The alarm goes off. After five snoozes, you roll out of bed and rush to get ready for work. You guzzle coffee during your commute to wake up, hoping you haven’t left something important at home. Sound familiar? Good news: there’s a better way to kick-start your morning, and it can boost your health and help you feel more motivated. Try starting your day with these morning tricks.
- Develop a Routine
Pick a few items from the list below (and feel free to add your own), and do them in the same order every morning to build your morning routine. Getting your mind and body energized before work can help you stay on task and be more productive throughout the day. Without a dedicated routine to look forward to, you’re more likely to stay in bed a little longer … and then spend the day playing catch-up.
People at the top of their fields make time for exercise. In fact, in a recent Forbes review of 23 inspirational people, more than half included exercise in their morning routine. For some, that means doing a few push-ups, for others, it’s a yoga and meditation session. Any exercise helps you wake up and get energized, so pick your favorite physical activity. You can start with a brief walk or a short stretching routine, such as this one from Popsugar.
- Read Emails … or Avoid Emails
This one may take some trial and error. It depends on what you do for a living. According to U.S. News & World Report, you should check your work email first thing in the morning. If you tend to get a lot of urgent emails overnight that make you feel as though you’re starting your day racing to catch up, save them for the office. If emails help you feel more connected and ready to set your daily goals, you may want to dedicate part of your routine to your inbox. You can apply the same test to check the news and social media. If it stresses you out, avoid it; if it motivates you, take a look.
- Eat Breakfast and Enjoy Your Favorite Beverage
Start the morning with a healthy breakfast. Breakfast jump-starts your metabolism for the day and is vital to any weight-management efforts. Breakfast may also boost your memory, cognition and attention span, according to WebMD. Try a whole-grain waffle topped with honey and banana slices, or blend your favorite frozen fruit with wheat germ and a handful of spinach for an easy green smoothie to go. If you need something even faster, bake muffins over the weekend and freeze them. Thaw one or two in the refrigerator overnight to grab on your way out the door.
Don’t forget the perfect cup of coffee or tea. Having a soothing drink to look forward to goes a long way toward making you feel good about getting out of bed.
No, this doesn’t mean you have to cross your legs and say “Om.” Just take five or 10 minutes (more if you can) to reflect on where you left off yesterday and what you want to accomplish today. Set a goal or two for your day, come up with two creative ideas, list two things you’re grateful for, or maybe just take the time to calm your mind and focus on your breathing. What you think about during this time is up to you. Tip: Don’t put your thinking cap on until you get out of bed. Otherwise, you risk falling back asleep.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook begins his day at 4 a.m., and many others are following suit, according to Inc.com. That may not be for everyone, but waking up 20 or 30 minutes earlier can give you the space you need to stick to your set routine, get moving, have a healthy breakfast and take time to reflect. It may even help you come up with some morning tricks of your own.