How to make sure every morning is a great one
How many of us, honestly, can say that we have a great morning routine? If you’re anything like me, then mornings can be a real challenge.
Tiredness combined with the time pressure of getting ready for work or school can make for a very stressful experience. So is there a way that we can all make sure that we have a happy, healthy and positive start to the day? I believe there is. Here is my guide to making sure that every morning is a great one.
A good morning starts the night before
If you’re reading this, then you are probably the kind of person who spends a few minutes before you fall asleep every night mulling over the day to come.
You’ll get into bed, check your phone, think about the things you need to do tomorrow, and worry. None of this is conducive to a good night’s sleep.
For one, the blue light from your phone screen is proven to suppress the melatonin your body needs to go to sleep. But this is also all about doing everything to reduce the amount of things you need to think about once you’re in bed.
So, do a to-do list for the next before you go up to bed. Make your packed lunch and put it in the fridge.
The key here is to clear your mind a little and give yourself a chance simply to get a good night’s sleep. Why? Because sleep repairs our bodies and minds – and is the key to a great morning routine.
Set your alarm five minutes earlier
Clearly the best way to stop rushing in the mornings is to give yourself more time. Which sounds simple. But most of us, given the choice, will spend as much time delaying the inevitable as possible. Setting your alarm five minutes earlier could simply mean reaching for the snooze button five minutes earlier.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. Getting to bed earlier and getting your to-do list in order the night before should help you to get a better night’s sleep. You should be waking up feeling a bit fresher.
If you are, then use the earlier alarm call for a few moments of calm before the day begins. Call it meditation, or ‘me time’, or whatever – it doesn’t matter. The key here is to just calm your mind and let your day fall into place.
So, sit up in bed, close your eyes for a few minutes and take a three deep breaths. Follow your breathing for a while, and just enjoy the moment of peace before you get up.
Try to exercise in the mornings
Finding time to exercise is hard. We are too tired in the evenings. We’re too busy at weekends. Our lunchtimes are for eating. So the idea of squeezing some exercise into your already hectic morning seems impossible.
But bear with me. Firstly, the benefits. Exercise of any kind – whether it’s a few stretches while we’re eating some toast or a 30k bike ride to our office – makes us feel better.
This is particularly the case in the mornings. Yoga stretches out tired muscles, and calms a busy mind. Walking or cycling to work gives us a buzz that lasts for the rest of the day. (It also gives you an enormous sense of self-satisfaction that your exercise is already done for the day by 9am!).
Once again, like all of the points I’ve made here, building exercise into your morning routine is all about time management.
Do what you can the night before to free up your time in the morning. Get to bed earlier so that you can get up feeling fresh and revived. Set your alarm five minutes earlier to give yourself a few moments in bed so you can calmly settle your mind. And find a space where you can exercise and get the blood pumping, if only for a few minutes.
A final word on setting expectations about this.
We’re all busy people. Sure, it would be great to have the time to build the ideal morning schedule. If we didn’t have jobs to go to, we could really enjoy savouring a healthy, wholesome breakfast, rather than a snatched slice of toast on the school run.
We could wander out to our morning yoga class, or maybe squeeze in a half hour meditation session before we open our lap tops. But for most of us, between work and kids and family, time is of the essence in the morning.
So the key to making sure every morning is a great one is to manage the time you do have effectively. But it’s also about not being too hard on yourself if you don’t get everything done.