By Jennifer McDougall
We all work differently because we have various biological cycles, tastes, and productivity patterns. One person may enjoy a five-mile run in the morning, while another prefers gentle yoga, and a third believes they’re both insane as she sips her third cappuccino in bed at 10 a.m.
Getting out of bed may indeed be a difficult thing to do at times, especially in the winter or when you’re not looking forward to the day’s obligations.
It’s all too easy to fall into the habit of sleeping in until the very last possible moment, leaving you scrambling to get ready and out the door on time. As a result, you’re less likely to eat a healthy breakfast, you’re more likely to have abrupt, careless interactions with your family, housemates, or pets, and you’re more likely to forget things you need for the day as you rush around, perhaps mentally reprimanding yourself for not having enough time.
You might be stressed and rushed when you leave the house. But what if your morning routine could lower your stress levels and prepare you for the kind of day you desire?
- Plan ahead of time the night before. Set aside fifteen minutes before you go to sleep to get yourself organized, pack a lunch, prepare your work bag, and plan what you’ll wear the next day to help your morning run smoothly. You can use the time to focus on setting intentions for your day or enjoy a few minutes of solitude now that these details are taken care of.
- Unwind before going to bed with tea rather than alcohol. Around two hours before going to bed, try to avoid watching TV, using the computer, exercising, or eating. Our brains need time to wind down and release melatonin, a hormone that allows us to enter deep sleep stages during the two or three hours before we go to bed. The pineal gland releases melatonin into the bloodstream when night falls. As a result, we start to feel drowsy, and our bodies prepare for sleep. Relaxing around this time will help your body’s normal sleep cycle. Try meditation, gratitude journaling, listening to relaxing music, writing in your notebook, or taking a bath.
- Get up a little earlier than usual. I understand — this one is difficult, and it seems paradoxical when you’re already tired. On the other hand, getting up early gives the day a lovely sense of space. Many people find that their most productive time is in the morning. Try reversing your wake-up time by 15 minutes at a time until you have 30 or 45 minutes (or more!) to yourself each day. Allow yourself time to adjust and be kind to yourself.
- Set your intentions for the day before getting out of bed. Imagine the day ahead of you as a massive circle (or any other form) floating above your bed. Now consider what you want to happen during the day. Your goals and objectives can be broad, such as having honest relationships with everyone you meet, or narrow, such as obtaining a perfect parking spot or having a fruitful meeting with your employer. Put everything that comes to mind in the imagined circle and imagine it happening throughout the day. Negative thoughts should be kept out of your group. Also, consider writing down your goals and revisiting them at lunchtime and later that evening.
- Perform a brief physical scan before getting out of bed. Bring your consciousness to each portion of your body, starting at the top of your head, and note how it feels. For example, do you have an edgy look on your face or a stiff neck? Try to observe how your muscles, skin, and energy feel as you move through your body until reaching your toes.
- Drink warm lemon water. Make this one of the first things you do after getting up. Drinking warm or even hot water with freshly squeezed lemon aids in the detoxification of your liver and helps establish a healthy, alkaline environment in your body.
- Stretch. Spend around five minutes doing some simple, gentle movements to feel any tight spots in your muscles. Stand on your tiptoes and raise both arms to the heavens. Repeat. Bend forward with your legs shoulder-width apart. Reach for your feet with your hands. Repeat. Twist a couple of times from side to side. Make up your workout using any gentle movements that get your circulation flowing.
- Begin the day with a smile. Open the curtains and let the light in, or better yet, throw on a sweater and go outside your front door. Take note of the sky’s color. Take a few deep breaths and offer appreciation for a new day as you feel the breeze on your face.
- Do a 5- to 10-minute deep breathing/meditation exercise. Meditation does not have to be complicated or frightening. Maintain a calm and essential atmosphere. Light a few candles and focus on breathing deeply, slowly, and gently in and out.
- Make a list of things for which you are grateful. Taking stock of all the good things in your life puts you in a positive frame of mind and sets the tone for more great things to come your way. Include even the most fundamental essentials, which we may take for granted. Try to make your list as long as possible.
- Keep an eye on what you’re doing. Being mindful means being present in the current moment. It entails being aware of what is going on around you and what you are thinking, feeling, and perceiving. Going through the motions is the polar opposite of awareness. For example, this could entail stumbling into the kitchen and preparing coffee without realizing it in the morning. So, instead of rushing through your morning duties, be mindful of what you’re doing.
- Enjoy a brisk walk outside to get some fresh air. Take in the smell of nature and try to break a little sweat before returning home.
- Take a mindful shower by picturing your stress and worries washing away. Then, listen to instrumental or classical music to help raise your vibration before taking on the day.
- Slow down. We often times find ourselves hurrying around in the morning, bumping into things, being clumsy, and getting irritated because we end up running late. This usually happens because our plate is full and we have a lot that has to get done before we can leave the house or start on work if you work from home. It’s okay to minimize your morning to-do list by either delegating or spreading out your responsibities throughout the day rather than them all falling on you first thing in the morning.
- Last but certainly never least, avoid alcohol. Being sober from drugs and alcohol will eliminate the problematic fate of having a hangover. No amount of alcohol is safe to consume. It’s best for your livehood and wellbeing to stay sober and enjoy all the many benefits sobriety has to offer.
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