By: Connor Davies ’14, Public and Community Health, CRS Communications Assistant
How you start your morning has a ripple effect on the rest of your day.
Waking up with minutes on the clock to get out of bed, pull some pants on and run out the door is not doing you any favors.
Adopting a simple morning wellness routine can help you start your day with a clear, alert mind, full stomach, and productive outlook.
- Be an early riser. Trust us; it’s worth it. Getting out of bed is often the hardest part of the morning. The snooze button is tempting, and the moment you need to put your feet to the ground is when your bed feels like nirvana.
But if you want to start you day off with the best chance at being productive try waking up 2, or even 3 hours before you need to leave the house.And yes, this may mean going to bed earlier the night before. Giving yourself time to fully wake up will guarantee you feel less groggy throughout the day ahead.
- Stretch it out. When you first wake up in the morning, your body is often stiff from laying in one position for so long.A quick and easy routine of morning stretching or yoga can relax muscles, improve blood circulation and increase joint flexibility.Not quite feeling it? Never fear, there are stretching routines that are pajama and bed friendly to help gently you wake up.
- Finish off your shower with a chill. For some, a morning shower can be more effective than a cup of coffee. But what can really put your morning shower over the energy-boosting edge is an added blast of cold water at the very end.Not only does it work to contract your pores and tone your skin, it also wakes up your brain. If you are a person who showers at night, try splashing your face with cold water in the morning.
- Drink a tall glass of cold water. Before you dig in to your breakfast (see step 5), pour yourself a tall glass of cold water and gulp that baby down.The cold water will not only help wake you up, it will also jump-start your digestive system by making it work hard to warm up the cold liquid.Starting your morning with a non-caffeinated beverage will give you a better chance of staying hydrated throughout the rest of the day.
- Eat a hearty breakfast. For all you breakfast skippers out there, you are heading out the door on an empty fuel tank. It has been demonstrated in study after study that eating breakfast can decrease hunger later in the day, lead to greater brain function and increase productivity.
To get the greatest benefit from your breakfast you should try to include a combination of protein, carbs and fiber. The protein will help you maintain a full feeling while aiding your body’s cells to replenish and repair. Complex carbs with fiber will not only give you energy for the day it will also keep you feeling fuller longer.If you need some help, here are some god sources of early morning protein and complex carbs.
- Eggs or egg whites
- Chia seeds
- Low-fat milk
- Lean meat
Complex Carbohydrates with Fiber
- Whole grain bread
- Whole wheat cereal
- Sweet potato hash browns
Aim for 250-500 calories. It’s better to eat a larger nutritious meal in the morning than to snack on empty calories later.
- Pack yourself a snack in advance. Preemptive snack planning will hold off the 3pm cravings when you start to eye the vending machine down the hall.A piece of fruit, a granola bar, or popcorn are all great to-go options that easily fit in your bag or backpack.
- Warm your brain up. I’m sure we can all agree – being awake and being alert are two entirely different things. Try doing a few brain teasers in the morning to enhance memory and problem solving for the rest of your day. These brain exercises can be anything from a crossword puzzle to a quick game of Sudoku.
- Make a to-do list for the day. Alright, your body and brain are awake and you have the fuel you need to start the day. But, what exactly are you doing today? Stave off anxiety and set out a plan for the day by creating a to-do list . Your list can be on paper or on your preferred electronic calendar – whatever works for you. No more of those pesky “I feel like something is due today….” feelings.
- Double check your bag. Nothing is more annoying than getting all the way to class or work and finding that you forgot that one thing that you needed at home. Prevent this by making it part of your morning to check your bag against your daily to-do list.
- Head out and greet the world. You are awake, alert, and have everything you need for the day, so get out there. Perhaps pick a motivational mantra or quote to keep things headed in the right direction.
Share with us! What do you do in the morning to start your day off right? We would love to hear about your morning routine in the comments.