It comes as no surprise that a successful morning routine can make or break your day - adopting a set of habits that work for you can significantly alter the first hours of our day and help you become happier, healthier, and more productive in the process.
Are you looking to break your constant habit to hit the "snooze" button? Looking to have a more organised home and effective schedule? Do you want to focus your energy on what really matters? It all starts with the following helpful morning rituals you should start incorporating into your mornings ...
WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T SNOOZE
Research published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology suggests that morning people are actually more proactive than night owls in terms of their overall willingness to take action (Demers, 2015). The same study also found that those who had only a small difference in wake-up time during the week and on weekends were more proactive. The pattern is clear: those who wake up roughly at the same time every day tend to be more productive. Even if you're not a morning person, adopting a consistent going-to-bed and sleeping schedule makes those early mornings more bearable all of a sudden.
SET THE TONE
Waking up and rolling around in your bed for an hour, though feels oh-so-good, is oh-so-bad for setting a lazy and unproductive tone for the rest of your day. Numerous research papers conclude that even the most menial of tasks can help you jump-start your productivity for an entire day. "Navy Seal Admiral William H. McRaven swears by it" (Savoei, 2019). Even something as simple as making your bed straight away can line you up for a productive day and encourage you to check off more tasks on your to-do list. Having asked around for their top ways to set the tone for the day, Lift Up therapist answers ranged from doing their entire 10-step skincare routine without fail to listening to Salsa music first thing in the morning, we love it!
EAT MORE PROTEIN
Whether you're a "breakfast person" or not, that first meal of the day is one of the keys to setting yourself up for a productive morning. Remember that your body has been forced to fast for the past 7 or 8 hours and jump-starting your metabolism with a protein-rich breakfast is guaranteed to get you going. Indulge in foods such as cheese, eggs, protein shakes or smoothies, or some Greek yoghurt with granola, fruit and a sprinkling of honey.
Though counter-intuitive, working out first thing in the morning has been proven to increase your mood and the ability to deal with the demands of work for the day. Having a good sweat session at the crack of dawn sends a shock signal to the body and will set you up for a "can-do" attitude for the rest of the day. Research studies show that this is more effective with aerobic exercises that get your blood pumping and heart rate going, so consider going to that morning spin class after all.
TUNE OUT THE NOISE
Most of us are guilty of checking our email before our feet have even hit the floor in the morning, the same goes for social media. The problem is that this can often gets us off to a bad start as you start responding and stressing about other people's agendas rather than setting our own course and tone for the day. Therefore resist the urge to have others dictate your morning, wait until you are done with your breakfast and are sitting down in the office to start dealing with emails and social media scheduling.
GIVE YOUR BODY A DETOX
We are all guilty of having one cocktail too many the night before, meaning that our morning is guaranteed to be ugly. During days like this, reward your body for all that you have put it through the night before by having a warm cup of water with some freshly squeezed lemon. Not only will it guarantee to hydrate you, it will also help your liver to produce enzymes to encourage digestion and the elimination of toxins (alcohol) from the body. In need of something a little stronger? Try doing a ginger shot first thing in the morning, followed by a cup of Berocca (Vitamin C drink).
TURN OFF, TURN IN
A common misconception is that you need to meditate at least an hour a day to experience any tangible results, however, according to Dr.Herbert Benson, director emeritus of the Harvard-affiliated Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, 20 minutes is enough to experience benefits from meditation. Dr.Benson writes that using meditation to create a relaxation response is important. The “relaxation response” is a deep physiological shift in the body that’s the opposite of the stress response. Even a 20-minute mindfulness session can ensure that our minds are more prone to work-related stress to come later on in the day This is also an excellent time to set your intentions for the day.
Starting your day with a prioritised list of tasks, actions, and goals can help you make more productive decisions throughout the day. In a recent study, Amy Dalton, researcher, stresses the significance of keeping this list short and sweet, saying "If you have six things to do today, all high priority, and you sit down and start planning everything out in detail, you quickly realise how difficult it will be to do it all ... You feel overwhelmed and, because you don't think you can pull it all off, you're less committed. By contrast, people who don't form specific plans are more likely to believe they can achieve it all."
Here at FINA, we will never get tired about ranting how good being outside is for your physical and mental health being, and surprise surprise, it applies to your morning routines too! According to neuroscientist Professor Russell Foster, a crucial method to ward off stress, tiredness and an overall bad mood is to venture outside for at least 30 minutes between 6am and 10 am, when the daylight is strongest. Whether this means walking the dog early, taking a route through the park to get to the office, or simply waking up a little earlier to enjoy nature - you will thank us for it later!
TREAT YOURSELF AS A CLOSE FRIEND
At the end of the day, we are all human and beating yourself down for not being able to stick to your perfect morning routine can act as a downer in itself. As a dietician will say, one day of eating badly will not affect the overall efforts we put in, however, letting that day become an excuse to eat badly for an entire week just might. The same goes for establishing any routine, don't let one morning of hitting the snooze button set the tone for the rest of the week, get up (literally), dust yourself off and set yourself to do better next morning.