Have you ever noticed that hurried mornings lead to some of your worst days?
If you’ve ever slept through your alarm clock, you understand what a rushed morning feels like. It sets you up for a long, difficult day, mainly because it makes you feel out of sorts. Maybe you forgot to pack your child a lunch, bring along your files or toss a healthy snack in your bag for later.
It can be hard to regain control, especially if your work day is fast paced and you go from one thing to the next. When you don’t get your day off to a great start, the effects linger.
Setting yourself up for a great day starts in the morning, those small habits that bring order and energy. But how do you keep these positive starts coming when your days are chaotic? Sometimes even the slightest hiccup in the schedule can lead to a poor start.
Here are some helpful morning motivation ideas!
SET THE ALARM 15 MINUTES EARLIER
One of the main reasons why many of us fall victim to messy and muddled mornings is because we don’t leave ourselves enough time to get things done. It’s easy to say that you’re going to wake up early in the morning and finish a few tasks, but once the morning rolls around and the alarm is going off, we often find ourselves reaching for the snooze button. It can be difficult to change this habit, but think about how much quality sleep you’re actually getting when you hit the snooze. Ten minutes? Maybe fifteen? And you may be lying there awake wasting time, yet too tired to get out of bed.
In the mornings, 10 or 15 minutes can make or break our morning routine. Make it a goal to wake up as soon as the alarm goes off and set your day right.
A few other small habits that maybe you might experiment with upon waking:
Deep breathing for 5 minutes
Writing a gratitude list or "morning notes"
Saying 10 affirmations
Stretching or simple at home yoga poses
Drink a full glass of water
This can all be done in 10-15 minutes. Create the success mindset you deserve for your day.
MAKE TIME FOR MORNING EXERCISE
Exercise is a great way to start the day. Personally, I much prefer to exercise early, feel accomplished that it's already done, and move on with my day.
It may not be how you want to start the day, but once you get used to it, there’s no going back. Instead of thinking that you need to hit the gym in the morning, start with a walk around your neighborhood to get you moving. Use this time to clear your head and connect with yourself.
During the day, things get busy and we often fail to take time out for ourselves. If you can do this in the morning before your schedule starts, you’ll be better prepared to take on what the day has in store for you.
Incorporating even 15 minutes of exercise (regardless of the type) into your morning routine will do wonders for your stress levels and productivity. When you start your morning with exercise, you’ll be able to wake up easier because you’re not headed straight to the shower; instead, you’re spending time alone, with a loved one or immersed in nature, waking up the muscles, and maybe sweating a little - which are some of the best ways to start your day.
EAT A HEALTHY BREAKFAST
Of course, there is no way you can discuss getting your day off right without talking about the benefits of breakfast. Studies show that men and women who eat breakfast tend to weigh less, are healthier and have higher energy levels. Breakfast is a good thing, and you should never skip it, even if it means catching your morning bites in the car.
The goal, however, is to choose the most nourishing, balancing breakfast foods. Things like slices of pie, donuts and sugary muffins and cereals only serve to spike your blood sugar off the bat and leads to more cravings and crashes through the day. These foods may taste good and provide short bursts of energy in the moment, but the boost is short lived and not a nutritious one.
Instead, aim for a breakfast that incorporates protein and fat, as protein will fill you up so that you don’t feel hungry and start snacking before lunch.
Here are my favorite healthy breakfasts:
Smoothies (balanced, not full of sugar)
EXPERIMENT WITH NEW SCHEDULES
If you find that something with your morning just isn’t working, experiment with a new schedule. For example, if you can’t get out of bed in the mornings because you have trouble falling asleep at night, you may have to exercise later in the day, keep a journal to write in at night to clear your head or turn off all electronics one hour before you sleep.
If a current schedule isn’t working, there’s no reason why you should stick with it and keep falling into the same rut time and time again. This only places more stress on us and makes us dread the mornings. The mornings can actually be quite enjoyable, so try out a new schedule if the one you currently have adopted isn’t working for you.
NIGHT-BEFORE PREPERTATIONS FOR SMOOTH MORNINGS
Often times we have a good morning because we have a good night. Create a night ritual. Also, turn off the TV or other screens at least one hour before you want to fall asleep.
Things like journaling, reading, stretching, organizing for the next day, and meditation or deep breathing help to calm the nervous system and promote better sleep.
AVOID STRESS TRIGGERS
Finally, and most importantly, avoid triggers of stress in the mornings. Some of your stressors can be avoided just by waking up on time, doing 15 minutes of stretching and having everything packed and ready to go the night before.
But also, be sure not to let the little things bother you in the morning and set the tone for the rest of the day. Trust me, I have to make conscious efforts here, too. For example, don’t start a conversation about a sensitive topic with your spouse or child right before work or school. These discussions can wait.
Consider other sources of stress and determine ways you can avoid them. If it’s traffic that stresses you out, maybe you can take a different route to work or leave at a different time. Beating the traffic is a great way to get to work faster and have a few extra minutes to collect your thoughts. Or perhaps you can get to work early and take a morning walk around the building. By thinking ahead and weeding out sources of stress, you can create a morning that’s as seamless as possible.
A great morning is the golden ticket to a great day. Unfortunately, we often rush through our mornings and start our days off with too much stress. When stress builds up, it’s almost impossible to start the day with a positive attitude. Be sure to take time to collect your thoughts whether it’s while you walk, take a cold shower or have breakfast with the family. The goal is to approach each new day with a solid head on your shoulders, low stress and an optimistic attitude. This isn’t always easy to do, but it is one of the greatest things you can do for yourself.
Be Well <3