Summer seems to have zipped by in the blink of an eye. Sunny days are sporadic and cooling down. Mornings are murky, nights darker and colder and the green is seeping out of the landscape to be replaced with russets and ochres and burnt embers.
All of this makes it incredibly difficult to hoist yourself out of bed on a morning. So how can you begin to love the first hours of your day? Read on for our 12 pointers to make your mornings perkier.
We’re not saying be indecisive here. That brings with it a whole other world of stress. No, this is about being prepared. Set your clothes out the night before. If you take a packed lunch, make it the previous evening so that it’s ready to grab and go in the morning. Make as many of the little decisions as you can – before you go to bed. This will ensure that when you wake up, you have less to do, less to think about and therefore less to stress about.
- Be a basket case
Do you ever grab your keys and dash out the front door, only to run back for your purse? And then your glasses? And then your mobile phone? And then when you get to work, you realize you’ve left your phone charger in the house? Use a small bowl, plastic carton or wicker basket in drawer or on a shelf in the hallway. Place all your essentials in here, ready to grab in on the way out. It also gives you somewhere safe to keep everything when you come in.
It’s become a way of life – to be constantly connected to the outside world, even from the comfort of your bed. We know that checking our phone before bed isn’t helpful when it comes to falling asleep, but it’s the same on the other side too. Upon waking, many of us reach for the phone – especially if that’s where the alarm is. So we’re checking Facebook, our email, what’sapp etc. before we’ve barely even had a chance to open our eyes. Its stress inducing. Let yourself wake up first.
You’ve just spent around 7 hours asleep. Your body has been restoring itself overnight. A drink of water first thing helps to purify the system, makes your skin glow, helps cells renew and ease stiff and aching limbs.
Physical contact is scientifically proven to be beneficial. A 5 minute cuddle with those you love will help boost your immune system, relieve pain, reduce stress, lower your risk of heart disease and reduce anxiety. So start snuggling!
- Change your alarm
Is there anything in the world more annoying than being woken up by the vibrating buzz or irritating ringtone of your mobile phone? If you use your phone as an alarm, consider changing the tone to something more peaceful and gentle. Or invest in an alarm clock. Maybe one that can wake you up with your favourite song or the local radio? Even better, a daylight clock, which simulates sunrise, helping your body to wake up naturally without a sound. (They really do work). You’ll soon find your internal body clock finds its rhythm and your whole day will be more energized because of it.
When we sleep our bodies are often in one position for a long time. Stretching increases flexibility and range of motion in the muscles and joints. It also improves circulation and relieves tension. This has an energizing effect and so can actually help us to get out of bed. To get the most out of your stretches, concentrate on legs and arms separately and hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds. Then relax and breathe normally.
- Make a morning brew
Some people just can’t function properly until they’ve had their morning brew. Both tea and coffee are packed with antioxidants. If you want a morning drink that’s associated with energy boosting and stress reducing, then look no further than the humble cup of tea or coffee. Even the smell can be good. It doesn’t have to be a fancy double shot latte or a matcha green tea either. It is thought that every variety has a number of properties that are beneficial. Just some have more than others.
- Get your Quota
We’ve all got that Facebook friend who posts nothing but heartfelt quotes and motivational snippets. Or the super positive work colleague who is so upbeat you’re always suspicious of them. Well, Like it or not, inspirational quotes and sayings are psychologically helpful. Find the ones that resonate with you and keep them written down on some index cards. Take a peek in the morning or whenever you feel you need a boost. Maybe you’re not too happy about your job, have social anxiety or no confidence in the boardroom. Whatever your problem, there’ll be a quote for it.
- Break your fast
Breakfast is important. There will be days when you don’t have time, days when you’re not hungry or days when you skip it to save a few extra calories. But you should, whenever possible, make time to sit and have a healthy breakfast. Apart from providing you with the energy to help you concentrate on the day ahead, breakfast is quite literally breaking your fast from overnight and re-fueling your body. Cognitive function and long term health both benefit from eating a healthy breakfast as you ingest minerals, vitamins and nutrients that may not be compensated for later on in the day. So be good to yourself and find the time.
- Listen to your favourite song
While you shower, dress and make your breakfast, pop the radio on and listen to some tunes. Anything that gets your toe tapping is going to be good for your general well-being and mood. You’ll leave the house much happier than if you’ve just watched a depressing news report.
- Use your travel time
Whether you travel by car, bus, train or walking, use the time to benefit yourself. Listen to some of your favourite songs, an audiobook or meditation app. If you’re on the bus, why not take a book? Road rage is not exclusive to cars. Travelling in rush hour in particular can be very stressful. Crowded vehicles, busy streets, everyone rushing to be somewhere. It won’t always be possible, but if you can, use that time to make yourself feel happier, more positive, more relaxed – whatever you need.