Let’s face it, very few of us spring out of bed the instant the alarm clock starts ringing in our ears. For most of us, our response is to let out a groan, reach for the snooze button and bury our heads back into the pillows for a ten-minute doze before we can even think about getting ready to face the day.
If it’s true that the first 60 minutes influence the rest of the day, then maybe it’s time to look for a routine that doesn’t involve hiding under the covers wishing for it to be Saturday instead of Tuesday, rummaging around for clean clothes and leaving the house with a half drunk cup of coffee.
So if you’re like the rest of us, then check out our top-five tips to kick-start your morning (and make the rest of the day go swimmingly).
1. Define a routine
We’re not saying you need a schedule and we’re not saying you’ll get a gold star every time you stick to your routine (although if that’s something you want to do, then we’re all for it), but having a routine makes the mornings less of a flat panic. It’s simply about moving through a set list of tasks before you make it to the door.
It sounds obvious, but having a routine ensures you do the same thing every day so nothing is missed, forgotten or left to the second before you leave the door. With that in mind, the less you need to do in the morning, the better.
You don’t need to go completely over the top here and have your entire life regimented, but preparing as much as you can the night before will streamline your morning. This might include making your lunch, getting your clothes out and putting out everything you’ll need ready to pick up before you walk out the door.
2. Take ten for Zen
If you’re guilty of staying in bed until the last possible second, clutching the bed sheets like they’re the only thing protecting you against the outside world, then you probably need every minute to make it out of the door on time. Your current morning doesn’t allow you to take ten minutes to sit quietly and, well, just be.
Meditating doesn’t mean sitting on a cushion cross-legged and chanting to yourself (but if this is what works for you, then go for it – have a gold star!), but taking five or ten minutes out of the day just to sit back, observe and let yourself just reflect for a moment, can really help to focus the mind and set you up for the day.
If you’re a regular coffee drinker, why not sit in the quiet and drink your coffee for five or ten minutes? A refreshing shower is also a great way to meditate and quiet the mind (of course, we shower enthusiasts would suggest this one); standing under a long cascade of water for five to ten minutes as you focus the mind and prepare yourself for the day also counts as meditation!
Thinking of updating your shower and turning your bathroom into a Zen paradise? Browse our range of showers to find the one that’s perfect for you!
3. Make time for breakfast
Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’ve heard it before – breakfast is the most important meal of the day… But it really is and the reason this fact is often repeated is because so many of us skip breakfast – probably sacrificing the cereal for snoozing.
It’s important to make time for breakfast, even if it means getting up five minutes early to eat a bowl of cereal. Eating breakfast stimulates the metabolism and provides you with energy to be fighting fit for the rest of the day.
If you’re really stretched for time and you’re not able to squeeze in some sustenance before heading out the door, then a breakfast smoothie is a healthy alternative to have on the go.
(Of course, you could try and eat cereal on the way to work, but this might get you a few strange looks from fellow commuters.)
4. Stimulate those endorphins
If the very idea of crawling out of bed fills you with a sense of dread, then we’re guessing you’re not going to love this next tip, but bear with us while we make our case. Exercising is a great, albeit unappealing, way to start the day. Just as eating breakfast will fire up your metabolism and get you set for the day, exercising will stimulate the release of endorphins (a.k.a. happy hormones).
This doesn’t necessarily mean doing half a marathon before work, but any kind of exercise is as good for the mind as it is for the body. If you’re an outdoorsy type then a run, gentle jog or even a walk is sufficient. If grass, trees and tarmac aren’t really your thing, then ten minutes of yoga or pilates is enough to have you mentally and physically limbered up for the day.
5. Learn to ignore things
This is probably in direct contradiction to everything you’ve ever heard about being an organised, functional person out in the world, but there are some things in life that can wait until later (and others that can be ignored altogether). One of the many reasons we’re prone to stress is the feeling that everything in our life requires our immediate attention.
Before we’re even fully conscious, our minds are cycling through a long and ever-expanding to-do list. When that list becomes more and more saturated with tasks it can leave us feeling overwhelmed, like we’ve failed before we’ve even started, simply because there is far too much to get done.
Distractions are everywhere, which is why we feel like we need to do everything all the time. Combat this feeling by making a list of things you can safely ignore, things that can wait until you arrive at work (like emails) and things you really don’t need while you’re getting ready for work (like a smug friend’s Facebook status). In fact, you might even decide to go one better, and completely ignore your phone or laptop until you’re ready to start the working day.
This way, you can make sure the important stuff you need to do, like making time for yourself, enjoying a walk or a refreshing morning shower, get your full attention.