Your morning ritual is something which shapes how you feel for the rest of the day. If you’re someone who constantly reaches for the snooze button again and again, then chances are you end up prizing yourself out of bed, only to feel rushed and frantic because you're running late.
OK, some of us are just not ‘morning’ people, but you can make yourself go some way to becoming one just by modifying your morning routine. The following tips focus on how to improve how you feel from the very moment you wake.
How to start your day refreshed and focused: Move your alarm clock
You may want to have your alarm clock close to hand so you can constantly keep leaning over and pressing it for a few extra minutes snooze time. The reality is it doesn’t really help. Place your alarm just that bit further away so that you really have to stretch or even get up to reach it — any stretching movement stimulates the waking part of the brain.
How to start your day refreshed and focused: Avoid caffeine
It may be through habit that one of the first things we do when we get up is go straight for the caffeine hit, but this should be avoided if possible. Since your body has been several hours without fluid, what you need is a proper rehydrating drink such as freshly squeezed orange or grapefruit juice. A cup of hot water with a touch of lemon and honey is also a good way to start the day. If you can, add some ginger — this acts as an extra boost to your circulatory system.
How to start your day refreshed and focused: Good posture
Your body position is fundamental, bad posture has the effect of limiting the flow of oxygen through your body, meaning you are not getting the maximum benefit, and waking your body up will be a real struggle. Pay attention to straightening your posture, feet flat on the floor, hold your stomach in and extend up through your spine. These small movements will work wonders and act to relieve tension before you get out and face the day ahead.
How to start your day refreshed and focused: Deep breathe
There is often a sense of anxiety ahead of a stressful day and sometimes we are far from relaxed when we get up. To get your body into a state of relaxation, it is important to control the functions of the body, like the beating of the heart and breathing properly. A good method is to try 2:1 breathing; this is easy and really effective — you gently slow the rate of exhalation so that you are exhaling twice as long as you are inhaling.
How to start your day refreshed and focused: Exercise in the morning
Although many of us probably don’t feel like it, a bit of morning exercise will help. We are not talking about a full-on several-mile run, just some activity to increase your body temperature, and get your metabolism and enzyme activity kick-started. This could involve just doing a few basic stretches or even jogging on the spot. If you do fancy taking on something more energetic in the morning, then ensure that you have thoroughly warmed-up.
How to start your day refreshed and focused: Surroundings
Your surroundings can have an impact on your mood from the moment you wake. If you wake up surrounded by clutter, then that is hardly going to get you off to the right start. Keep your bedroom as clutter free as possible. You can also pay attention to your décor — certain colours can be good for your mood, choose something that uplifts you. If possible have some green plants in your bedroom — a little bit of greenery can do wonders to enhance your mood and positivity.
How to start your day refreshed and focused: Breakfast
Is this the most important meal of the day? Yes! After a long sleep, breakfast is responsible for replacing your liver glycogen, which helps you stay focused and switched-on throughout the morning. Choose your breakfast carefully — sugary breakfast cereals only give you a quick hit and can rapidly wear off. The best bet is to eat some protein combined with carbohydrate to help maintain your alertness throughout the morning. If you find yourself hungry before you have even reached work, you might want to consider eating part of your breakfast at home, and then preparing the remainder to have at work.
These simple changes to your morning ritual will be strange at first but they will slowly become habit and then second nature — before you know it bleary eyed, groggy mornings will soon be a distant memory.