By Mary Kelly
Mornings can be a tough part of the day.
Maybe we did not sleep well. Maybe we are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. Maybe we woke up during the night, so we are not well rested. You may be like me, and you travel a lot so you might have a time change that makes getting great sleep more difficult.
Most of us could use more real rest and quality REM sleep.
What can you do if mornings just seem tough?
Answer: Establish solid morning routines. A good morning is a key step to ensuring that you have a good day. If you hit the snooze button three times, stumble out of bed, fumble for coffee, and rush out the door feeling discombobulated, you are not setting the stage for a productive day.
An effective day starts with an effective morning. You cannot be a disorganized mess and be at your best.
Get your day off to a good start.
1. Make a to-do list the night before. Know what you have planned for the day. What important meetings do you have? Are you clear about where you need to be and who you are meeting with in advance? If you know what is coming, you can get your mind in the right place. Know how you are going to spend your day, and with whom. This may impact what you wear.
2. Drink a large glass of water, even before coffee. After a night of sleep, human bodies are dehydrated. So, when you wake up, your body craves water. Consider water before caffeine. Caffeine when you are already dehydrated, is hard on your body. Make water first thing a daily practice. I should add that this is difficult for me, but I know water is better for me first thing in the morning. While I prefer coffee, I know my body is better with water first, and then coffee.
3. Take a short, energy-infused walk. Put on comfortable shoes and take a brisk walk. Feel free to run if the urge strikes you. A morning walk is a terrific way to wake up and clear your mind. You will feel great and get a jump on your day. Any form of exercise is great, provided you feel better at the end than you did at the beginning. Now is not the time to wear yourself out. You should feel invigorated, not exhausted. Find the best form of exercise for you.
4. Have a good breakfast, or not. A good breakfast should make you feel good and provide the nutrition you require until lunchtime. You already know which foods are healthy and which are not. Make a few wise choices and note how you feel during the morning. Or not. Many of us are better without food in the mornings. While breakfast may not be necessary, being healthy when we do eat is important.
5. Practice affirmative thinking. You can mentally repeat affirmations while in the shower, exercising, or driving to work. Find a time that works for you and be consistent. Use affirmations that address the challenging areas of your life. The things we repeat to ourselves become truth.
6. Get up a little earlier than absolutely necessary. Yes, you can go from slumber to out the door in 30 minutes, but that is when everything goes well. If you start your morning schedule already feeling rushed, you are not able to take control of your morning when something unexpected happens. My dogs always seem to know when I am running late, and those are the times they want to chase squirrels or throw up on the carpet. It is more enjoyable to spend your morning without the pressure of feeling like you are already behind. Set the alarm for 10 or 15 minutes earlier than you think you need.
7. Be prepared to tackle your most important work first. This is easy when you make your to-do list the day before. Know your most important activities and focus on accomplishing them before you get distracted by other issues. Our resources are at full capacity earlier in the day. Most people start to run out of energy and focus by the afternoon. Devote your resources, your energy, and your time where they are the most productive. Have a plan, grab your list, and get busy.
Life is hectic and chaotic. A good morning increases the odds of having a good day.
Give yourself the time in the morning to gather your thoughts and prepare for the day. You will be surprised how much you can accomplish, and how much better you feel throughout the day.
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