How we start our mornings can have a huge impact on our attitudes for the rest of the day. So, from a student with a nasty habit of never getting enough sleep and scrambling to finish homework before school starts (do as I say, not as I do), here are a few tips to kickstart your morning feeling energized and motivated to take on the new day.
1. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier than usual.
There’s something to be said about hitting the snooze for “just one more minute”, then racing to get out the door once you realize that “one minute” turned into another hour: it sucks. Rushing to leave in the morning is a horrible way to start your day; it fills you with stress and anxiety, and doesn’t leave you any time to eat a proper breakfast (if any) or read the morning paper or catch up on the news. And chances are, you’ll leave with your clothes wrinkled, hair a mess, and teeth unbrushed (and no chance of making any good first impressions). Instead, try setting your alarm fifteen minutes earlier than you usually get up. This way, you’ll have plenty of time to stretch, maybe meditate, plan out your day. You’ll be able to tackle the day with a plan, a full stomach, and a clean outfit, and all it takes is a minor adjustment to your sleep schedule (it’s only fifteen minutes, it’s not that bad).
2. Decide the night before.
Mornings are full of decisions: what to wear, what to eat, what episode of Shark Tank to watch (Just me? Oh, ok…). But you can eliminate a lot of them by simply making them the night before. Instead of trying to decide what to wear in the morning, plan your outfit the night before. Instead of quickly rummaging through the fridge trying to put something together that looks somewhat edible, plan what you’ll make the night before, or even prepare parts of your breakfast ahead of time if you can. Now, if you’ve followed step one and have already gotten up early, you also have significantly less things to worry about, and more time to focus on you.
3. Listen to music.
Popping in some headphones soon after waking up works wonders, and can definitely determine what your mood will be for the rest of the day. A relaxing classical piano tune can help you clear your mind and provide a smooth transition into your day, while fast, uplifting music can get you feeling energized and motivated. Whatever your taste, a few minutes of your favorite music in the morning can transport you into virtually any mood you desire, whether you’re going for a more calm and collected or an adrenalized, on-top-of-the-world attitude.
4. Drink at least eight ounces of water.
Downing a cup or two of water in the morning has been proven to provide a host of health benefits, including giving your brain much-needed fuel, hydrating you, flushing out unwanted toxins, firing up your metabolism (which can lead to quicker digestion and less of a bloated feeling after meals), and can help you eat less. Eight ounces is the recommended amount, but feel free to drink as much as you feel is beneficial for you (though don’t drink too much; yeah, there is such a thing).
5. Eat a full and wholesome breakfast.
There’s no way I could leave out the most important meal of the day- and it’s well-deserving of the title. We’ve all heard how a hearty breakfast keeps us full longer and gives us more energy for the rest of the day versus grabbing a cup of coffee or skipping breakfast altogether. However, as John L. Ivy from the University of Texas at Austin states in his article “Why Breakfast Is the Most Important Meal of the Day”, there’s a lot more to it.
According to Ivy’s findings, breakfast helps out in a lot more ways than most people know, ways like raising the body’s energy levels, restoring glucose levels to normal after an all-night fast, and lowering our body’s’ blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which typically is at its highest during the morning hours of around 7-8. Lastly, a full and healthy breakfast improves our overall cognitive function for the day. Skipping breakfast means denying our bodies the chance to replenish carbohydrate stores, resulting in low blood glucose levels that can negatively affect our ability to concentrate and perform various mental tasks.
And those are only a few ways to truly start your morning off right. How do you start off your mornings? Leave a comment and let me know if you’re incorporating these tips into your morning routine, or if there are other great ones that I don’t know about!