Do you have a morning routine? Over the years I have come to realize that I have quite a bit of control over the type of day that I have. For me, the foundation of a ‘good’ day or ‘bad’ day can usually be traced back to my morning. Although I am not a ‘morning person’, I have found that performing specific activities upon waking can set my day up for success. As someone who works from home, it can be tempting to roll out of bed and head straight for my desk or smartphone to check emails. When I take a moment or two to consciously start my day from a more mindful place, I have found the results to be remarkable. Below is a list of a few activities that I have found to be effective for starting my day on the right foot.
As someone who is not a morning person, I never thought I would be extolling the benefits of an early morning workout, but here we are. When I exercise first thing in the morning, it provides me with a sense of achievement that immediately sets my day up for success. I don’t know about you, but I tend to not many competing activities with a 7am appointment with the gym. When I schedule a morning workout, it tends to happen compared with evening workouts that I can somehow find a dozen other things to do (patio season anyone?) instead of heading to the gym.
If you can’t quite fathom a full on workout first thing in the am, how about a simple stretching routine? If the last time you stretched was gym class, it may be time to revisit those good habits. Just a few minutes of stretching increases blood flow through your entire body—including your brain. Done first thing in the morning, or when that mid-afternoon slump hits, can wake you up and help you feel more alert. Here’s a great stretch from Prevention Magazine* that you can do first thing in the morning, or at any time throughout your day:
What it does: Relaxes neck, shoulders, and lower back
How to do it: Stand with your back against a wall, feet hip-width apart and about 12 inches from the wall. Inhale, pulling your abdominal muscles in toward your spine, and press your entire back to the wall. As you exhale, roll down until only your tailbone and buttocks are touching the wall. Relax your neck and shoulders, and let your head and arms hang. Take deep, slow breaths and circle your arms inward five times, then outward five times. Slowly roll up.
As a creative person who often works from home, I find that my days can be more productive right off the bat if I take a few minutes to do a ‘brain dump’ onto the page. Our minds are constantly running and, in my personal experience, taking a few moments to wade through the chatter in my brain can go a long way towards feeling more settled and focused. Not only do I flesh out ideas that have been bouncing around, but not landing, I find that journalling helps me to crystallize thoughts and streamline my endless loop of ideas. Once I have gotten all of that out of my brain, I am much more focused when I do sit down to get work done.
During particularly hectic times, I can be tempted to jump out of bed and hit the ground running. Taking as few as five minutes to meditate, however, can change the entire vibe of my day. Meditation, but especially morning meditation sessions provide me with a sense of perspective and calm. That, plus the much-reported on benefits of increased focus, lessened anxiety, more compassion and creativity pretty much puts morning mediation in the ‘no-brainer’ category for me.
Do you have a morning routine? What does it consist of? Let me know, I’d love to hear about it!
by Kim England
source: Prevention Magazine http://www.prevention.com/health/healthy-living/3-stretches-reduce-stress-naturally