It’s a struggle. Waking up to a wintry, grey sky – that is, if it’s light outside – and pulling yourself out from under the warm covers. Maybe a coffee will shake off the sleep? And by the time you’ve finally reached the bus stop, or slumped into the car, you’re still stuck in that dream you were having. The day is calling, but you’d much rather not pick up.
Unfortunately, youre going to have to. Unless you’d rather lose your job, which we’ve all considered when we have to wake up at 6AM. But does it really have to be like this?
Morning routines (and evening routines, and every time of the day routines) are the new way to get your day off to a good start, and for you to be awake enough to remember it. But morning routines are crammed with more benefits than we can see with the naked eye. Or the half-shut eye. Surprisingly, we are the most productive in the morning. And when we get a routine in action to keep these levels high, the rest of our days can follow this trend.
Plus, when we put a system in place, we won’t have the 8AM rush we battle with every morning. By chilling out our morning rush, we get more time to reflect and get ready for the day ahead. And when we reflect, our mind’s get set on the challenges we are going to come face-to-face with when we finally step out of the door.
Here are the five tricks to waking up, and getting a morning routine going.
Open the curtains and see the light
The first step to getting the day going channels our parents when we were back in year 8. Open your blinds, and let the natural light – if there is any – flood in.
Natural light should always be your first step as it scientifically wakes you up; it controls your circadian system, the one that keeps you awake. Its other advantages include that of keeping your mood and perceptions levels higher than you’re used to when you clock into work.
As hard as it feels to roll out of bed, once you’ve pulled apart the curtains, the next steps won’t feel as difficult, and you’re morning will be off to a great start.
Swap the Starbucks for some star-jumps
If your morning routine amounts to making a coffee, and trying not to trip over the dog in your half-asleep state, its time for a rethink. Sure, your caffeine fix will get you buzzing, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
But you can get the same jump start from a quick burst of exercise as you do in your flat white. Plus, lowering your caffeine intake, and boosting your heart rate the natural way sounds pretty healthy to me. Even Stanford University is a fan of this morning routine fix, even if the study didn’t use those words exactly… But in this study, someone replaced coffee with just 30 seconds of exercising, and saw their energy and cognitive function levels shoot up.
So, before you do a 5k everyday, just do half a minute of something that gets you going. Starjumps, press ups? Even a power walk around your flat will do the job, and get you ready for the day.
On your morning to-do list: write a to-do list
If having a morning routine is all about keeping those productivity levels high for the rest of the day, you’re going to want to actually know what you’re going to be productive at.
How can you be #goals if you don’t have any #goals?
Schedule your day, and think ahead to the next 24 hours. If you can get through these 2 after waking up, you can make it to 5.30PM. When we get busy, as we all tend to do, we can lose track of our aims just as easily as we lose track of time in the morning. Keep on top, and write down your battleplan.
And it only takes a few minutes out of your morning to scribble it down.
Meditate in your morning routine
You know those few minutes where we’ve forced ourselves to not hit snooze, but we barely know where we are, or why we’ve decided to wake up so early? These morning moments are the perfect time for getting mindful and meditating.
Don’t think you have to tap on a 40 minute guided meditation though – a few minutes will give you the fix you need to keep on track for the rest of the day. Meditations can be as short as you need them to be, and provide some effective mindfulness.
If you’re looking for some zen inspiration, try visualisation. When we struggle to think up the gameplan for the day, try visualising the challenges up ahead, and you coming out on top. These imaginary successes give you some positive vibes, and stimulate your brain. Plus, it’ll boost your clarity for the day ahead. And we all need to feel motivated in the morning.
Or swap this out for a mantra; just like visualisation, but you’re saying it out loud. When you wake up, tell yourself the affirmations you need to get out of bed.
Get thinking before you’ve even clocked in
The last trick to keep your eyelids propped open, and your mind ticking faster than usual is to plug into something intellectual. Stay on trend by listening to an audiobook on the train, or a podcast in the car – it might make you motivated, and will get the cogs whirring before you’ve even left your drive. And all it takes is you pressing play.
That way, when you’ve finished that chapter, and you finally sit down at your desk, you’re ready for the day ahead. And boy, it better be ready for you.