Whether you wake up perky or need more pep in your step, how you power yourself up in the morning can set the tone for the day ahead. Many of us jump out of bed and are immediately off to the races. We strain our eyes on digital screens before our pupils are in focus. Getting ourselves (and others) out the door on time can feel like completing a decathlon leaving us weary by the time we arrive at work. Here are three morning practices to help you feel less frazzled and power up a productive day.
- After a long night’s sleep your body needs a boost. One of the best ways to power up in the morning is to make breakfast a priority meal. Nutrients received in this important first meal of the day will set you up for success all day long. A protein rich breakfast will help fuel your morning as well as help control your appetite throughout the day.
- Lack of time for yourself can make you resentful, irritable, and erode your effectiveness. Starting the day with some morning “me” time will energize you for the day ahead. You’ll feel refreshed and clear headed. Set your own agenda for this precious time (exercise, read, write, listen to music or a podcast) and consider it sacred (no chores allowed). It does not have to be a lot of time but prioritizing “me” time in the morning ensures your well being does not get eclipsed by other tasks and demands.
- Time spent in quiet reflection or meditation will provide returns all day long. Beginning the day with a mindful moment will not only sharpen your attention and focus but will also help you have better control over your emotions and behaviors during the day. Mindfulness is not magic for multitasking but rather a practice that will train you to be more present for the task at hand.
As we transition from the work day to evening, preparing the body and mind for restoration is often overlooked. Many of us collapse into bed exhausted from the day only to wake up in the night ruminating over something. Others may have trouble falling asleep because they are wired from too much activity and stimulation. Signaling that it’s time to shift from “doing” to “being” mode will help you power down from the demands of the day and provide you with the productivity you need for the next day.
- A continuous connection to work can zap your energy and kill your creativity. Your first evening ritual should be to unplug from technology and devices. Unless you’re in a field of work that requires you to be on call, there’s unlikely to be anything that needs your immediate attention. Allow yourself some recovery time and resist the temptation to check messages. Your brain will appreciate the rest.
- As a counterbalance to the exertion of the day you’ll want to dedicate time to unwind and relax. Prioritizing pleasurable and playful activities—reading, spending time outside, listening to music, enjoying family time, playing a game (sports or card/board game), or writing in your journal—will help you release the stress of the day. Whatever the activity, the purpose is to send a signal to your body that the business of the day is over and you can let it all go. You’ll improve your sleep and wake up refreshed.
- Speaking of sleep, get under the covers for at least eight hours. Deep, restorative sleep happens during the early part of our sleep cycles. For optimal energy, you’ll want to maximize the amount and quality of sleep with an early bedtime. The exact time you go to bed will depend on what time you need to rise for your work schedule and family obligations. What’s important is that you give your body and mind ample time to repair and restore. Skimping on sleep will not help you get more done.
Alice Curran is a Certified Health Coach at Extra Mile Wellness. Alice provides individuals and organizations with the tools they need to transform and thrive. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.