Mornings often tend to set the stage for the day, for better or worse. If you wake up late to a stressed out or hectic morning, your outlook for the day might not be the best. But, those mornings when you do rise energized and on time can have you feeling ready to conquer the world.
Incorporating certain habits into your daily routine can help ensure you have more of those awesome, healthy and productive mornings. From streamlining routines to working with biology, here are a few ways to start your days right.
Tackle Morning Chores Before Bed
Rushing around to pick an outfit, iron or make lunches in the morning can be headache inducing. Get as much as you can done the night before so you can go to bed knowing the morning will be smooth sailing.
Chores don’t always have to be a drag either — bring the ironing board out in the living room and catch up on your favorite evening show, or rock out to Spotify while prepping lunches. Lay out outfits and accessories at night, and make sure bags and backpacks are together with keys and other must-haves ready for heading out the door.
Plenty of beauty gurus also swear by things like overnight hairstyles, and besides, the less you have to do in the A.M. the more precious beauty sleep you get.
Practice a Little Gratitude
It’s been proven in studies that the simple act of thinking about things we’re grateful for benefits emotional health, stress and even sleep.
Before you get out of bed and into the daily grind, take a few introspective minutes to think of the things you’re happy for, then hop out of bed with a smile. Trying it before bed can also be a good way to calm your mind and push away negative thoughts.
Studies find that being in a good mood increases productivity, so this simple habit can have multiple positive effects all throughout your day.
Before you get out of bed and into the daily grind, take a few introspective minutes to think of the things you’re happy for.
Avoid Checking Email and Social Media Right Away
As tempting as it may be to see what the world has been up to while you were in dreamland, social media feeds and emails can be a big distraction. Before you know it, you’re elbows deep in Instagram and 20 minutes has flown by.
Also, research finds that social media can create not-so-positive feelings, especially if you see negativity in others’ posts. Who needs that first thing in the morning? Keep your morning routine peaceful, get you (and your family) ready for the day, have a meal and then start checking out your emails and to-dos.
Have a Good Breakfast
Eating a good meal early in the morning helps you get mentally and physically energized to start the day. Generally, it’s recommended to have a balanced meal high in protein, along with complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.
Keeping in with the streamlined approach here are a couple quick and healthy ideas:
- Smoothies – fruit, protein powder or nut butters, a handful of baby greens and some yogurt or almond milk can make a healthy a filling breakfast. You can even put everything together in single-portion freezer bags, ready to toss in the blender for breakfast in seconds.
- Oatmeal – oats are a longstanding breakfast sample for a good reason. Low-sugar oatmeal has been shown to improve fullness and help keep your appetite in control. From quick microwave recipes to overnight oatmeal that practically makes itself, there are plenty ways to get creative here.
- Breakfast Wraps and Sandwiches – scrambled eggs with a some tomato salsa and avocado in a tortilla or with some greens on toast makes a quick satisfying meal. This is another one that can also be made ahead and frozen for quick weekday bites.
Eating a good meal early in the morning helps you get mentally and physically energized to start the day.
Get Some Sunshine
Our internal clock takes part of its cues from light. When it’s bright, our bodies generally are geared to be active and alert. Open up the windows as soon as you get up to flip that switch.
If time and weather permits, take your coffee on the patio or go for a quick morning walk to get some vitamin D, too. Working near windows throughout the day carries benefits at the office, but if that’s not possible, then try to at least take your workday breaks outdoors.
Stick to a Regular Sleep Schedule
Waking up at a consistent time helps prevent that Monday morning jet lag sensation and in the long run, consistency supports healthier sleep. One study found that women who kept wake up times consistent within an hour each day also had healthier body weights, another handy perk.
You don’t need to be an early riser if that’s not required for your routine — just sticking with a regular time helps (and can minimize issues like insomnia that night owls are more prone to experience).
You don’t need to be an early riser if that’s not required for your routine — just sticking with a regular time helps.
Be Mindful of Procrastination
Much of productivity comes down to mindset, that is, making the effort not to slip into the pitfalls of procrastination or distractions. Of course, staying on top of your daily tasks is always a wise move. You know that letting projects or assignments pile up will eventually result in anxiety or all-nighters, both of which cramp sleep and create stress.
Getting those things that consume time or seem toughest out of the way first is one good strategy to keep in mind. Success author Brian Tracy refers to it as “eating the frog”, and similar ideas are often recommended by psychologists and productivity experts. The idea is that getting the hardest thing out of the way first helps you feel like the rest of the day is smooth sailing, removing the reason to procrastinate.
Since mornings set the tone for the entire day, taking a couple steps to make your’s more efficient and positive is well worth the effort. When morning go smoothly, they help keep your mood positive and give you the energy to get things done — then ready to go to bed feeling accomplished and ready to get up and go into the next day.
What do you do to streamline your day, or what actions help you have more productive mornings?