Do you wake up firing on all cylinders? Or are you more of a groggy, foggy “I’m just not a morning person” person? Here are six ways to start the day right, before you even think of having your morning coffee.
(Original article at AIA – link: https://www.aia.com.au/en/individual/onelife/think-well)
How do you start your day? Do you leap out of bed, do 50 push ups, sprint around the block, and throw a bucket of ice over your head while roaring like Chewbacca? Or are you more a ‘ten more minutes’, hit snooze, and roll over kinda guy/gal?
Regardless of your a.m. style, there are a few ways to improve your morning mood that’ll give you a feel-good boost for the rest of the day (and there’s not an ice-bucket in sight).
1. Quit snoozing
So we know that good sleep is an essential part of wellness, right? But guess what: hitting the snooze button doesn’t actually mean you’re getting more shuteye. It takes around 90 minutes to complete a full sleep cycle – Stage 1 and 2 are light sleep, Stage 3 and 4 are deep and restorative, and REM is when our brains are quite active and we’re more likely to dream. But when we snooze – which is usually only for nine minute bursts – we’re not getting good sleep. It’s light, it’s broken, and it’s likely making us feel groggy and pretty rubbish.
Instead of hitting snooze, spend a few minutes in bed, feeling grateful for what you have, rather than worrying about what you don’t. This is a good time for you to set one or two intentions or goals for the day ahead.
2. Stay off your phone
Phones are great. They provide us with important information, like news, work emails, and ridiculous tweets from celebrities. But if you look at your phone first thing in the morning (which a lot of us do, thanks to our alarms), we start the ball rolling on a few not-so-great traits.
For one, by checking emails before we’ve even showered, we’re relinquishing control of our to-do list to someone else; your boss, co-worker, or client is doing it for you, which is pretty stressful and not an ideal start to the day.
News and social media does the same thing. Checking the news first thing can contribute to anxiety and depression, while our social streams can bombard us with information we don’t really need, leading to tension and – yup – more anxiety. It also starts that unproductive scroll cycle between Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok and Twitter, which can set us off on the wrong foot for the rest of the day.
3. Make your bed
Are you Team Hospital-Corners/Smooth-out-the-wrinkles-on-the-doona/Fancy-things-up-with-cushions? Or Team Leave-it-how-you-left-it/I-woke-up-like-this/Why-make-the-bed-when-I’m-just-going-to-get-back-into-it-later?
Here’s the thing: making the bed in the morning actually has benefits. It sets you up for success throughout the day. Socio-economist Randall Bell says that the simple act of shaking out your doona and making your sleep-space tidy before your start your day puts your mind into productive mode, and can spark other productive habits throughout the day.
Turns out the majority of the world’s millionaires make the bed each day too (although we think they probably actually pay someone to make it for them. Moving on…).
4. Have a big stretch
What’s the first thing your cat or dog does when they wake up? Yup, they stretch! (And if you’re a pet owner like us, you probably say “Oh, what a BIG STRETCH” when they do it.)
Having a quick stretch when you get out of bed, and while your muscles are still nice and warm from being cuddled up under your blankets, does some pretty great things for your body. As little as five minutes of post-slumber stretching can increase your blood flow, improve your posture and flexibility, and boost your energy.
5. Jump in the shower (and add a blast of cold water, if you dare)
Starting your day with a shower will not only wash the grime of sleep off you (and get those boogs out of your eyes), it’s also a nice little self-care practice that’s just for you. But the benefits of a morning shower don’t end there. It can also get your circulation going, and may alleviate symptoms of anxiety and worry too (thanks to the increase in blood flow to the brain).
And if you’re chasing an extra mood-boosting kick? Turn on the cold tap for about 30 seconds just before you get out. It’ll make you feel more alert, it increases endorphins, and it can even help give your hair and skin a gorgeous healthy glow!
6. Spend some time outside
Fresh air and sunlight are two undisputed mood-boosting besties – time spent in the great outdoors is proven to elevate our mental health, and make us feel happier. If you can’t get out for a pre-breakfast stroll/jog/run (three other great mood boosters!), try to spend a few minutes in your backyard or on your balcony, taking some deep breaths and feeling the increase in good vibes via the sun’s rays on your face. Evidence suggests that sunlight increases serotonin, the mood-boosting hormone that makes you feel cool, calm and collected. Just what you need to start the day right, right?
By following these extremely simple steps and making them part of your morning routine, you’ll likely feel more productive, more calm, and more confident. Now go and treat yourself to brekkie and keep up the good work!
Disclaimer: This is general information only and is not intended as financial, medical, health, nutritional or other advice. You should obtain professional advice from a financial adviser, or medical or health practitioner in relation to your own personal circumstances.