Morning Routine Hacks: How To Unlock The Potential Of Your Day
We’ve all been there. Lack of sleep. Running out the front door with a coffee for breakfast on-the-go. Starting your morning off right provides the foundation for self-care throughout your day. Below are my own holistic morning practices to start my day with intent and purpose.
Let me just bust a myth straight off the bat: getting an extra eight minutes of sleep is not going to make a difference for the day. Nor will it be the difference between a brutal awakening and a restful night’s sleep. On the contrary, during sleep, our body produces serotonin which relaxes the body. When we wake up our body secretes dopamine to help us feel awake. By repeatedly hitting the snooze button, you release both of these chemicals simultaneously creating imbalance before you’ve even gotten out of bed. Not exactly the ideal foot to start your day on, if you ask me.
I’m guilty of pressing the snooze button on numerous occasions (even subconsciously at times, suddenly waking up an hour late with no recollection of even touching my alarm). The truth is, that by not overreaching the time I wake up and setting a realistic alarm I’m able to avoid pressing that button – sometimes even waking up naturally before my alarm. It’s a completely different start to the morning than the lethargic one I was previously used to.
There’s nothing worse than waking up and being overwhelmed by the amount of tech-based catching up you have to do. After a restful night’s sleep, I have to scroll through Instagram, Facebook, my emails, my texts and finally the news. Just ten minutes into my day and my brain is already in overdrive. For me, this means not picking up my phone until I leave the house for work. My morning isn’t hindered by time spent on technology nor do I start my day feeling like I’m drowning in information overload.
But that’s not all, let’s talk science for a minute. On a physiological level, the blue light that your phone emits is incomparable to the light you receive from sunlight. This means that starting your day with blue light rather than natural light confuses your body’s internal clock and can have lasting effects on your overall sleeping habits. I don’t know about you, but my sleeping habits need as much improvement as they can get, so skipping my morning scroll is a no-brainer. I’m not saying that I live like a hermit – there’s just something satisfying about controlling when I consume my daily media.
Before I jump out of bed, or while I’m rolling up my yoga mat, I like to repeat a mantra for the day. This focuses my day, gathers my thoughts and helps the rest of my day move with focus and intent – rather than the mindless movement that sadly most of us are used to.
There’s something to be said for savoring those precious moments at the start of the day. What’s the one big thing you need to get done today? We all have that one ‘chore’ we’re avoiding or dreading or sometimes even looking forward to, for the day ahead. Whatever it is, set an intention to succeed at it. Or better yet, get the task done while the morning birds are still chirping, and you’re full of energy. It should come as no surprise that people who set goals are more successful than those who don’t. So, why not start every morning with a goal? Setting intentions paves your day for success and encourages mindful movement.
Calm down, I’m not talking about a HIIT workout here (although if that floats your morning-boat then go for it!) The idea behind a morning workout, no matter how basic, lies in getting your heart pumping for the day. Movement releases dopamine, which is the feel-good hormone. This could be anything from a yoga practice, taking the dog out for a walk or just doing ten squats to start the day. Not only will this improve your mood but also your energy levels. As if that wasn’t enough it also boosts your circulation and decreases overall cortisol production.
A big aspect of self-care is about doing small things that help both your body and your mind. That’s exactly what exercise does, and with lasting effects. My favorite part about my AM stretches is that they only take about ten minutes of my morning but leave me feeling relaxed and energized for the day. It gives me the time to tune in to my body and see where I’m holding tension. This means that I can release it, starting my day off with less strain and stiffness both mentally and physically. That’s ten-minutes well-spent if you ask me!
Right after my stretching session, I’m tempted to grab a coffee and get going for the day. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to delay the cup of coffee and drink some water first. We all wake up after a good night’s sleep naturally dehydrated. You haven’t drunk in (hopefully) at least seven hours which means that your body is in need of a major H2O boost. Not only does it get your digestion going but it also rehydrates your whole body. The classic saying, “but first, coffee” should be switched up to “but first, water” and you’re on the right path to get your body processes working efficiently for the day.
Another vital component of drinking water post-wake-up is that you flush out toxins from your body. These toxins are created while you sleep as your body repairs itself and balances your hormones. All while flushing out any unwanted waste. All you need is some liquids to get rid of them allowing your body to absorb more nutrients. So, drink at least one cup of water before you jump to the coffee. It helps kickstart your day and nourish yourself from within.
Whether it’s doing some stretches or avoiding the snooze button, do something small to nurture yourself in the morning. It’s not easy to change your schedule but by doing so you’ll make sure that you’re not playing a game of catch-up all day. Living your best life starts every morning, so try these hacks for not just a better wake-up but also a better day!
“You did not wake up today to be mediocre” Anonymous