Marcus Aurelius said “when you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive”. While there’s certainly some truth to this, in today’s modern world it’s all too easy to see mornings as something to be hated rather than appreciated.
Who amongst us hasn’t sworn at the alarm clock, dragged ourselves kicking and screaming out of bed and travelled to work in a grumpy daze?
But mornings don’t have to be this way. Follow the tips below and arrive at work ready to take on anything that life throws at you…
It’s no surprise that after a long night’s sleep without drinking fluids we can be seriously dehydrated.
The problem isn’t just all those hours without drinking, but the moisture which is naturally lost at night. Most of us have between two and four million sweat glands, which in warmer conditions release copious amounts of sweat.
One study found that we can lose up to two litres of moisture in an eight hour period. Bearing in mind that scientists have shown dehydration can cause anger, fatigue and mood swings, not to mention questionable morning breath, it makes sense to rehydrate as soon as possible after getting up.
For best results, aim for plain water, drinking around two glasses first thing in the morning. If you prefer something a little more fully-flavoured then consider green tea, traditional breakfast teas or a coffee.
However, don’t be fooled into starting your day with a serious caffeine hit, as this can lead to withdrawal symptoms later in the day, and shouldn’t be considered an alternative to a proper night’s sleep.
#2. Eat Breakfast
It’s been estimated that at least 10% of us don’t eat anything before heading out in the morning.
When you consider that studies have linked eating breakfast with a reduced incidence of suffering from diabetes and heart disease, not to mention improved memory and cognitive function, it’s easy to see the importance.
The most common excuse given for skipping breakfast is a lack of time. If this is you then consider setting your alarm a little earlier in the morning (yeah, I know!) or find a meal you can eat on the go.
An increasing range of “breakfast bars” packed with whole cereals, nuts and fruit can make an easy option if you’re in a hurry but want to stay healthy.
#3. Get Moving
It’s well-known that exercise leads to the release of dopamine, the so-called “feel good” hormone.
While exercising in the morning can be a tough sell initially, many people report that exercising before work can help to focus the mind, wash away any tiredness and give a general feeling of wellness.
For anyone trying to lose weight there is more good news. Exercising on an empty stomach can speed up fat loss, as well as making you feel psychologically better about yourself.
Lastly, consider all those runners and gym bunnies crawling off to the gym after work. Morning exercise means you’ll never have to try and motivate yourself to stay in shape again, or hit the gym when it is at its busiest (and most expensive). Instead, when you finish work you can just go home and relax, without any feeling of guilt.
#4. Make a Plan
Getting out of bed is often associated with negative experiences. Leaving the comfort of your bed. Going out in the cold weather. Heading out for a full day at work. No wonder many of us subconsciously dislike mornings.
One way to avoid this feeling is to make a list of your most important tasks for the day. Ask yourself what you’re looking forward to that day and what you plan to achieve.
Having clear goals in this manner can help to kick you into action, as your mind seeks to start making progress on the tasks you’ve decided upon.
For best result, consider making your list before you go to bed, so that you can consult it afresh in the morning. You may well find that giving your day purpose can make crawling out from under the duvet much easier.
#5. Kickstart Your Brain
While many people succeed in physically dragging themselves to work in the morning, lots of us don’t mentally wake up until later in the morning. This pattern can have painful consequences however, as you struggle to do anything meaningful before 10.30 am, or put off important decisions till after lunch.
The best way to kick your brain into action is to simply start using it as early as possible. Don’t try to go from “zero to hero” in the space of minutes, but instead ease yourself into it using one of two techniques.
The first of these is to find something that you enjoy thinking about or learning. You could, for example, download a language learning app onto your phone, or buy a morning paper to read on the way into work. By the time you need to start thinking you’ll already have warmed up suitably.
An alternative solution is to find a half-way house for first thing in the morning. Do something reasonably easy and pain-free when you arrive at work, such as making a to-do list for the day or sending a few emails.
Whatever you opt to do, by following these simple morning routine tips most people will find they wake up easier, perform better earlier in the day and generally enjoy their mornings a whole lot more.