How we wake up, sets us up for the rest of our day.
Sadly most people these days wake up as stressed as they went to bed. This means that we often wake up dreading the day instead of being ready to take it on. It is easy to change this by doing a few simple things in your early morning routine, but a lot of people think this might take too much time.
This is a misconception as in fact: taking a few minutes in the morning to get ready for the day will boost your energy levels and will make you work faster: leaving you with more time by the end of the day to do things you really want to do: like hobbies.
1. Avoid screens (1). Waking up clear headed begins with going to bed clear headed. Stop turning on your computer late at night thinking “I’ll just do that one last thing …” as we all know you’ll still be doing that one last thing at 3.00PM. Instead of pulling all-nighters you’ll be far more productive during the day if you avoid flashing screens altogether for at least half an hour before you go to sleep. Rest your mind with a book or listening to some soft music or a radio play.
Your brain needs to recover from the glare of the computer, followed by the glare of the TV. An overload of images right before going to bed is detrimental to a good nights rest.
2. Get things ready before going to bed. Choose what you’re going to wear the next day early the evening before. After this think about what else you might need and put it out. Getting details in order the evening before saves you precious time and stress in the morning.
3. Wake up at-least half an hour before you have to. It’s a myth to think that it’s that extra half hour of sleep that would help you to wake up feeling refreshed. You’d be surprised to know that this is not the case. Waking up a little earlier means you can start your day slow and relaxed, as you have some time for yourself instead of; jumping out of bed, rushing into the shower, wolfing down your breakfast and dashing out.
4. Do NOT set an alarm. This might sound odd, but there is a very good reason for this: when you use an alarm to stir you in the morning you do not wake up naturally. The sudden beeps of the alarm disrupt your sleep and you jolt awake abruptly, stressed out before you’ve even opened your eyes. Hitting the snooze button after this makes things even worse as dozing off means you will be waking up again ten minutes later at the beginning of the sleep cycle. The worst point to be woken up.
Instead of using your alarm try and exercise mind and body into resetting your biological clock so you’ll wake naturally. I do not advise to start training this during a working week as you may run into trouble.
5. Avoid screens (2). Do not reach out for your phone or laptop the second you wake up. Those e-mails, messages and Tweets can wait. Immediately going for the phone means you’re starting work the moment you wake up causing stress levels to rise abruptly. Reading Twitter does not equal time for yourself. The internet late at night you’ll be on that phone/tablet for the next 40+ minutes, losing precious time and will stressed for the rest of the day.
6. Begin the day with positive affirmations: Find a motivational meditation that speaks to you and play it the moment you wake up. Early in the morning, your mind is very susceptible and the affirmations will remain with you throughout the day.
Alternatively, if you do not like to play recordings early in the morning: reading positive affirmations instead will do just as well.
7. Go over your daily goals: What was it you had planned for the day? What is essential? Remember it and think about how you want to do it.
8. Do some exercise: Some people swear by exercising first thing in the morning: it is easy to see why: it gets done and sets you up for the rest of the day. It is also obvious why many more people feel quite queasy at the thought of doing strenuous exercise first thing in the morning.
Still, even if you don’t like working out first thing in the morning, it is a good idea to at least do something to wake up your body, your metabolism and your mind. Try ten minutes of easy exercise that suit you. A bit of yoga, for example, a few sit-ups a little cardio or pilates, even going up and down the stairs a few times. (Always, always stretch before anything you do though!!) Doing some moves early in the morning is like physical coffee that gets you going.
9. Practice Mindfulness: Take your breakfast and relax. Eat slowly and try to truly taste what you are eating. After you have finished don’t jump up immediately but slowly close your eyes and do a brief body scan. Take a few breaths and pay attention to what you feel and hear around you. This should take no more than two or three minutes: a mini meditation.
10. Talk to your loved ones: Take some time out to talk to your partner/family or live in friend. Give a kiss and a cuddle. The best way to start the day is with love.
Dannii Cohen is a stand-up comedian (drag name Divine Varod) and comedy writer turned author, psychologist, professional counselor, life coach and self-help expert. Specialized in LGBT issues, anxiety, empowerment, children’s issues and bullying.
Published works include children’s books about childhood depression and the importance of being yourself (When Clouds Hide The Sun and Christopher the Lonely Bear) and an easy to use self help manual 50 Things To Know To Have A Better Life: Self-Improvement Made Easy.