Rise and Shine to the Best Morning Routines
Not everyone is a morning person, least of all me. But there has been study after study done to convince me that waking up early is the best way to start the day. Instead of going straight into frantic I-am-late-for-work mode, signing off early the night before and waking up with the early birds is the best way to make the best of your morning...and the rest of the day!
On top of that, we’ve heard of Robin Sharma’s ever-famous ‘5am Club’ and he’s even started his own 5am 66-day Online Challenge, trying to get everyone to see the benefits of beating the sun (and the rest of the world) to a good day ahead.
Fitness Gurus and Health Proponents have also gone out on the limb to assure us that reduced stress is worth waking up early for. Early rising college students also tend to get better results, office workers are more alert, and you’ll feel more energetic and positive throughout the day.
Here’s the starting line.
1 - Start the Day with Warm Water or Hot Tea
Instead of morning Latte from the across-the-road coffee outlet or bakery on your way to work, waking up early gives you the time to pick the right drink to start your day with. For instance, you can ditch the coffee for something healthier.
Experts consider tea or just a hot/warm cup of water to be better alternatives to jumpstart your internal organs.
Their list includes:
- Lemon water
- Chai tea
- Matcha tea
- Golden milk
- Rooibos tea
- Apple cider vinegar
And you know what else? It's also one of the best ways to stay young inside and out!
2 - Get your Body Ready for the Day
Some people jumpstart their bodies with a jog around the block, others indulge in a good stretch in a neighboring park or in their rooms.
Either way works.
It sounds impossible, I know. But the reality is many people jog around the block for 20-minutes, or roll out their yoga mats for a 10-minute stretch with a short exercise-after meditation to quiet the mind and get into the right mental state.
Which is, by the way, a fresh one.
So, if you’re considering doing this to better mornings, start off with things with lower barriers of entry. Otherwise, you’ll ditch the idea faster than you can chirp your ‘Good Morning!s' The idea is to get your body moving and opening up, reduce tension and stiffness from the night of sleep.
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3 - Reading or Organizing your Day
If you’ve subscribed to waking up at 5am every morning routine, you might have time enough to do some reading before getting off your laurels. Most of us don’t. Waking up at 8am, you might not have the time for a leisurely read of your favorite book on Mantras, Positive Thinking coffee table book or even the morning paper.
What happens is this - you might have to organize your day the night before.
In the morning, it’s a matter of putting your ducks in a row and setting your mind to accomplishing the things on your to-do list one by one.
Curl up in a corner of your home or room and go through your favorite book (smartphones and iPads don’t count, by the way) and avoid reading emails or messages at this point in time.
Image by Brooke Lark on Unsplash
4 - Hello, New Day!
Skip breakfast if you’re not the kind to chow down in the morning hours of the day. But if you need to fuel up before charging forward into the new day, grab a journal or diary and sit down with some toast or other forms of healthy breakfast alternatives. Then, set your day right by writing things down.
These 31 healthy breakfast ideas from Greatist should get you going. We've also got a couple of recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner for you to try out.
To greet the new day, you can start off with:
- Eggs. Be it scrambled, sunny side up, or hard-boiled, eggs are delicious, packed with nutrition, and, to boot, easy to make
- Greek yogurt
- Chia seeds pudding
- Breakfast bars
It doesn't have to be an essay or award-winning short story.
It’s all about putting down on paper your streams of thoughts. What you put in your journal/diary can be the form of reaffirming sentences, thoughts from the night before, something you’ve discovered while reading, thoughts that fleeted through your mind while on your morning jog, pictures/drawings, or even just utter rubbish.
It doesn’t matter because no one’s going to see it. Just think of it as an adult form of doodling. Just to get things off your chest.
Image by Pexels from Pixabay
5 - Tackling the Biggest Tasks First
Part of the reason why we feel stressed, anxious, and absolutely frayed is because we don’t know where to start and we're muddled in our galaxy of BIG tasks and RICHTER scale problems.
If we break things down and prioritize them first thing in the morning and whittle them down to smaller bits, we will get more done and derive more satisfaction from them.
Getting into the habit of dealing with your biggest tasks first gives you a huge boost in emotional well-being and being in a positive state of mind. There’s a good reason for it.
The major tasks or problems are the ones that keep us in procrastination mode. It’s daunting so we delay it. The more we delay it, the bigger it gets and harder to accomplish.
So, when you tick the big tasks off your checklist first thing in the morning, you’ll feel more positive about the day ahead!
6 - End Your Day on the Right Note
For many of us, we check our emails, listen to voice mail or trudge through negative thoughts of what transpired during the day before checking out for the day. It’s practically automatic.
The better idea is to not let things hijack our focus on important things. Instead of letting other people’s important things take us for the final ride for the day, fill it with positive things that either happened during the day or things you want to accomplish tomorrow.
And if your phone is a constant distraction, keep it out of the bedroom. Or better yet, set it to silent mode after you’re logged out of work. You need to set a clear line and set the boundaries right between personal and professional life in order to remain productive.
Some people go as far as to own two phones/devices which are assigned exclusively either to personal life or work. The personal devices, obviously, have no notifications from notification apps, or the professional one is set to go silent after work.
For me, I don’t bring work to my bedroom, no matter how urgent the matter is. Having worked from home for the past 20 years, I’ve established the fact that if I spend my time in bed working, writing, and answering work emails, I’ll wake up feeling like the world is against me when it isn’t.
Image by Curtis MacNewton on Unsplash
Experiment with Different Routines
No ONE routine works for everyone. Even night owls can be very productive because it is how you wake up and start your day that matters. The crux of the matter is to focus and meditate on big picture goals, feeling gratitude in your heart, and having a clear mind.
For example, Nancy Pelosi, an American politician, starts her day with power walks while Gary Vaynerchuk engages with his personal trainer first thing in the morning. CEO of Starwood Hotels, Frits van Passchen runs 10 miles every morning.
On the other hand, Jeff Sanders, author of the 5am Miracle, chugs down one liter of water. Novelist William Styron, sleeps till noon and his resulting ‘morning routine’ involves lying in thinking and reading for another hour.
If you’re interested in how other public figures start and end their days, have a read of The Morning Routines of the Most Successful People published by Fast Company.
Before you go...
We hope you had some takeaways from this article that will help you kickstart your early morns better because we know things can get tough. My advice is to start small and begin where you are.
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