Do your mornings start off with too many taps on the snooze button, a mad dash from shower to closet to kitchen, and a hasty commute into the office? Or maybe you’re so busy getting your family off to school and work that your morning routine ends up at the bottom of the priority list. With no forethought and planning, a chaotic morning leaves you time-crunched, stressed, and unable to focus—a negative outlook that can set the tone for your entire day.
Biological forces are at work to bring out that gloomy mood. When your day starts with an unpredictable barrage of competing demands, you go into fight or flight mode. Your body releases stress hormones like adrenaline that elevate your blood pressure and heart rate. Energy reserves are pulled in multiple directions, limiting your ability to concentrate and be productive.
A remedy that highly productive people use to start their day off right is also endorsed by many health professionals. They recommend developing an energizing morning routine that fortifies you for peak productivity and gives you an optimistic outlook on life. Add a little structure to your morning to reduce stress, boost your mood, and accomplish more.
Choose a Wake-Up Time
Setting your alarm to go off at the same time every day is one of the best ways to lay the groundwork for a satisfying morning routine. Start with the time you need to be out the door to determine the best time to rise, building in ample time for things you have to do, like walk the dog and get a shower, along with a few things you want to do just for yourself. It can be anything from a peaceful cup of coffee on the front porch to a morning run, but it should feel like you’re treating yourself.
Pretty soon your body will start to expect to get up at the appointed hour. You may even find yourself coming awake and feeling refreshed just before your alarm goes off. If you feel energized by your new routine, use that motivation to complete one item on your to-do list. It’ll build self-confidence and give you the mood boost that comes from a sense of accomplishment.
Carving out time for exercise early in the day is one of the most effective ways to turn your mornings around. Without kids, coworkers, emails, texts, and errands that get in the way later in the day, it’s easier to focus on the workout. Your physical activity will cause your brain to release endorphins into your body for a natural feeling of well-being. Positive effects last all day as exercise leaves you more alert and able to sleep better. You’re also likely to notice that you make healthier food choices and are better able to control your appetite.
Whether you’re a student, parent, professional, or a combination of all three, your days are probably jam-packed with commitments and obligations. There’s nothing selfish about scheduling some downtime just after you wake up to do some of the things that make you feel refreshed. Try yoga, set aside some time for reading, or start a meditation practice. Start journaling as a way to release difficult emotions and the stress that comes with them.
Early morning, when most of the world is still climbing out of bed and grabbing that first cup of coffee, is an ideal time for a digital detox. Fight the urge to check your phone, fire up the laptop, or turn on the TV. Instead, choose to take a walk, listen to the birds, watch the sunrise, or just sit quietly with your thoughts. You’ll be surprised to find your body more relaxed and your mind more focused. Once you get into the duties of the day, you’ll find that you haven’t missed a thing.
Nourish Yourself From the Inside Out
An important part of maintaining focus is avoiding sharp spikes and drops in your blood sugar that come with getting too hungry and overeating. After fasting through the night, devote some time to eating a healthy breakfast that includes whole grains like steel-cut oatmeal and quinoa, and lean protein from foods like eggs, lean meats, peanut butter, and cottage cheese. Berries, yogurt, and nuts are also satisfying options, with tea or a tall glass of water with lemon to aid digestion.
Courtesy of RootsRated