time to concentrate on any area that feels stiff or sore. If you do a lot of exercise and you are useless at stretching (like me) then this is a great time to get some in. It also allows you some time to wake up and think about the day ahead. If you are into Yoga or Meditation you could do that instead.
- Get active. You may not be a morning person and fancy getting up an hour early to workout, but even 5 minutes of light exercise, walking the dog or choosing to walk or cycle to work will have a profound effect on your day. It gets the blood pumping and releases endorphins which trigger a positive feeling in your body allowing you to think clearly and tackle the day. It also means you will be more likely to eat well and continue this feeling.
- Eat something healthy. If we want to have energy to tackle the day then we need to feed our body with the fuel to take that day by the horns and win. Sugar laden cereal or processed food will spike our blood glucose and insulin level which, whilst it may taste nice at the time it will give us a huge dip in energy around mid morning. Try a fruit and vegetable juice or smoothie, a bowl of organic porridge oats, overnight oats, or even some eggs (with or without avocado) on wholegrain or sourdough toast as an alternative.
Give one or two a go and see if they make a difference. Remember we are all different so you need to find something that works for you. Have fun with it, include the kids or your partner and make more time in the morning to help you with the rest of your day, you won't regret it!