Fri 07 Dec 2018
It’s no great revelation that how your day goes has a lot to do with how you get started in the morning. If you’re a reluctant waker - someone who keeps hitting the snooze button - you probably don’t have a proactive morning routine other than showering, getting dressed and hustling out the door to face another rush hour commute. That may seem like a routine, but it’s really just a grudging acceptance of the fact that you’ve got to face another day at work - so your day gets off to a negative start.
An established morning routine, on the other hand, sets you up for a successful and productive day with a more positive outlook that can get you through the stresses of the holiday season with your Christmas spirit solidly intact. It’s not brain surgery - establishing a morning routine is really nothing more than altering a few ingrained behaviours.
It starts the night before
A successful morning routine is dependent on how you handle things at night. If you’re prepared for a good night’s sleep (getting at least 7 hours a night) and don’t stay up too late, you have a very good shot at feeling great in the morning. Set up a bedtime regimen in which you scale down your activities the closer you get to bedtime by reading, taking a hot bath, meditating or just sitting quietly and letting your thoughts wander. Then, make a point of hitting the sack at the same time each night … and stick with that routine even on the weekends.
Get up early
You need to make enough time in the morning to follow a routine, so get up early and be deliberate in your actions - don’t just go through the motions, really mean it. If you’re going to exercise, don’t do two sit-ups and a few crunches before crawling back into bed to squeeze in 20 more minutes of sleep. Do a full set of exercises to get the blood going and your metabolism up. You’ll feel mentally sharper and happier since exercise activates the endorphins in your brain, which elevates your mood. However, don’t overdo it with an intense workout that leaves you feeling wrung out and tired.
Do enough to get your body into “active-and-aware” mode. Meditation also can make you feel good and sharpen your mental focus, a real advantage for a tough day at work during a stressful time of year.
Eat a nutritious breakfast
You’ve heard it many times before - breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, so make sure you have plenty of time to enjoy a good one every morning. If you’re the kind who grabs a couple of Pop Tarts and heads out the door, it’s time to rethink your reliance on high-sugar, high-fat food in the morning. Instead, think whole foods filled with protein, fibre and positive carbs, which might include eggs, oatmeal, fruit and some low-fat dairy. You’ll get the fuel your body needs to get through the day without adding pounds, which you certainly don’t need during the holidays with everyone bringing cookies, candy and cake to work.
Clean and organized
The holidays are a bad time to be worried about how you’ll keep the house clean and organized. Between work, shopping and the impending invasion of relatives, you’ve got enough on your plate. If you can afford it, engage a cleaning service. It’ll save a lot of time and keep you from searching frantically for your keys, socks and shoes in the morning. Hiring a cleaning service costs an average of £10/hour nationwide.
Set some objectives
Spend a few minutes writing down a few goals for the coming day. This helps you identify your most important responsibilities and think through how you’ll accomplish them. It’s a good way to prioritize before the demands of your workday begin popping up in email and on the phone. It also gets your brain working on problems while you get to work (but don’t let that distract your driving!).
A well-thought-out and consistent morning routine can give you a major advantage for the work day, especially during the busy holiday season. Set yourself up for success by getting enough sleep so you can get up early enough to make your routine work. You’ll notice the difference in how you feel and how successful you are during the day.
Many thanks to Daniel Sherwin from dadsolo.com for this very thoughtful article.