Over the years, I’ve realised that how you start your morning can really impact your day. For me a crazy start means a sleepless night the night before, as I try to create structure in my head.
Whether you are one of those people who like to wake up at the last possible moment and then throw on an outfit, brush their teeth and dash out of the door, or one of those who like to give themselves a good hour to get ready, savour their morning coffee and process their thoughts, it’s worth considering the points below.
Highly successful people mostly follow a similar set of guidelines for their mindfulness routine:
1) Prepare The Night Before
I like to plan for the morning the night before. This means prepping the coffee machine so that I only have to press the ON button before I jump into the shower, and efficiently using the limited time I have available to me. Plan tomorrow on paper tonight (or on an app). I use SWIPES app for my to do list, and I use my mac or gmail calendar to have a rough idea of what the day holds. Once I am sure of this, I work backwards on what time my alarm needs to go off in order to give me the most relaxed start to the day.
2) Never hit the snooze button
The snooze button is the thief of productivity, as it makes you feel more and more tired before your day has begun. Set one alarm and get up when it goes off! (no matter how much self talk you have to do). Sometimes I lie and listen to the birds outside the window (as I justify how rare how rare this is in London and how I need an extra few minutes lying there listening to them) and I’m tempted to go back to sleep…. so I make a habit of getting up fast before I drift into dreamland again.
3) Exercise – don’t ask your body, as it will almost always say no!
Getting that serotonin going early in the morning will help to set you up for an awesome day. It will wake up your body and your brain and you’ll feel energised. You might fit in a walk or a run before you need to leave the house, or it might be just a few stretches before your shower. I usually get up and exercise before my body is fully aware of what I’m asking of it. When your mind wakes up fully, you’re already half way through the exercise routine and there’s not turning back. I have a theory that if you are lying in bed and you ask your body whether it wants to exercise that morning, it will almost always say no… so don’t ask it – just get up and get going.
4) Meditate and start slowly
If your morning is anything like mine, it is impossible to do both exercise and meditate (you need around 15-20 minutes for the meditation to be effective – which means clearing your head and giving you a boost of energy!). I personally choose to fit in exercise, but my morning run is a form of meditation to me as well. Find the one that works for you, or alternate. Google the terms ‘Muscle relaxation‘ or ‘Guided meditation’. Some of these you can listen to during your morning commute, depending on how cramped the tube or train is, though I obviously wouldn’t recommend it while driving…
5) Don’t eat a sugary breakfast
Avoid sugar in your tea and coffee and beware of the hidden sugars in breakfast cereals (up to 20 teaspoons in a bowl of some popular brands of cereal – gulp). These give you a false spike of sugar in the bloodstream, and we all know that sugar is a bit like poison to your body. The idea is to put good things into your body so that it functions at its best for you! Check out the LCHF (low carb, healthy fat) lifestyle blogs for more info on cutting out sugar and carbs – after all, who wouldn’t want to fuel their body as best as they can. I opt for poached eggs and some avo, or some berries and double cream yoghurt.
6) Practice gratitude
I usually do this every evening when I’m lying in bed, but there’s nothing stopping you starting your day with it. I list 5 things I am grateful for – and even when I’m in a filthy mood after a long and exhausting day, I can still find at least 5! Be as basic or as complex as you want to – after all, it’s your gratitude.
While I’m the first to admit that I check my emails as soon as I’ve turned the alarm off on my phone in the morning – usually with one eye open as the screen is a bit bright, I would still recommend that you wait until you are sitting quietly at your desk before opening up the phone. Getting caught on your phone too early can mean that you de-prioritise your daily goals as you become immersed in the small day-to-day things, instead of the bigger picture.
Starting the morning out right may help you feel less stressed and more focused so you may be able to accomplish more tasks throughout the day.
You are always growing and changing and progressing, and identifying what works for you ( and then constantly working on it until it becomes a habit) will ultimately shape you into the best version of yourself.