Finding it a struggle to get out of bed this Monday morning? Maybe your night’s sleep was too short, or the thought of work makes your limbs feel even heavier. Maybe you just lack a decent routine that makes getting up and getting fit easier. Here are five tips that should make starting the day a breeze!
Make a Plan
Having to make lots of decisions as soon as you wake up can sometimes be the most stressful thing of all. What should I wear today? What’s for lunch? This puts you under pressure for time, and you inevitably end up in a frantic rush trying to find your keys and phone.
To avoid this, I have gotten used to preparing everything the evening before: get your outfit ready, pack your bag, prepare your lunch and so on. Admittedly, it all sounds a little over-organised, but apart from the fact that I don’t have to stress myself out every morning, I save valuable time that I can spend in bed, or over a longer breakfast.
As a mother, instead of an alarm clock I’m awoken by a call for Mama, and little hands on my face. Although my nights are not always the most relaxing, this method of waking up is at least practical – it saves me having to set my alarm!
If you lack a human alarm clock, there are certainly other convenient ways to get up. It’s helpful not to sleep in a completely dark room. Morning sunlight is a natural stimulant which tells the body to produce less of the sleep hormone, melatonin and to start producing adrenaline. You can also train yourself to be out of using an alarm clock by getting up at the same time every single day, and repeating to yourself at bedtime what time you want to get up at the next morning.
If you are completely unable to wake punctually without an alarm clock, maybe try switching to gentler wake-up sounds. Maybe bring back the old radio alarm clock, or set your alarm sound to music rather than a shrill ring. Don’t use your phone as an alarm. It’s far too easy to lose yourself in the black hole of Facebook, emails, Slack etc.
Every morning I pretty much have the same routine: airing out the bedroom, brushing teeth, showering, getting dressed, putting on make-up. Only then will I start to feel human and not a sleepy monster. The advantage of routines is that you don’t have to think about each step. They happen naturally.
Some of these things that we do naturally have positive effects on the body too: fresh morning air stimulates grey matter, showers get the circulation going (for the hardy: shower the last 30 seconds in cold water), brushing your teeth freshens you up and eliminates 300 different types of nasty bacteria that collect overnight. So: freshen up!
Breakfast provides an energy boost and should always be an important part of any morning routine. Foods that are high in fibre, minerals, vitamins and long-chain carbohydrates such as unsweetened cereals, wholemeal bread, avocado, fruit, yoghurt or eggs are particularly good.
If you don’t have much of an appetite in the morning, you could just have a banana, or an egg and a cup of tea. Then ideally, take some food for a later breakfast at work. Hunger tends to kick in later, which will affect your concentration.
The promise of a nice breakfast may also serve as a morning motivation boost – you can rejoice in the thoughts of a few quiet minutes and something delicious to eat. Personally, the thought of breakfast makes me happy even the night before.
No one will be surprised that sport is appearing in this list too. However, it’s not crucial to have a complete, intense workout in the morning. The aim is to stimulate the circulation.
For example, I just do a few yoga sun salutations. This not only gets the circulation going, but also ensures a nice full-body stretch. If yoga isn’t for you, you could do a few stretches, or walk or cycle to work. Those who opt for the latter have an extra advantage – lots of fresh air and getting oxygen to the brain.
If you find it hard to get out of bed, these tips should help. It’s important that you try to maintain routines everyday. That’s the only way to create a routine that your body will get used to. Don’t forget that every person has an individual biorhythm, which takes time to change naturally. Do what you can to have your personal and professional life in sync with it to help make the most of your mornings.